Una Dabiero
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Community Team at Fairygodboss

It can be tough to see the signs of a toxic boss during the application process. I mean, rarely is someone screaming from the rooftops that they're horrifying to work with. Thankfully, you can save yourself a lot of strife by asking one simple question during the interview process, according to J.T. O’Donnell, the founder and CEO of career coaching resource site WorkItDaily.com.

In a recent TikTok video, the CEO revealed the one question applicants can ask to gauge what it will be like to work with a particular manager — and to check for any red flags. 

"When it gets to your turn to ask questions, simply say, ‘can you tell me about the most successful person you ever hired and what exactly they did to be successful?'” O’Donnell said. “That’s because whatever response they give you is what they look for in a candidate. And let me tell you why that’s important.”

"Let’s say this boss was raving about work-life balance at the organization,” O'Donnell continued. “But when you asked this question, they said, ‘The best person I ever hired was Jim. He came in early, he stayed late. He worked weekends. I could text him, call him anytime and he would drop everything for me.’ Does that sound like work-life balance to you? No! It’s a very revealing question about what this boss admires and respects, which means that’s going to predict what you’re going to have to do to be successful and get raises and promotions.”

Commenters loved the CEO's advice, with one HR expert calling it "fantastic."

“I have been an HR manager for over 20 years and this is a very astute observation and a fantastic question,” they commented. 

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