do you admire your potential boss?

Over the last few months I’ve gone on a lot of job interviews. Everything from skype interviews, 1:1 sushi chats, a panel of serious judges and 1 computer simulation. I’ve met with people both formally and informally in consulting, marketing, healthcare, non-profits, finance funds and startups. Some out of actual interest, others through a series of chance. All of these experiences were incredibly eye-opening. Not only did I master the question “tell me a bit about yourself” but I also learned a lot about what I want out of a career, what motivates me and what I am actually good at (and not just say I am because the job description requires it). One of the best lessons, there are many, is the idea of admiring and aspiring to be your interviewer aka your potential boss.

I say this because sometimes I left an interview inspired about my career and the work the company was doing. I felt a genuine connection with the individual and admired all the ups and downs they had encountered in their life. I really aspired to achieve their creativity, balance and business success.

On a few occasions, that I will deliberately not name, I left the interview dreading the idea of ending up like my potential boss. Whether they were rude, unchallenged, or simply had a boring, mundane job, the effect was the same. I knew right away I would regret taking the job as I had no intention of becoming a leader with the organization. I had no desire to have my potential boss’s responsibilities and I feared waking up one day rude and unhappy like the man sitting across from me. I left knowing I would not accept the potential job offer.

The interview process is as much about whetheryou are a good candidate begging to be hired as whether or not the team is a good fit for you. I understand that not all companies are graced with great leaders, and their are opportunities to be promoted or your boss dismissed. But in general, if you’re ever faced with a dilemma of job choices or career paths, one helpful litmus test is to ask yourself “Do you want to be your boss? Would you aspire to have their job?” If the answer is no, it might be worth walking away.