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5 Ways To Spot A Toxic Company Culture Before You Accept The Job

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Although there isn’t a foolproof way to ensure that your next company isn’t toxic, there are strategies that you can implement to spot a dysfunctional company culture before accepting the role. Take control of your career trajectory by doing your due diligence beforehand to ensure that you aren’t playing a constant game of hit or miss.

Here are five ways to discover if a workplace is toxic before you start your first day and throughout your interview process.

Understand the job description. 

It’s essential to thoroughly read and understand the job description to avoid any confusion regarding expectations about the role. If you apply for the job, snag an interview, but don’t correctly learn about the role and company, there’s a high chance that you aren’t aware of the company culture and how it aligns with your values and career goals.

Ask the right type of questions. 

Remember that you are also exploring the company to get a better understanding of the role, culture, and team. An interview is not the time to please and prove. You should strive to gracefully interview the interviewer while showing them that you’re the right person for the job. While developing interview questions, be mindful of creating leading questions. Leading questions are questions that hint at the desired answer. When asking leading questions, it might suggest what you’re looking for within your next role, instead of accessing the company culture. Aim to ask pointed questions surrounding company culture and work-life balance, for example: “Is work-life balance embraced here? If so, how? Could you give me an example?

This type of question allows the interviewer to answer freely and gives you, the job candidate, the information you need to decide for yourself if the company culture aligns with what you’re looking for next.

Connect with employees at your future company. 

Don’t just blindly follow employees who work at your future employer on social media. Genuinely reach out to someone who works at the company and ask for a virtual coffee date. Having an impromptu conversation who isn’t a decision-maker within the hiring process can give you the unfiltered information you need to decide for yourself if the company is the right fit for you before you accept an offer. By organically connecting with current employees, you’ll get to learn about their candid experience. If the company does seem like a fit, you’ll gain a great internal contact should you decide to start working there.

Observe actions and words. 

Throughout the hiring process, your goal should always be to listen, observe, and pay attention to any potential red flags that present themselves. Instead of falling over every word you hear, see people’s body language and actions, especially during interviews and networking conversations. This can also give you the insight you need to determine if you’re walking into a toxic work environment.

Stay patient. 

It can be tempting to want to entertain every company that’s interested in you, especially during this uncertain time and shaky job market, due to COVID-19. However, when you’re desperate to land a new job, you’re more likely to miss or ignore warnings and forgo your intuition surrounding if an opportunity is truly the best one for you and your career goals. When both you and the company are desperate to see you join the team, that’s a good sign you’re probably heading into a less than pleasant environment. Take the scenic approach when navigating your job search, you’ll be much better off for it and less likely to be repeating your job search anytime soon.

Adding these five things to your job search strategy will boost your chances of accepting a job at a company that is more aligned with your personal and professional goals.

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