Your manager is an integral part of a positive work experience … but how can you tell if you’ll be compatible after just one job interview?

Your manager can make or break your job. If you have a good manager, you’ll likely feel more energized, committed to your work, and driven to excel. If you have a bad manager, you might feel stressed, unhappy, apathetic, or even hostile.

But how do you know if you’ll get along with your manager when you’re interviewing for a job? Chances are, you’ll interview with them once — maybe twice if you’re lucky. Then, from that brief conversation, you’ll need to determine if you’re compatible.

Luckily, TopInterview’s career expert Amanda Augustine recently shared her advice on this subject matter with Ladders, a job-search website. She identified some signs you can pick up from an interview that’ll help determine if you and your potential manager will work well together.

1. The small talk comes naturally

You know that awkward small talk you sometimes feel forced to make at the beginning of an interview? “Oh, it’s hot out there today, huh?” “So you’re from Florida? I vacationed there one time…”

This small talk isn’t bad, per se; it’s necessary to have some type of conversation before jumping into the nitty-gritty. But small talk is even better when it comes naturally and feels genuine.

“If you found it was fairly comfortable making small talk with the hiring manager during an interview, take it as a good sign,” Augustine told Ladders. “This usually means that your personalities and communication styles complement one another.”

2. You don’t feel like you’re being interrupted

There’s something to be said for a natural back-and-forth conversation. You listen, then answer; the hiring manager listens, then answers. So if you’re in a job interview and start feeling like you can’t vocalize a full thought without being interrupted, that might be a bad sign. Imagine sitting in a meeting and feeling like you can’t get a word in edgewise because your manager keeps cutting you off?

Now, this doesn’t mean the relationship is automatically doomed for failure, but it could mean you’ll need to spend more time and energy learning how to effectively communicate with your manager.

3. You feel respected

When walking into an interview, it’s normal to feel nervous. But when you walk out of an interview, you should feel more confident and at ease — not like you just got run over by a truck.

If you interview with a manager who makes you feel excited about the job, comfortable in conversation, and respects your experience and skills, then that’s a sign your manager will respect you and value your work.

4. Your gut says it’s a good fit

In the end, you’ll want to follow your gut. Think about your first dates or first interactions you had with new friends. Chances are, you had a gut feeling about these relationships — even after 30 minutes. The same goes when you’re interviewing with a manager. Take what information you have, even from the briefest interaction, and listen to your gut.

Want to make sure you impress your prospective manager? Our TopInterview coaches will teach you how to shine in the interview.

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