The top 5 most ghoulish celebrity bosses – how to manage the monster

In time for Halloween, American President Donald Trump is named as the scariest celebrity boss to work for. We take a look at why.

We have all had a terrifying, ghoulish boss at some point in our career. Short tempers and high expectations rarely make for enjoyable company but often make for successful bosses and managers. Imposing personalities aside, keeping your monster boss happy can be a tall order for many employees, but how do you manage the ghoul over Halloween?

Lord Alan Sugar, star of the BBC’s The Apprentice and made famous by his ‘you’re fired!’ catchphrase, has divided opinion among employers and candidates. Would he make your list of the best boss? For 8,599 candidates and 268 recruiters, he would be the celebrity most likely to make a great boss, but conversely the most intimidating to be interviewed by.

The majority of those surveyed (65 per cent of employers and 54 per cent of employees) named American President, and former star of The Apprentice USA, Donald Trump as the scariest boss to work for. The Trump administration, which remains in its infancy, has already gone through a chief strategist, a chief of staff, an FBI director, a deputy assistant and two communications directors, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Trump should top the list.

The top five scariest bosses that employees wouldn’t like to report into this Halloween:

President Donald Trump (54 per cent)
Lord Alan Sugar (44 per cent)
Rupert Murdoch (26 per cent)
Sir Alex Ferguson (25 per cent)
Piers Morgan (25 per cent)

Scary and great?

Curiously, despite topping employers’ “great boss” to work for list, Lord Alan Sugar also placed second in the scariest boss to work for list, suggesting the fear factor is part of his appeal.

This trend certainly follows with second placed Sir Alex Ferguson. Last year the Manchester United manager’s most decorated player, Ryan Giggs, was quoted as saying: “Fergie was scary and even now he still scares me”.

A significant 36 per cent of employers said Lord Sugar would make a great boss, drawing Sir Alex Ferguson, who also got 36 per cent of the vote. There was a footballing connection in third place too, with Karren Brady, CEO of West Ham United, coming in third place (27 per cent).

Intimidating atmospheres

Forty-nine per cent of employers have intentionally asked difficult questions while interviewing a candidate, 20 per cent admitted they’d adopted negative body language, while the same proportion (20 per cent) said they’d asked personal questions. Worryingly, 17 per cent said they’d acted disinterested on purpose to throw the candidate. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of employers believe creating a slightly uncomfortable environment for candidates at interview can sometimes be justified to see how candidates handle pressure.

Intimidating interviews tactics from employers seem to work as 35 per cent of interviewees have felt intimidated by an interviewer, following either aggressive questioning (63 per cent), acting disinterested (55 per cent), negative body language (49 per cent), swearing (47 per cent) or a raised voice (46 per cent).

Despite this, 43 per cent of candidates surveyed said they would remain confident regardless of who they were facing on the other side of the desk. Although, 22 per cent say they might get flustered in such an intimidating scenario. A similar percentage (22 per cent) might stumble over their words, while just 12 per cent say they would avoid eye contact to avoid an uncomfortable interview interaction.

Matthew Harradine, totaljobs’ director says, “While intimidating bosses may make tough interviewers, candidates agree that their toughness would make them good people to work for. While the nicest person in the world might be fun to work with, our study has found employees don’t think they are necessarily the best people to learn from, which is what employees are looking for in a boss.

“On the flipside, the people employees least want to work for are those who seem to go through staff quickly and experience a high team turnover. It’s safe to say that a balanced and respectful environment is where employees feel they are most likely to strive.”

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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