Following your gut is really important; this information is out there so they can ensure everything looks good to you. I made this list to help me find my dream job. These are signs you can use to spot the toxic environment before you are hired.
Do pre interview research.
Websites like glassdoor and indeed are a great start because the Hiring companies are rated. Look for consistent patterns. You can also research on social media.
If you are applying for a small business like I did, you might not find anything. I’ve heard people say they dropped in and “interviewed” anyone they could find.
They will ask if you are a cultural fit.
What is the office culture? Are they asking questions to
figure out if you align with their mission, vision and values?
Ask about their core values and mission.
Ask how they evaluate their employee’s growth and reward
their employees based on the missions and values. Missions and values should be
lived rather than just be a document on the wall.
Are they rude and dismissive?
The basis of toxic people is: wanting to maintain power and control. You’ll find that
they treat you like you are beneath them.
They don’t give you time to ask questions.
If they are not looking for your feedback in the interview,
they will not look for your feedback when they hire you. You will just be a
You don’t like the hiring manager.
to your emotions they are there for a reason. Especially if you are feeling
hurt. Like a toddler touching a hot stove, a person can be an emotional hot
Go for a tour and be observant.
at people’s body language and listen to the tone of their voice. On my tour I
got sudden silence and stares as I walked past. Get a feel of the culture.
Are they lacking transparency and trust?
This is highly important. People evaluate this in different ways;
open office; questions regarding how they made changes based on feedback.
Does family has a heavy hand in the business?
This can create a toxic environment when you go to report a
family member but nothing changes. Especially if the toxic person feels
They disregard the interview time without an apology.
If they need to change the time or cut your interview short
without an apology, they don’t respect your time. You should also be wary if
they give you an interview time but don’t ask when you are available.
Ask for company turnover data.
If they don’t give you this information, consider that they
are not being transparent.
There is no defined job role and responsibility.
my interview I was told “we wear many hats.” This turned out to be such a big problem.
You will be pulled back and forth between roles and responsibilities if this is
Ask about other people on your team.
do they work together, stay focused, meet objectives. I had to set up systems
to collaborate with my team since there were none in place.
Listen to their word choice.
Do they seem to start everything with a negative? You might
have to do some research on toxic behavior. Tune in to yourself. If your gut is
telling you NO, listen.
They are extremely friendly.
If you are unlucky enough to know someone abusive, you know
they cycle. And you know that the niceness is a trap or comes with strings
Are they self absorbed?
They ask you a question and then interrupt you to tell you
you are wrong, and give you the right answer. They seem to be very proud of
themselves and they will tell you how good they are.
There is no toilet paper roll in the toilet.
really wanted to leave this one off the list but then it kept showing up on people’s
lists and I remembered how I was always
the one refilling toilet paper and paper towels. Before you leave, use the
restroom. No toilet paper shows that the last person who used it doesn’t care
about the next person who uses it. Also take a look at how the restroom is
Do you receive messages during after hours?
This could mean you will also be expected to work overtime,
or that they dint prioritize their hiring process. Also watch for how long they
take to respond.
Are you replacing someone who doesn’t know they are being replaced?
This points to no transparency. Did you meet outside the
office or outside of office hours? You
will not get a chance to access the environment so you will have to work harder
at listening to your gut.
Toxic work environments are not worth it. You can read my previous post about 18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment. It will suck the energy out of you and affect your health. Remember to tune in to your core and listen to your gut. Make sure your personal values align with the business values. Ask questions, be observant and look for a company that wants someone who aligns with their values.
What tips can you add to my list? What was your experience
before being hired? Comment below to help increase awareness! Please share this
with someone who is looking for a job, so they can know what to look out for.