How to Talk About Your Previous Bosses in an Interview

Talking about last bosses in an interview is risky, especially if it didn’t end well with them. So, what do you do? Here’s what you can say about them.

Are you looking for a new job? How close are you to getting one? Don’t know? Well, you are obviously the only one who can answer that question. Generally, job interview success depends on the answers you give employers. If your answers are limited to yes or no, there is little chance you will ever get the job, but if you prepare a few examples that can back up your skills you have nothing to fear.

Most jobseekers feel confident until the employer asks the dreaded question: ‘What do you think of your last employer?’ This question helps employers understand how it ended with your last boss, and they are going to try and get as much as information about them as possible. It also scares the hell out of candidates, but there is nothing to be worried about. There are many ways to talk about your previous bosses without going into too much detail or badmouthing them.


To help you out, here’s how you can talk about previous bosses in an interview.

1. Talk About a Situation Where You Worked Together

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When interviewers ask you about your last boss, you can choose the focus of the discussion. Instead of talking about the negative qualities of your last boss, refer to what she was good at. You can say something like this:

“My previous boss was very helpful and cooperative when I started working at the company. As such, I really enjoyed working with her.”

This example shows potential employers that you took the time to appreciate what your last boss did for you. To make your argument more compelling, you can also talk about a situation where you two worked together closely. You can go into more detail, such as what the project was about, what your contribution was and what your boss expected from you. This will help employers gain more insight about how you work with other people.

2. Tell Them How You Helped Your Last Boss

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If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your last boss for any reason, you can easily turn the discussion around. You can say that she was a good employer who gave you and your coworkers lots of opportunities to prove yourselves, and then choose one example where you proved your loyalty to the company.

This can be anything from suggestions about policy changes, and helping to improve office productivity. All of these are things every employer is working on – and never stop – as such they will want to listen to what you have to say.

3. Talk About What You’ve Learnt From Your Last Boss

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Employers appreciate honesty, but being too honest won’t help you in the hiring process – especially if things didn’t end well with your last boss. You shouldn’t lie about it either, so you can still talk about your boss, but keep your response light and constructive.

A good idea is to focus on what you learned from your last boss. This is a good example: “My last boss taught me the importance of working to deadlines and always motivated me to do my best.” It’s simple, straightforward and offers some excellent points for discussion.

See Also: Deal with a Micromanaging Boss

Employers are quite likely to check with your past employers using the references you provide on your resume, so you better be honest with them. If you are worried about what they are going to say about you, it’s best to include names of people you know are going to give positive feedback and not the other way around.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? Let me know in the comments section below…