3 Simple Ways To Spot A Bad Workplace During A Job Interview

Potential employees have more power than they realize.

Woman talking to potentially bad boss in an interview Branislav Nemin via Shutterstock | Canva: Crafterri Designs & Amphawan Chanunpha from Getty Images

When you head into a job interview, it’s not just a chance for the company to get to know you, but also a great way to see if both sides want to work together or go their separate ways.

One survey found that the least effective managers have three to four times more people who “quiet quit” compared to better leaders.

So, it’s safe to say that having a good work environment truly matters in the grand scheme of things and a bad boss can make life miserable.


However, how do we know if our potential work environment is even toxic? Well, if you’re looking for a company with a great work environment, it’s important to watch out for signs of toxicity.

But, what signs should you look out for when interviewing for a potential job? Harvard Business Review makes things easy by pointing out three clear signs your potential workplace might secretly be toxic.


3 Signs Of A Bad Workplace To Watch Out For In Your Next Job Interview

1.  A forced or rushed interview process 

@careercoachchloe 🚩Red flags in an interview process. These are the signs to look out for. ⤵️ 🚫 Chaotic Process: Constant rescheduling, last minute cancellations, not a clear process or not knowing who you’re interviewing with/last minute changes to a panel. If a company can’t organise their recruitment process, there’s a clear lack of structure and processes. 🚫 Job Description lacks clarity: For every process you go through, there should be a detailed job description. Don’t fall into a process (especially if it’s a growth role) where they don’t even know whether there’s a real need for the role. 🚫 Unprofessional behaviour: If they’re talking negatively about their co-workers, or people that have recently left, what kind of culture is that? What are they going to say about you when you walk out of the room?🚫 General energy and vibes: If they’re giving you the constant poker face, feels like you’re being rushed or they seem like they have ‘better things to be doing’, they don’t deserve your time. 🚫 No time for your questions: If a company isn’t giving you a chance to ask questions then 1) how much will your voice be heard in the company and 2) what is their level of interest in your opinion, and what you have to say?Comment below if you’ve experience any of the above! ⤵️#careercoach #careeradvice #careertips #interviewredflags #redflags🚩 ♬ original sound - Career Coach Chloe 🚀

Have you had a recent interview that was all over the place? Perhaps they kept rescheduling the interview or their communication came off as disrespectful. Or maybe they ghosted you only to contact you months later. 

Or the most frustrating sign: they rush you through the interview, making you feel improperly overwhelmed or pressured. This is a huge red flag because good companies take their time to screen candidates since they’re investing in them.

 If they’re not doing proper screenings, it’s usually a sign of a toxic workplace that doesn’t care who they hire or if those people are even right for the job.


Signs like these are a clear giveaway that your potential workplace could be toxic. But the biggest warning comes when you get your job offer.

Job Lalgee, founder of the Realest Recruit, tells Harvard Business Review, that based on his experience, most reasonable companies will give you at least a week to accept their job offer.

So, if they’re pressuring you or being inconsistent with you, then chances are they have a toxic work environment.

RELATED: Job Seeker Warns Of Sneaky Corporate Trick Used In Interviews To Get Potential Employees To Work More Than 9-5

2. The way current employees act around their supervisors

To figure out if a workplace is toxic, always trust your gut instinct. Do you feel comfortable during the interview, or does something seem off?


Pay attention to how people act around the hiring manager. Do they seem happy to be there, do they seem anxious?

What people don’t say can tell you a lot about the work environment, but words can speak just as loudly.

If you’re interviewing for a company, you’ve probably had a moment or two to speak with an employee who works there.

During these times, it’s important to listen to what the current employees have to say. Few employees will tell you that you shouldn’t join the company — though it definitely can happen.

However, it’s more likely that these employees will use certain words or phrases that can give you a good idea of how toxic your potential workplace might be.


According to the Harvard Business Review, they’ll say:

  • The company is small but there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact.
  • We don’t place importance on titles.
  • We believe in meritocracy, so our employees are judged solely based on their performance.
  • We’ve had lots of changes in the past year to get the company’s organization in a better place.
  • Our company believes employees should be in charge of their own career development.

So, if you hear any of these phrases during your interview process, carefully evaluate your potential job before accepting their offer.

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

3. Many employees are leaving the company, but not many are joining

@careercoachtammie Replying to @maggie.z3125 Something is going on behind the scenes. There is a big reason why staff are all leaving at once. #workredflags #workredflag #massresignation #toxicworkplace #toxicworkplacestorytime ♬ original sound - Tammie|Recruiter in Australia

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We have many roles available that we think you’ll be a great fit for?”


At first glance, this might seem like a compliment, as they’re recognizing your diverse talents. But the reality is, people keep leaving the company and they need to fill these roles quickly.

Moreover, if you find yourself being contacted out of the blue by a recruiter first, take a moment to pause.

Likely, they are experiencing a high turnover rate and are searching for people to fill these roles. But wait, how can you tell if a company has a high turnover rate?


If they’re always posting the same job roles then your potential company likely has a high turnover rate, or if they appear to have many openings that seem to never be filled. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that we spend forty hours of week working and during these trying times, we can’t afford to deal with a toxic work environment.

According to the American Psychological Association, experiencing chronic stress from work affects our physical health, potentially leading to depression, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

So, if you notice these red flags during your interview process, do yourself and your mental health a favor: don’t just walk, run for the hills.


RELATED: 8 Examples Of Coded Language Used In Toxic Workplaces That Cause Employee Stress

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