What to Look for When Researching Your Potential Boss

You can learn a lot about your potential supervisor by scouring their online profiles and company website.

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Heather R. Huhman
When you’re looking for a new job, your potential supervisor might not seem like an important criterion. But if you want to find an ideal job, one that you’ll want to work at for a while, your supervisor will have a lot of influence in your experience at the organization.

That’s where research comes into play. You can learn a lot about this individual by scouring their online profiles and company website to determine just how well you’ll get along with him or her. Here are some things to pay attention to:

Negative and/or positive status updates. Does your potential supervisor constantly complain about their staff or the company on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Twitter? This can be a good indicator that they’re unhappy at their job or don’t treat their staff with respect. On the flip side, does this person share praise about their staff or company? Do they seem happy in their job? Then you might be, too.

[See 9 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out.]

Work ethic. Reading through their LinkedIn profile and recommendations can give you a good sense of this individual’s work ethic and habits. What do former and current colleagues say about them? How about their supervisor? How long have they stayed at past jobs?

Personality and values. If you’ve found their social networking profiles, you can learn a good deal about their personality and values. Look through the types of things shared, comments left, and friends. Is this potential boss a social person? Does he seem like an introvert? What are his values? Do they align with your own?

Interests. What pages does she “like” on Facebook? What interests does she list on Twitter or LinkedIn? If you have interests in common, it often means that you may get along well with the individual in the workplace.

Former employees’ opinions. Social media and blogging has now become common among employees—which means you might stumble upon information about your potential supervisor in their writings. What do they say about her? Do they seem to respect her? Do they share details on the style of management of the supervisor?

[See What to Look for When Researching Your Interviewer.]

Strengths/weaknesses. Through their online portfolio and/or LinkedIn profile, hopefully you can get a good sense of your potential supervisor’s strengths and weaknesses. What did former colleagues comment about the most in their recommendations—the individual’s communication skills, organization, management style, teamwork?

Leadership experience. What type of a leader is your potential supervisor? How much experience does he have? What types of projects or assignments have shaped his leadership experience?

What else should job seekers take into consideration about their potential supervisor?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.