People Share The Toxic Workplace Red Flags They Look Out For During Interviews

August 01, 2019

We’ve all been there – stuck in a job we hate and hoping for a better opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a better-paying opportunity, someplace with a shorter commute, or you want to change every single thing for your next gig. There is a plethora of reasons why people restart the job hunt. Don’t let your current dissatisfaction rush you into making a wrong decision, though. As those knowledgeable souls on Reddit have pointed out, trading one crappy job for another crappy job is the fastest way to become completely unenthused with your career.

In fact, those helpful Redditors (who are not one bit resentful) even pointed out which interview red flags to look out for. If the employer is needlessly rude to you when you first meet, for example, walk right out of the office. If the employer is needlessly rude to current employees, run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. And feel free to leave a Glassdoor review about your experience to prepare future hopefuls. A place like that is guaranteed to be toxic.

Yes, you’re the one hoping for a job. And, yes, you should prepare a list of interview questions to help you seem more impressive to the interviewer. But the interviewer should also be selling the company to you. It takes two entities to secure a good fit in the job world. Remember that during your next search for employment. And if you have to wait a while at one less-than-ideal job to find the one that truly suits you most, do it. Secure the bag, but make sure you’re content while doing so.

1. Fun is good.

But too much fun at work is rarely appropriate.

And that “fun” should never be dependent on how much you overwork yourself. In fact, it’s unhealthy. Too much pressure can negatively affect your personal life and relationships. Certain company cultures promise fun perks (like unlimited Rockstar and ping pong tables), and those perks aren’t always negative. However, they shouldn’t be used to encourage unhealthy employee commitments to staying later, ignoring breaks, or taking on multiple jobs.

2. Unfortunately, no job is completely perfect.

And when someone promises otherwise, run for cover.

Maybe the company doesn’t provide paid employee parking. Maybe the fridge isn’t appropriately stocked with your favorite flavor of La Croix (a serious concern). Whatever the issue is, whether it’s big or small, be wary if the company tries to cover it up. Wouldn’t you rather work for an establishment that is upfront and honest from the beginning?

3. For starters, it’s rude.

And that’s not the worst of it.

It’s also incredibly unprofessional for interviewers or high-level company execs to badmouth anyone. Even if the employee in question quits, they should be treated with a modicum of respect. It’s especially inappropriate for an interviewer to go off on their current employees. Let’s not even mention that those interviewers probably hired the employees in the first place. Does that mean their judgment is bad…

4. What happened to two weeks’ notice?

There are some exceptions.

But if a company’s HR department encourages you to skip giving a two-week notice, watch out. Chances are, they don’t respect the other businesses in the industry. And it’s fair to assume they won’t respect your time either once you join the team. Perhaps they’ll ask you to stay late without giving you time to prepare in advance. And, in an extreme case, they might let you go without notice or severance pay.

5. They completely disregard your initial requests.

If you have the option to turn down these kinds of jobs, do so.

Already, they’re demonstrating how little your opinions and requests matter. In fact, they even demonstrate the company’s unreliability. And if a company isn’t even sure about the position they want to begin with, they will likely be unsure about many other important things in the future.

6. This is complete discrimination.

And even if you don’t have children, you should be concerned.

According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it’s illegal to refuse a woman employment based on a current pregnancy or future pregnancy. Most interviewers should be aware of this. And these sorts of questions rarely lend themselves to positive results.

7. That’s just not how things should work.

Unless you want to be involved in some sort of multi-level marketing company.

Instead, it’s most typical for employees to offer their time and energy in exchange for payment, health benefits, and other perks. Any other arrangement should be approached with extreme caution. In fact, many reputable companies won’t even mention compensation during the first stages of the interview. If they want you to pay, it’s safe to nope out immediately.

8. This is an ultimate sign of disrespect.

Typically, everyone wants to impress one another during the interview process.

Yes, the interviewee wants a job. But the interviewer also wants to make that job sound appealing. When the person in charge doesn’t care enough to properly schedule your interview, though, they probably don’t care about your potential job experience or satisfaction. Sure a forgotten interview could be an honest oversight. But this could be an early sign of the workers’ replaceability.

9. No, the interviewer doesn’t have to be fake nice — or mean.

But they certainly shouldn’t be rude.

If you face any sort of noteworthy unfriendliness, stay on your guard. It’s possible the interview is simply having a rough day (we’ve all been there). But don’t let that routine go far. Watch out for it during your next interview with the company if you get one. Furthermore, interviewers aren’t law enforcement officers (unless, you know, you’re applying for work in a police station). If they think they are or have some sort of inflated ego, don’t accept it.

10. This one is tricky.

Sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

The person leaving the post might have to hire their own replacement, especially if they’re high enough in their company. But if the person is leaving their post due to dissatisfaction, you might find yourself dissatisfied too. Hopefully, the person asking the questions will be honest with you about the job. But keep your eyes wide open, regardless.

11. Is everyone jumping ship?

That shouldn’t inspire much confidence.

Leadership at the company could be truly lacking; compensation might not be up to industry standards. If no one stays at the company for significant periods of time, something is probably up. Equally so, if no one ever leaves the company, be on your guard. Employees might not feel adequately prepared to continue growing at new endeavors, or the company culture doesn’t challenge them. Either way, there should be a mix of workers with different lengths of employment.

12. Families get messy.

And workplaces get messy, too if no boundaries are set.

No matter what industry you’re in, you should be able to distinguish between work-appropriate relationships and personal relationships. You spend ample amounts of time with your coworkers. But, occasionally, if you treat them like family members, the lines of propriety will get blurred. And with blurred lines, comes drama. (Remember that whole controversy?) Any employer who brags about a family-esque workplace should be taken with a grain of salt.

13. Now don’t get us wrong.

Growth is good.

And we love opportunities. But structure and a process for monitoring an employee’s growth are equally important. If you hear this during an interview, you should ask yourself, “How can there be growth, if there’s no adequate growth plan?” Don’t get distracted by empty promises for opportunities.

14. Can you say false advertising?

Many employers can tell when things are bad in their place of business.

But when they put a spin on cons to make them seem ideal, they’re either delusional, out of touch, or deliberately misleading. We’re not sure exactly which quality is worse. We certainly don’t want to be involved with any company that practices them, though. And suggesting that burn out is a good thing because it weeds out weak employees… Yeah, no.

15. You might want to prepare to be overworked.

Don’t get us wrong, though.

It’s completely fine and normal for an employer to expect employees to do their respective jobs well. But when they expect individuals to do other people’s jobs too, something’s not right. And we double down on this point when the proffered job title doesn’t mention or include all the extra duties. If you expect a job that talks about “many hats” right off the bat, get ready to work hard. Don’t necessarily expect additional pay either.