Job Interview Question
What do you expect from a supervisor?Be careful when answering this job interview question. There’s a line to walk. They’re looking to see (1) do you understand the general supervisor/employee relationship, (2) will your style match with your potential new boss, and (3) will you take this opportunity to badmouth your previous boss?
Don’t be too specific, don’t be negative, and never, ever badmouth your previous boss.
You probably don’t know too much yet about your potential supervisor’s management style. If you get too specific, you might step on some toes.
Be positive when you answer this question, and try very hard to keep it neutral and generic. Now is not the time to talk about those things that irritated you about your last boss, and say things like:
“I’d like a boss who doesn’t yell at everyone.”
“I expect that a supervisor would not play favorites.”
“I expect a boss to trust that I’m a good employee who doesn’t need to be micromanaged.”
You’re veering off into negativity with these bad answers, and revealing more about you and how you handle stressful situations (not well) than you are giving a good answer to the question.
What you want to do with this question is to play it safe and think of it like a “wish list” for an ideal boss. Don’t make it a long list…nobody’s perfect.
Just name two or three noble qualities that your interviewer can imagine that he or she has (maybe they really do), such as good communication skills, a sense of humor, loyalty, fairness, knowledge, leadership skills, a willingness to teach you something. Those are all good traits.
For example, I would say: “I expect a supervisor to communicate clearly, treat me fairly, and give me opportunities to do as much as I can for the organization.” That answer also has the added benefit of pointing out my desire to contribute and achieve within that company.
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“A supervisor should have good leadership and communication skills and should be able to offer constructive criticism.”
“I would expect a supervisor to keep the lines of communication open with me and offer feedback when I’m doing a good job and when I have room for improvement.”
“I would expect a supervisor to be adaptable to different employee’s work styles and communication styles, and be willing to help employees develop additional skills to be more successful.”
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