7 Warning Signs An Employer Has a Toxic Company Culture

Toxic Company CultureHave you ever taken a job, and later—when things really went south—wondered why you didn’t see it coming earlier? Why, through all of their “selling,” you didn’t see how bad the culture really was?

Surely there were signs during the interview, right?

Before saying yes to your next job offer, check out these seven warning signs of a toxic company culture…

1. Employees Are Badmouthing the Company

Glassdoor reviews don’t always paint the whole picture, but if former or current employees consistently echo the same complaints about a company, they may be true.

But go one step further: get to know someone who worked at the company and left, ask them why. If they say the job was terrible, run far away. Of course, some experiences can vary between departments—so make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

2. The Interviewer is Badmouthing the Company

Perhaps it’s your potential boss who’s actually talking negatively about the job or the company during the interview… especially if you are repeatedly hearing phrases like, “really long hours,” or “the pay isn’t great”? Or maybe the interviewer flat-out tells you that people haven’t lasted long in the position.

If you can sense that the interviewer is unhappy at the job, chances are you will be, too.

3. The Company’s Financial Situation Doesn’t Look Pretty

It’s important to research news stories and financial information about the company.

“If you see that their stock price has recently dramatically declined, that they had major layoffs this year, lost clients or downsized stores, products and/or overall presence, this is cause for alarm,” says Jill Jacinto, associate director for career site WORKS, millennial career expert for AOL Jobs and a Millennial Ambassador for Bentley PreparedU Project.

4. The Interviewer is Late (and not sorry about it)

“If the interviewer keeps you waiting and then doesn’t apologize for making you wait when he or she finally comes out to greet you, this is an indication that this potential boss will be disrespectful in other ways,” says Cheryl E. Palmer, career coach and owner of Call to Career.

Disrespectful behavior can also include the interviewer checking email while talking to you or looking bored and watching the clock, Palmer adds.

5. The Interviewer is an Egomaniac

“When an interviewer is solely focused on him or herself and not on you as the interviewee, this spells trouble,” Palmer says. “The interviewer should be carefully assessing you as a candidate to make sure [he or she] is making a good hiring decision.”

6. The Office Walls Look Like One Giant Rulebook

Are aggressive rules posted all around the office? Do employees look scared, or more like robots than humans? Are they keeping to themselves rather than collaborating with each other? These all may be signs of a bad work culture. 

7. The Interview and Other Employees Have an Odd or Unfriendly Relationship

Pay close attention to the interpersonal dynamics between your potential boss and other employees in the organization, Palmer says. “This is relatively easy to do if you have a panel interview where potential colleagues of yours are interviewing you along with the potential boss,” she says. You can also observe casual interactions, such as how the potential boss treats others walking down the hallway, she adds.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at the Levo League!


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