Job Interview Tips: Talking About a Horrible Boss

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Say What You're Looking for Instead

A big reason people look for a new job is that they want something different. The driving force behind starting your job search could include being unhappy with your employer, but rarely are people only looking for the exact same job with a new boss.

Both Liz and Sara should consider what they hope to get out of a new job. Mentioning a desire for more responsibility, a structured schedule, or a better opportunity for advancement are all ways to focus on the negative problems at their last job but show they're looking for solutions.

While it might feel good to tell anyone who will listen just how much you hated your boss, it's not going to get you a job. Showing that you're able to address a negative situation while remaining positive will help make the best impression in your interview.

Quick, name a horrible boss you've had (or have). Unless you've yet to hold a job, it's unlikely that you had any trouble bringing a name or two (or three) to mind. Based on Gallup’s "2013 State of the American Workplace" report, 70 percent of the 150,000 employees surveyed disliked their boss. Horrible bosses are such an unfortunate part of our society that loads of movies have been made featuring employees plotting to get revenge on their despicable managers.

Seriously, though, how do you deal with this problem when you're trying to get another job? Even if everything you say is accurate, you can't go into an interview with a potential employer bad-mouthing a previous supervisor. You'll be pegged as a problem they just don't want to deal with. So how do you talk positively about your bad experience?

According to Heather Huhman, writing for, you shouldn’t go into a job interview without thinking about how you’ll talk about your terrible boss. Having a clear plan of how you’ll answer this inevitable question can help you make the right impression in your interview.


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