People Share The Interview Red Flags That Scream 'Do Not Take This Job' — And How You Can Expose Them

How to spot a bad boss, before it's too late.

Manager smiling at a job interview. Gustavo Fring / CanvaPro

A recent survey from the Workforce Institute found that more than half of employees feel their managers have a bigger impact on their mental health than their therapists — go ahead and read that again. 

Many say the influence their managers have on their personal lives and mental well-being is equivalent to that of their spouses or partners. From arguments to mistrust — what’s on the line with your manager feels similar to what’s on the line with a partner. 


So, how can people ensure that they’re not entering a toxic job before they even start? Well, Reddit posters who’ve had a lifetime of “toxic bosses” suggest there are red flags you can pinpoint in a job interview, that can expose the reality of the job before you sign an offer letter. 

People on Reddit pointed out the job interview red flags that scream ‘Do not take this job,’ and how you can expose them. 

“We’re a family here.” You can almost hear the hiring manager who’s saying that in a job interview right now, but as many Reddit posters advised when you hear this phrase it's time to run. 


In a job market that’s increasingly more difficult to navigate, it’s no surprise that people are latching onto the first job offer that comes their way. 



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Of course, for many, that’s the only option they have; however, if there’s any opportunity for you to weed out certain employers, you should. On the “Ask Reddit” forum on Reddit, people discussed just how to do that — pointing out job interview red flags that can give you some insight into the reality of the company you’ve applied for. 


Instead of hoping for the best, use these red flags to your advantage. Or at least ask the right questions in your job interview to expose toxicity while you still can. 

How do they speak about vacation and paid time off? Oftentimes, managers who ‘boast’ about always working expect the same from their employees. 

“If your employees don’t get to take their time off, and you don’t take time off as a leader, you have a toxic work culture,” one Reddit user said.

To get a feel for how the company handles vacation time look out for three main red flags: 

  1. Any mention of “hustle culture” — managers who boast about not taking vacations or sleeping at the office are cultivating an unhealthy culture. Not only are they overworking themselves, they’re setting unreasonable and unhealthy standards for their employees. 
  2. Ask the question: What does the vacation/time off structure look like? If they give you a vague answer or outline an incredibly strict process — chances are they aren’t going to value your time off.
  3. Lastly, posters suggest getting a feel of the company’s break schedule during your job interview. “My manager got so mad that I left 2 hours early because we were required to start 2 hours early,” one Reddit poster wrote. “If I would’ve been vigilant about start times during my interview, I probably could have prevented [this].” 

People Share The Interview Red Flags That Scream Don't Take This JobPhoto: Bernardbodo / CanvaPro


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Ask questions about the ‘worst part’ of working for the company — the manager’s response will say everything you need to know. 

Some posters said during interviews they had managers say “they were expanding the team” — a seemingly innocent line, they brushed right off. When they started the job, it became clear that they actually meant “they were severely behind… working who they [had] to death.” 

So, how can you ensure you ask the right questions, and more importantly, get honest answers during an interview?

Posters suggested “catching interviewees off guard” by asking questions that they won't expect. “Ask what the worst part of working for the company is,” one person said, “Or ask if they’re happy in their role.” 


If they relax and seem excited to talk about their own experience, there’s probably a healthy culture at the company. However, if they tense up and close off — a typical reaction to discomfort — they’re probably keeping the truth to themselves. 

If any of your interviewer’s responses are vague, that’s a red flag. Whether it's wage transparency, job responsibilities, or the workplace culture, take it as a sign of deceit. 

The way that managers answer your questions during an interview can tell you a lot about the company and their experience in the workplace. “If you ask exactly what you’ll be doing, who will be in charge, anything about wages or promotions… and don’t get a clear, direct answer, be a little suspicious.” 



TikTok creator @corporatedropout_mom said that the way managers ask and answer questions can be a red flag in itself. If they’re not valuing your time, putting genuine thought into answers, or cultivating a safe interview atmosphere, be wary. 


In addition to the few points above, there are a million other ways to spot a toxic work environment or boss from a job interview — but the biggest tip is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right or you aren’t bonding with the interviewer, consider leaving their offer on the table. 

If you don’t have the freedom to turn down a job offer, be sure to set clear boundaries with your boss early on. Just because a work environment is toxic, doesn’t mean you have to succumb to it. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.