Don’t Bag Your Boss At Job Interviews

Job Interview training - Merit Solutions Australia

It is amazing how many job applicants bad-mouth their current boss on interview.

This is a sure way to guarantee that you do not win the advertised job.

Members of the selection committee immediately think:

  • Will he/she be disloyal to us as well and talk poorly about our organisation?
  • Is the applicant more motivated to leave their current job than to take on a new area?
  • Is this bad-mouthing of the boss an isolated incident of poor judgment or is this one example of many incidents?

A job applicant who feels the need to bag their boss at a job interview, is typically frustrated by their boss or angry at them.  They let their feelings control their behavior on interview which , in turn, demonstrates a lack of control.

Often the person who bags their boss fails to answer the interview question posed by the interview committee.  They are so caught up in their own emotions and so intent on making their point, that they overlook both the content and purpose of the job interview question.

Another key consideration, is that nowadays selection committees are looking for people who are self-determined, self-aware, proactive and demonstrate self-control.  These are the traits that are typical of job applicants who have an “internal locus of control”.  In other words, they believe that their behavior is guided by their own personal decisions and efforts.  In turn, they tend to believe that their personal outcomes and level of success is largely determined by their own conscious choices and behaviors.

In contrast, a job applicant who demonstrates lack of self-control and a tendency to blame outside influences – such as their boss, luck or fate – tends to lack energy, is easily discouraged and often turns into “the complainer”.  No selection committee will consciously choose such an applicant for an advertised position.

A final thing to keep in mind is that interview committees are becoming increasingly discerning through selection training and they are able to look beyond personal appearance to the beliefs, attitudes and motivation displayed by a job applicant.

It is your task as a job applicant to manage the selection committee’s assessment of your locus of control and personal capability.  Your job interview answers will display both your weaknesses and your strengths.

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About Ron Passfield

Ron is currently a Director and an Executive Consultant with Merit Solutions. He also collaborates with Julie Cork and Associates in the delivery of the Practical People Management program to Queensland Government clients. Since 1990, he has consulted as a coach to senior executives in leadership, culture and organisational change. Previously, Ron was a full-time lecturer in human resource management and organisational behaviour at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Griffith University for more than a decade.