Job seeking can be as much about finding someone to hire you as it is finding a place you actually want to work. As such, before you decide to apply somewhere or accept a job offer, it can be wise to keep an eye out for red flags that could signal a toxic, discriminatory environment.
Obvious signs of toxicity
In some cases, the signs of a toxic workplace are pretty blatant. You might see them as soon as you walk in the door or speak with hiring managers.
For instance, some of the more overt signs to watch for might include:
- Lack of diversity among workers (regarding race, age, gender, etc.)
- Unsafe premises
- Unprofessional conduct of the interviewer (e.g., gossiping about coworkers, asking illegal questions)
- Poor communication or confusion regarding your appointments or job duties
- Showing disrespect for you and your time
- Failing to respect boundaries regarding working hours
- Making unreasonable demands regarding interview requirements
- Displays of offensive images, conduct or statements
These signs could indicate that a workplace does not value employees or respect legal protections. You may want to steer clear of it or get more information before accepting a job.
Subtle signs of toxicity
However, not all signs of a toxic workplace are blatant. It might take more time or effort to uncover unfair practices and policies like:
- Regular use of microaggressions
- Pressure on workers to routinely stay late or take on more work without pay
- Abusive management practices
- Biased performance reviews
- Lack of respect for employee’s off-hour time
- High turnover
These signs can be difficult to spot; it can be harder still to connect them to toxic work culture if you have not had experience working at the business.
That said, there are places to look for valuable insights. Ways to bring some of these warning signs to light could include talking to current or former employees and checking workplace reviews on sites like Glassdoor.com.
Avoiding toxic workplaces
If you are interviewing for jobs, keep an eye out for these red flags that a workplace is toxic. Avoiding them can help you preserve your mental health as well as your career.
If you discover you are already in a toxic work environment, filing a complaint and taking legal action could be options worth considering.