How to spot a good manager in an interview

content interview good manager

Don’t forget that while you are being observed during a job interview, it is also important you observe your interviewer to ascertain their qualities because you will be able to tell whether you feel the manager would suit your working style and personality, and be the kind of manager you want to work for.

‘As the interviewee, you are conscious of being considered as a potential candidate and a desirable addition to the team,’ says Lee Owen, director at Hays, specialising in accountancy and finance.

‘Don’t forget though, an interview works both ways. It is important that you consider whether the interviewer, your prospective boss, is someone you would want to work with. While interviews are often short, you can still get an impression of the manager and establish a connection with them.’


There are a raft of signs to look out for. Do they seem relaxed and at ease or do they seem uncomfortable and fail to hold eye contact? Confidence and openness are key to effective management.

Also, note whether they seem genuinely interested in you and your experience and are passionate about the business. If they lack enthusiasm and seem to be going through the motions, they may not be a particularly inspiring manager for you. 

There are various other things to look out for too,’ says Owen. ‘If they communicate well prior to the interview, and are punctual, they would have started off on the right foot. Whether you feel comfortable during the interview is a good indication of the chemistry between yourself and the manager.

Search hundreds of roles from all over the world on ACCA Careers

Sign up for a job alert tailored to your desired location and role

‘The kind of boss they are might also be indicated through their body language – do they appear approachable? And communication – do they show a genuine interest in you and their job?’


The kind of questions interviewers ask is also a great indicator of what they are like as a manager.

‘If they ask what you wish to get out of the role, this is a good sign, as it illustrates their awareness that the interview is a two-way street,’ adds Owen.

‘Let’s face it, your colleagues help shape your working life, and the relationship you strike with your manager is no exception. Plus, you are more likely to thrive in your role and develop your career if you have a positive rapport with your manager.’

Also a consideration is how your interviewer (or potential manager) communicates with you before the interview and afterwards. Likewise, what does your instinct tell you about your professional compatibility in the interview? 

While it is wrong to dismiss someone in the first few seconds of meeting them, nonetheless, first impressions can often be telling.

Author: Alex Miller, journalist

More information

This article was first published in Student Accountant in December 2022 | Get the SA app now

Back to listing