After experiencing and listening to horror stories, I've collected a list of poignant questions that we all wish we could ask during a job interview:
On Personal Ego
- Will you continually remind me of how important you are by overselling events and meetings that you attended?
- Will I feel obliged to laugh at all of your jokes and pretend to agree with you on every blatantly stupid idea - lest you start treating me poorly?
- Will you make me Google something for you?
- Will you call vendors, and say "They don't know who I am, get them on the phone, I'm the president!"
- Will you park (your Porche in handicapped spots, even though you don't have a plackard and legitimate need to do so?)
- Will you tell an employee to come in the day after a major holiday to meet with you, and then proceed to blow off that meeting and not show up for a week?
- Will you threaten a libel suit against one of your peers? Exactly how many libel suits have you threatened?
- Will you keep your travel and V.I.P. meeting calendars public so that everyone can be aware of how important you are, but also want no one to look at them and see what you're up to?
- Will you deliver a clearly rehearsed and oft-repeated skit to your employees about how perfect you are?
On Communication & Respect
- Will I hate it here after 6 months?
- Will you promptly respond to my texts/emails or "not see them" when they are inconvenient for you to respond to, but still expect that I respond immediately to everything you send?
- Will you expect me to read your mind?
- Will you get mad at me for doing the things that you tell me to do?
- Will you get mad at me for not doing the things that you tell me to do?
- Will you get mad at me for doing the things that you didn't tell me to do but I thought I should do?
- Will you get mad at me for not doing the things that you didn't tell me to do?
- Will you get mad at me if I remind you of the things that you told me to do because you forgot you told me to do them?
- Will you get mad at me when I don't remind you of the things you told me to do because you got mad at me before when I reminded you?
- Will you physically hide from me in various floors of the building?
- Will you grossly disrespect myself and my colleagues, either individually or en masse, either alone or in front of others?
- Will you forget that your success is completely dependent upon the success and happiness of your "underlings?"
- Will you not practice what you preach?
- Will you insist on discovering the origin of a mistake in order to file it in a mental log and never bring it up to the employee to allow them to correct their behavior?
- Follow-up question: Will most of the things that you keep in this mental log be insignificant details that the employee had no reasonable way of planning for because of a lack of communication and indecisiveness on your part?
- Second follow-up question: Will you preferentially employ, as your means of discovery, other employees' reports of the employee in question, rather than speaking to the employee in question face-to-face?
- Will you walk away from me while I'm still talking to you about something you asked me?
- Will you cultivate an atmosphere of paranoia, indeed stating that "only the paranoid survive," by hiding important information from employees that need it and generally treating them without trust?
- Follow-up question: Will you be surprised and/or angry when your employees become paranoid against you?
- Will you incessantly gossip about how awful your employees are just because you are having a bad day?
- Will you ask employees to plan meetings, then get mad at them for planning the meeting without your approval, which you actually had already given but forgotten about? Furthermore, will you later tell employees to book a meeting with you through your assistant, who you just yelled at for booking meetings from other people?
- Will you grind your teeth at me and display other forms of anger, preemptively and during, my reasonable answers to the questions you've asked that warrant no such anger?
- Will you leave me the absolute bare minimum advance notice for a work trip in which I will have unreasonable travel circumstances? Basically, approximately how many fucks will you give about my personal comfort while traveling?
- Will you force employees to leave room in their personal bags in order to place company equipment, because you don't want to pay for the extra baggage yourself?
- Will you force employees to struggle through airports to carry multiple bags, with them fearing injury or missing the flight, simply because it was "too expensive" to ship back?
On Work Hours, Wages & Benefits
- Will you expect me to work overtime on nights and weekends on a consistent basis, without overtime pay or advance notice?
- Will you expect me to arrive to work promptly at 9 am while you don't show up until noon, if you're having a productive day?
- Will you, as an outward proponent of whole-being wellness, refuse to pay decent wages and provide healthcare and sick/vacation time?
- Will you require employees to fill out time sheets when they are salaried and there are badge scans, and it is clear when they are/are not in the office?
- Will you require advance notice of when employees plan to be sick, but also require that they only use sick time for when they are actually sick?
- Will you get mad when I have scheduled personal activities that I have to attend outside of working hours?
- Do you give annual cost of living increases (to your underlings?)
- Have more people quit in the last year than are currently on staff?
- How many times have you "went to make a copy" of a contract, only to switch out the contract with new details?
- How many employees have you had escorted out by security because they showed up for work thinking that they were still supposed to be working for you, not knowing that you had switched out their copy of the employment contract while signing and had them unknowingly sign an agreement to a shorter employment term?
- Will you still encourage employees to still come into work when there is a travel ban issued by the governor, with travel deemed "impossible and life-threatening," and they have the necessary equipment to work at home?
On Meetings & Management
- Will you repeatedly schedule meetings only to cancel and postpone them indefinitely... or not show up to them at all, with no notice given?
