Leaving a toxic workplace situation can leave a lasting impression on an employee. Even if you investigate and a company seems to have a good workplace environment, it can be hard to fully ensure that you are stepping into a company that will treat you better.
Employee reviews and browsing a company’s website can only get you so far in learning the culture of the workplace. That’s why the members of Young Entrepreneur Council have come up with some key questions you can ask yourself to ensure your new company is the right fit. By asking yourself these questions, you may be able to uncover some warning signs of a toxic workplace.
1. Does the leadership inspire trust?
Does the leadership inspire trust or rely on control? Tyrant leaders ensure no one in the organization can be more important than them. They constantly ridicule and push employees to quit by holding on to information. A culture of people who try to control and game the system for their own benefits is a telltale sign of a toxic workplace. – Ryan Stoner, Dendro
2. Why is this position open?
“Toxic” has relative qualities; sometimes one employee or manager adds hostility to a workplace or systemic problems exist that cause strife. At the interview stage, a candidate can inquire about the reason for a position being open and why a previous employee left. Sometimes the reason is understandable—maternity leave, other opportunities. Other times, they may lie. Lying is a red flag. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
3. What were the warning signs at my last company?
Look back on the situation and try to figure out how it started. Had there been any cues or warning signs that you might have ignored? Once you can tell what was wrong with the old company, you will be better equipped to notice that something is not going well next time. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
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4. What impression did they make during the hiring process?
The entire hiring process right from the choice of words in a job posting to the demeanor of the interviewer can tell you a lot about the job. Did they make you wait to start your interview? Were they polite? Were there any odd demands? By analyzing the hiring process, you’ll have a better idea of your potential work environment. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
5. What are my values?
What’s toxic to one person might not be to the next. Defining what environment you prefer (e.g. fast-paced like a tech startup versus slow like government) creates criteria. Determining if you align with the company’s mission, vision and values can filter better fits. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss
6. How can my personality fit into this company?
Getting a sense of the workplace culture during the interview process can help you determine how toxic an environment can be. Asking yourself “How can my personality fit into these team dynamics?” can help you identify where potential problems may exist. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
7. Do the people here practice what they preach?
It’s important to be observant and speak to colleagues (if possible) before accepting a job offer. You can get a clearer picture of what a job is like by speaking with its existing employees and managers. When you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to find it during the early stages. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. How do I feel when I consider a future here?
If the answer is “fearful and anxious,” I know it’s time to move on. If the answer is “excited and happy,” I know I’m in a good place. Trust your instincts, prioritize your feelings and don’t sacrifice your happiness and sanity for a paycheck! When employers see talent fleeing to better workplace cultures, the whole business world gets better. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts