Posted by on July 6, 2019

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 body.

You don’t like the hiring manager.

Listen 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 stove.

Go for a tour and be observant.

Look 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 untouchable.

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.

abandoned position
company turnover data – rate at which an employer gains and loses employees – how long employees tend to stay

There is no defined job role and responsibility.

In 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 not defined.

Ask about other people on your team.

How 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 attached.

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.

I 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 maintained.

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.

How to spot a toxic work environment before you are hired
How to spot a toxic work environment before you are hired

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.


  1. Iron Thunder
    July 24, 2019

    Leave a Reply

    Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks

    • Yvette
      July 24, 2019

      Leave a Reply

      Thank you! I really love the theme. Its Simple WordPress Theme. Not sure how to find it. It was in the list of their themes.

  1. Why is change so difficult? - Are you ready to change how you earn money - […] a year to finally leave that toxic job, so I had a long list of what I was looking…

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what I offer on my siteI’m Yvette Oloo. Hello and Welcome. | I am on a journey of self actualization after loosing myself. | Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. | Spark your creativity!