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15 signs a workplace is toxic – and how to spot them early

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
15 signs a workplace is toxic - and how to spot them before you take the job. Source: Getty
15 signs a workplace is toxic - and how to spot them before you take the job. Source: Getty

When you’re looking for a new job, you want to make sure that the workplace you’re about to enter is the right fit for you.

However, that can actually prove pretty tough to spot when you haven’t had a chance to meet any of your future colleagues, or even seen the office you’ll be working in.

So how do you spot a toxic workplace from afar? According to resume-building site Resume.io, there are plenty of ways to scrutinise your potential employer before you accept the job.

Red flags before the job interview

Yes, red flags signalling a toxic workplace can be spotted even before you interview for the job, according to the careers site.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. The job description is vague;

  2. The company has bad reviews on Glassdoor;

  3. It took a long time to arrange a job interview;

  4. The employer is surprised when you arrive; or

  5. The interview starts late.

Red flags during the job interview

There are also things to keep tabs on during the interview:

  1. The interviewer is unprepared;

  2. You’re not asked any questions about yourself;

  3. The interviewer is rude to the panel;

  4. You didn’t get told the company values; or

  5. Your questions aren’t answered.

Red flags after the job interview

Contacting you too early, or too late, can also indicate that a workplace is toxic. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. The interview was way too short;

  2. The workplace was too quiet;

  3. You didn’t get an office tour;

  4. They offer you a job on the day of the interview; or

  5. They leave you waiting weeks for a call back.

How can I find out whether a workplace is toxic?

If you want to take matters into your own hands, there are a few questions you can ask your potential employer to deduce whether the workplace is the right fit for you.

Here are some examples:

  1. “What are the values of the company?”

  2. “Why did the person who previously had the job leave?”

  3. “How long has the team been in place?”

  4. “What are the challenges of this position?”

  5. “What does success look like in this position?”

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