How to spot a toxic workplace (before you accept a job offer)
You’ve aced your application, sailed through the interviews and even managed to negotiate your perfect salary. Now all you have to do is sign your new contract, hand in your notice and get ready to start your new role.
But wait! Before you accept that hotly anticipated job offer that has just landed in your email inbox there’s one thing left to do.
You need to make sure that you are not moving to a toxic work environment. i.e. a drama-filled, suspicious and hostile place that you definitely don’t want to work in.
Here are some top tips for spotting one before it’s too late.
Do your homework
Before you accept a job offer always make sure that you have fully researched the company in question. Look at their social media pages, investigate their core values and check out employee reviews on sites such as Glassdoor.
If you know someone who currently works there offer to meet up for a coffee and an informal catch-up. This is a great way to get an accurate representation of the company from someone on the inside instead of the usual PR spiel.
Judge the recruitment process
The recruitment process can tell you a lot about a company and how they operate. Smart, employee-driven companies will make the application process easy and will communicate effectively with you at every stage.
On the other hand, a toxic workplace will leave you waiting by the phone for weeks before letting you know that your interview was successful. This kind of behaviour shows a blatant disrespect for staff members and their time. Do you really want to work at a company like that?
Watch the clock
When the hiring manager eventually reaches out to you, is it in the middle of the day or outside of office hours?
If they are emailing you with interview feedback at 10pm, it probably means they are worked to the bone and under immense pressure. Consider that a red flag.
While interviewing for a role, try to see as much of the office as possible. At the end of the interview ask to use the bathroom. You can learn a lot about a company simply by looking at the WC.
Is the place clean and tidy? Are the toilet rolls well-stocked? Do people say hello when they meet you in the hall? It might sound silly but you these little exercises can tell you a lot about the current employees and how they treat each other.
Dissect the interview
Did it feel as though your interviewers were winging it? Perhaps they are. In a toxic workplace, everything is up in the air. There are no set goals or expectations. Everyone is simply scrambling around trying to meet ever-changing deadlines and simply get through the day.
If you got this impression during the interview stage you need to think twice about accepting a job offer from this company.
Check out the body language
During your time in the office, you should observe how the staff members engage with each other. Are they open and friendly or closed off and dismissive? Do they look fatigued and bored or alert and ready to work? You can learn a lot by simply watching how they interact with one another and their surroundings.
Trust your gut
Always listen to your instincts. If something deep inside of you is telling you that there is something a little bit “off” about this workplace then you need to take that into account.
Your gut acts as your second brain, shielding you from danger and protecting you from potential mistakes. When you’re changing jobs it’s important that you listen to it.