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GUEST COMMENT: Please don’t tell me your boss is a Jerk

If you’re leaving your job, it’s likely to be because you’ve stopped enjoying the work, or that your job doesn’t offer you the future opportunities you want. Money may be a factor and as a headhunter I don’t have a problem hearing this. Money has many problems but at least it’s relatively simple as a motivation, and can be easier to resolve than personality issues.

Sometimes, however, we hear from a candidate that he wants out because his current boss is a shambling moron whose personality is an unstable mix of dishonesty and ignorance barely held together by malicious greed.

Such bosses are often portrayed as having a spiteful management style which draws upon both forms of Marxism, from both Groucho and Karl. They can recite “The Art of War” from memory and frequently quote from it at meetings (in the original Chinese ). Unless the candidate quits, said boss will settle their dispute with knives.

There are variations: the IT at your department looks like it’s run by EDS, management are in league with Al Qaeda, HR has been outsourced to Resource Solutions, and compliance has been infiltrated by rogue elements of a management consultancy firm.

Why the crazy boss card is best not played

At P&D we like to hear the truth about how you see your current role and how it’s developing and an honest summary of your reasons for leaving. This means it’s fine to share with us your views on the personalities involved and how things could be better.

However, knocking your current firm – and your current boss – too much, will prove counterproductive. The big risk is that your possible future boss will see the common factor in all your problems as yourself.

The appropriate attitude is instead, to see the fact that you are leaving as a way of putting past problems behind you. Try to focus on the good parts (this may be hard), but a positive attitude at interview is at least as important as your apparent competence.

Dominic Connor is a quant headunter with P&D.

Comments (12)

  1. c’mon granny..first just pop the egg into your mouth and then……

  2. Yawn…not the mad mick again.

  3. Sarah, I really don’t understand. If every time this fellow posts articles and most of the comments came back negative, what is the point? To piss us off every now and then?

  4. @jwkt05 – we post comments from Dominic intermittently a) because what he says is of interest to some people, b) he stimulates debate, c) he is an eager contributor. Any other eager contributors are also welcome to submit articles to editor@efinancialcareers.com.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  5. It may seem that the article is stating the obvious but I regularly interview people who speak negatively of their bosses. Agree it leaves a very poor impression and those candidates are unlikely to head hired.

  6. Sarah, if you advertise for contributors on a discussion forum, what kind of quailty do you expect – how much do you pay contributors? Based on some of the rubbish you publish I guess no more than 50 a pop…

    Award Winning Journalist Reply
  7. Brutal article!

  8. @AwardWinningJournalist – we are not looking for contributions from Award Winning Journalists. We are looking for contributions from people in the market. Payment is therefore not the main motivator.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  9. @Paramenio
    If an interviewer is drilling down excessively on a point then it can be best to face them on this. I’d consider asking them straight (but politely) why. Often interview questions are driven not by your application, but previous bad experiences they have had. A line I have used when I had a real job, was aa variant on “ultimately I realised that the direction of the group, and where I wanted to be were not the same any more. So I’ve decided that it’s best for all concerned that I do a clean handover and part on friendly terms now that this part of the project is coming to an end”.
    This implies good things about the way you will behave when one day you leave them, and all the terms in that little speech are good messages to get across at any interview.

    As others have said, slagging your old boss is both common and a bad idea.

    Dominic Connor, Quant headhunter Reply
  10. ..Dominic, would be nice to have some of your advice on the following: what to say to a recruiter/possible future boss in case you happened to work for a “crook”? Im talking promising private investors 30%/year fixed returns through Medium Term Notes trading (I found out, after I left the company, that this is one of the typical instruments used in a “scam”), making the same investors believe all of their money was managed by us and us alone (FX trading by 6 traders in Switzerland), whilst I had the evidence he had several more businesses abroad (non-trading) that went all belly up and that the total amount invested exceeded our trading capital by a factor 10. That he told me literally he was forced to use new investors capital to pay back clients from the first hour. We – the traders – had the strong feeling we were being used as puppets to provide him with some “credibility” towards his investors once they started to visit our offices with complaints. The whole picture became clear to me after being contacted by one of the investors with the question whether I was fully awar

  11. The whole picture became clear to me after being contacted by one of the investors with the question whether I was fully aware of the kind of environment I was working in and after he gave me his version of the facts. I was fired after expressing my concerns towards my boss in an “animated” discussion…Little chance I can turn this story into a positive/constructive one…

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