- Will you be the bottleneck on important decisions and still expect projects to be done by the deadline?
- Will you expect employees in non-managerial positions to manage projects, and then get mad when they manage the projects and tell the managers how they should have been doing their job?
- Will you argue with your fellow executives in front of me, forcing me to have a poker face, for fear of choosing a side?
- Will you hold staff meetings that last longer than 3 hours, and, incredibly, in which nothing is decided?
- Will you deliberately schedule meetings towards the end of the day just so I will be forced to stay late?
- Will you have power plays with your family member executives to see who can assume control while the other is gone?
On Projects & Productivity
- Will you preferentially assign me tasks for which I am unqualified?
- Will you preferentially assign others to tasks for which they are not qualified but I am?
- Will you hire me for my intelligence and then expect me to just do what I am told, without comment or contention?
- Will you give completely contradictory directives?
- Will you have "strict company policies and best practices" that you will not make known to the individual until after he/she has completed whatever task/procedure you want them to do?
- Will you obsess over the minutiae of insignificant projects while not giving adequate time and attention to the projects that need it?
- Will you need to obsessively check every detail, undermining the trust and intelligence of your employees?
- Will you, in the process of micromanaging, change insignificant details purely from the desire to assert control and discourage people from putting in their best complete effort since their work will never be trusted?
- Will you find the most logical solution to a problem, and then do the exact opposite?
- Will the instructions you give to do a task specifically your way take you more time to write/speak than if you were to do the task yourself?
- Will you block access to offices that I need to get into for no other reason than because you can?
- Will you start but not finish many projects because you do not know how to manage the time/staff/resources in order to finish them?
- Will you completely overestimate the amount of time a simple task needs to get done and underestimate the amount of time a complex task needs to get done?
- Will you delay tasks like preparing, printing, packing materials for some event until the last possible minute, for no reason at all, other than the fact that you can't make a decision ahead of time, even if it's a routine one?
- Will you insist on an approval process that most people do not understand nor comply with?
- Will you lose the approval sheets that you so desperately need employees to abide by?
- Will you allow employees to work on projects in good faith for hours, days, weeks, months and then decide that what they did needs to be changed, all of which could have been saved by a simple hour meeting or less in the planning phases, which you refused to have?
- Will you refuse to have a meeting when employees ask for it repeatedly?
- Will you ask me to "help you do something", by which you mean, just do it for you?
- Will you weasel me into taking on some slack of a project only to have the entire project thrown onto me with no choice?
On Sexism & Favoritism
- Will you base your hiring practices on whether the candidate has certain appealing physical characteristics, either by directly asking for it in your job ads or only interviewing candidates who happen to have those characteristics?
- Will you play favorites with incoming employees because they are "fresh meat"?
- Will you ever use the phrase "cream their pants" in the office?
- Will you give employees a project to work on and then transfer the project to someone new because you want to make them feel important but don't have enough important projects to impress them with?
- Will you get mad at me for not doing projects after you've taken away projects from me?
On Training, Skills & Expectations
- Will you leave a wake of dashed hopes and tears wherever you go?
- Will you say that you will provide necessary training and then just not do it, expecting employees to train themselves AND complete projects?
- Will you dangle a carrot on a stick in order to keep employees hopeful?
- Will you resist any change or idea if it does not originate in your own brain?
- Will you ever suggest an employee create an optical illusion to "trick" others into thinking that the company has done what it's supposed to do?
- Will you question your employees' backgrounds in skills that are clearly superior to your own, skills you hired them to use, but now don't trust and therefore won't allow them to use?
- Will you outright lie to employees stating that you are doing everything you promised them?
- Do you provide your employees with a job description that is specific and accurate to the role they will fulfill?
- Will you refuse to replace necessary personnel when they exit the company?
- Will you hold an employee evaluation at the end of the employee's employment period, turning it into a discussion of rehire rather than an opportunity for growth?
- Will you refuse and delay discussion about any formal position/review/promotion?
On Company Money & Equipment
- Will you spend exorbitant amounts of company time and money on your personal comfort/travel/purchases/food habits/etc. and spend the bare minimum on your coworkers, literally saying that you don't give a damn about their comfort?
- Will you not buy necessary programs/equipment to provide employees the resources to do their job duties?
- Will you not understand how to use basic computer programs and expect multiple others to cater to your ignorance rather than you learning it to be in line with the times and majority of people you work with?
- Will you ask employees to procure free resources because you do not want to pay for them yourself?
- Will you ask employees to bring in their own equipment because you are too cheap to buy everything you need?
- Will you use the staff, money, and time of your company for business from which you gain personal monetary gains?
- Will you be willing to spend ridiculous sums of money on contracted work that could easily be done in-house for the same or, more likely, far less money because being able to contract work out to big names feels better than paying your employees more and giving them more interesting projects (making them happier and feel more useful?)