You used to have a boss and now, you are sitting directly in front of another prospective employer asking you what you think of your previous boss.
By asking this question, the interviewers want you to give a perspective on your most recent boss. Basically, they want to you to describe your boss.
At this point, what you say about your boss says a lot about you not really the boss. It’s like asking you a question about someone else to determine the kind of employee you are.
So, regardless of whether your previous boss was your best friend or your worst enemy, talking about him or her to a prospective employer takes a little tact.
This question could land you the job if you answer it well. So, don’t get caught off-guard. Here’s how to handle it.
1. No matter what you think about your boss, be positive
The best and only way to answer this question is to say something positive about your boss irrespective of what you think of him.
Obviously, if you have worked with a great boss, you’ll like to talk about him/her and his management style. If on the other hand you didn’t have a good relationship with your former boss, you don’t need to rant about him. Try to stay positive.
2. Mention the skills you gained under your ex-boss
Again, your answer to this question isn’t completely about your boss. It is more about you. The question about your boss gives you an opportunity to talk about what you gained from him/her; how your relationship with him or her improved your skills as well as how the experience and skills you gained under your boss would help you add value to the role you apply for.
3. Show discretion and loyalty
Criticizing your former boss in a job interview could be interpreted to mean you’re not loyal to the boss and the organization you worked for. It could also mean you are only good at pointing fingers at others and will never take responsibility for anything.
The irony of it is that, while you are saying every negative thing you can remember about your formal boss to land yourself a job, you'll end up convincing your prospective employers that you're not a loyal employee and you won't be able to apply discretion when people ask you about them if you get another job.