Get to Know Your Prospective Manager During the Interview Process

Mitchell_get to know prospective manager October 17, 2023 By: Barbara Mitchell

Job candidates often don’t get a lot of time to learn about their potential supervisor, which means they need to make the most of it. Here’s how to evaluate if that person is a good fit for your work style.

Q: As I’m interviewing for a new job, how can I do a better job of determining if a hiring manager is someone I would like to work with? I think I’m good at researching the organization to see if I like their mission and values. However, I am not as good at determining if my prospective supervisor is the right fit for me.

A: No matter how great the organization is or how excited you are about the job, if the two of you can’t work together, the relationship probably won’t last long.

Truthfully, even if you are fortunate enough to have multiple interviews, you don’t have much time to really get to know each other. That can sometimes mean that the first time you actually meet your manager is when you start the job.

You can bet they are checking you out on social media, so why can’t you do it too?
But no matter the circumstances, for you to know if you can work with that person, you must first know yourself. For instance, what is important to you in a working environment? Do you need a manager who is warm and friendly, or can you work with someone who probably isn’t going to be interested in knowing how your child did in their baseball game over the weekend? Are there other deal breakers for you?

Besides considering what you’re looking for, pay attention to how they relate to others. When the hiring manager meets you in the lobby, do they say hello to others? How do they treat the receptionist if there is one? While Zoom interviews make it a bit harder to evaluate some of these things, you certainly can get a sense of their personality by carefully watching how often they smile or if their sense of humor shows through.

In addition, use social media to find out more about the person. Google them and check out their LinkedIn profile. You may find interesting things about them—or even find out you have a colleague in common whom you can ask about your potential manager. You can bet they are checking you out on social media, so why can’t you do it too?

During the interview process, ask questions like this:

  • What will my day-to-day responsibilities be? This will give you a sense of how much they know about the work of the department and may also tell you if they micromanage.
  • What is your leadership style?
  • Where do people in the department go when they are promoted?

I hope some of these tips will help you make a good decision. Above all, listen carefully and observe body language and other behaviors.

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book, and her latest The Decisive Manager. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to