Problematic employers, like a wonderful first date that turns into a terrible long-term relationship, might talk a good game at first. If you don’t check for the right indicators, you can miss the problems until you’re already on the payroll. Here are some warning indicators of a toxic workplace:
1. Strange Buzzwords in Job Descriptions and Mission Statements
Learning how to decipher job advertisements is useful for reasons other than impressing the hiring manager with your résumé and cover letter. Once you grasp what the various buzzwords imply, you’ll have a better understanding of the company’s culture, values, and expectations, which will help you decide whether you want to work there.
It is far from a perfect science to deduce toxicity from buzzwords. However, you should pay attention to how businesses present themselves in job postings, mission statements, and marketing materials. It’s important to understand how they see themselves since it may influence how the organization treats you.
When is an employee benefit not genuinely beneficial to you? When there is a trap. Free food, subsidized automobile transportation, plus video games like foosball in the break room all sound appealing. In reality, these benefits are designed to achieve one thing: keep you at the office.
If businesses truly wanted to improve your life, they would pay you enough to buy your own food and toys and then send you home to enjoy them.
3. A Significantly Younger Workforce
Have you ever interviewed at a workplace where practically everyone appears to be young—straight out of college or something similar? If you’re just starting out in your job, this may seem like a lot of fun. What better way to meet new individuals your own age than to work with them?
However, there are actual drawbacks to a young workforce, in addition to the challenges inherent in any company lacking variety. For example, a corporation that recruits largely young workers may be searching for ways to cut costs. Employees with less experience are usually paid less. 3 When it comes time to negotiate a raise, this could be terrible news.
A younger team may also indicate that an employer is seeking for employees who don’t have a lot of competing interests, such as children or aged parents who require care. That’s bad enough if you actually have those priorities. After all, not every young person is free of responsibilities. Even if you don’t, you might want to have a life someday.
4. Employees who appear exhausted, depressed, or anxious
When interviewing in person, it’s generally a good idea to ask if you can visit the office. If you’re conducting a remote interview, attempt to gauge the attitude of the persons you speak with.
When you do, pay attention to how the personnel makes you feel. Do folks appear dissatisfied? It’s conceivable they’re exhausted from working in a poisonous office environment. After all, it’s difficult to remain upbeat and engaged when you’re on the point of exhaustion.
5. High Turnover
When conducting pre-interview research, look for current news reports about the firm and evidence of management turnover. Check out sites like Comparably, Glassdoor, and Indeed that provide employer reviews to get employee feedback on what it’s like to work for the company. Then, take a look at your LinkedIn relationships.
Do you have any contacts who have previously worked for the company? If this is the case, observe whether they tend to stay for an extended period of time or bolt for a new opportunity as soon as possible. A high turnover rate can be a warning sign of a toxic workplace.
6. A Prospective Boss Who Takes Pride in Being Difficult
Sometimes, hiring managers will take the guesswork out of the interview and flat out tell you that they’re hard to work for. “I have high standards,” they might say. Or, “I expect the best from myself and also from my team.”
That sounds great. Who wouldn’t want to work for a leader with high ideals and big goals? But keep in mind that when someone tells you about their leadership style, they’re not necessarily a reliable narrator. Would a compassionate but principled leader tell you that they expect the best? Probably not—they’d assume that was a given.