What You Should Know about Control Freak Bosses

Control Freak BossesNo one in this world is perfect. We all know that line. Some people, especially those who have authority over others, would like to think of themselves as perfectionists, yet in fact they are not. Even perfectionists have their own little imperfections. Admit or not, you also have imperfections.


Job interviews are two-way streets. Whether you are the boss or the potential employee, you should assess the other person’s attitude toward certain things – especially the most essential one: Is he or she a controller or not?

“Controller” is the psychiatric label for a control freak. However, psychiatrists and science refrain from using the word “freak” no matter how freakish, volatile, and outlandish a person is. In a workplace where there’s a controller or a control freak boss, life can be very difficult.

So how do you know if your boss is a control freak or not? How do you detect signs that the hiring manager who is interviewing you may be a controller? Here are some red flags to look for:

1. He sees himself as a perfectionist.

Controllers tend to see themselves as someone who’s in love with perfection. They are hard on themselves and others because they fear failure and they worry that something will go wrong at any moment. So if your hiring manager shows signs that he wants everything done in a perfectly written and planned manner, there’s a big chance that he’s a controller. 

2. He doesn’t trust people.

Controllers usually tend not to trust the people they’re working with, even their superiors. They are not good at delegating tasks and authorities because they feel the need to do everything themselves. Because they fear failure, they don’t trust anyone. They’re afraid that things will go wrong, so they choose to do everything themselves. Thus, if the hiring manager seems to be more skeptical of your interview answers than usual, he might be a control freak.

3. He doesn’t like being controlled.

Oftentimes, people tend to hate other people who have the same qualities as themselves. This is absolutely true for control freaks. They don’t like people who tell them what to do; they don’t like being controlled. They don’t like taking orders. So in an interview, keep this in mind. You’re allowed to ask questions or make requests, but do it in a very polite manner.

4. He doesn’t accept second opinions.

This is obvious in an interview. Whenever the interviewer asks about your strengths and accomplishments, you can assess if he’s willing to accept other people’s opinions or not. You can also see this if you’re offering a 30-60-90 day plan. For a controller, your ideas never seem to be good enough. Even worse, he might take the credit for your work somewhere down the road.

5. He doesn’t accept blame.

Keep in mind that a controller will never accept the blame for anything that goes wrong in a project or plan you’re working on. Therefore, if your interviewer shows signs that he won’t take the blame no matter what happens, he is a controller.

Aside from watching for the signs and the interviewer’s attitude toward you and your responses, you can also analyze his comments and stories. Plus, you can see it in the way he interrupts whenever you’re making your own points, or in the way he describes himself as a perfectionist.

These points might or might not mean that your potential boss is a control freak, but they certainly ought to raise suspicions. Keep these things in mind so that you can have a boss and a job that make you want to come to work every day.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.