Will ‘bad boss’ affect new job?

I
have decided to leave my current job after 14 months because of ‘irreconcilable
differences’ with my boss. Although I think I’m pretty good at getting along
with people, she and I have never hit it off or forged any kind of workable
relationship. How should I explain my reasons for leaving at a future job
interview? I’m also worried any reference she provides will be less than
glowing. Any ideas?

Johanna
Simons, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

Many
people have had unexpected and unfortunate job experiences. If you have a
fairly stable career background and this is the only position you have been in
for a short period, there is less to worry about. Remember to behave positively
at interviews. Do not create negative feelings about your current employer, it
will be detrimental to you.

If
pressed on your reasons for leaving, my advice would be to not make this the
sole reason for moving on. Are there other cultural, development or support
issues also affecting you or which are the crux of this relationship? If you do
mention that you feel that you could not develop a strong relationship with
your immediate boss, think of an example beforehand that you could use if
asked, but make sure that it does not raise too many issues about your own
interpersonal skills. And keep it brief.

Victoria
Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates

This
is a difficult situation to be in, particularly when the role was good
otherwise. You should prepare well for an interview, and think through a
positive reason for wanting to move on. It is important to remain truthful
about why you are leaving, but be brief, and as professional as you can; give
two specific examples of how you tried to build a good relationship with your
boss, without being critical or personal.

You
may be asked to explain how well you have worked with other colleagues and you
should give strong examples. The key is to turn negative information into
positive knowledge – and to leave the interviewer with a convincing and
professional image of yourself.

Do
not be overly concerned about your reference. These have become very standard
and contain limited information. As long as you have performed in your role and
have a good employment record, it should not hinder you being offered a new
job.

Peter
Sell, joint managing director, DMS consultancy

It
is important at job interviews to tell the truth about why you have decided to
move on. You will need to give specific examples of why the relationship did
not work, keeping to the facts and trying not to bring in any personal comments
about your previous boss’ interpersonal skills. You will need to balance what
you perceive as a negative with a positive. Give examples of where you have
established good working relationships, with other members of the HR team, for
example, line managers and staff you are supporting.

I
would not worry too much about references if you have been truthful about your
reason for leaving. HR people realise relationships break down and should not
hold this against you.

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