How to Avoid a Toxic Workplace

​Have you ever started a new job and after a month or two realized that your new co-workers are all backstabbers, or that the entire leadership structure is so corrupt that it makes the politicians look like angels? Many people have been in this situation and felt that they were duped when they first interviewed for the job, but there are things you can do to find out about the culture of a company before you start on your first day.

How to Avoid a Toxic Workplace

Mar 20, 2014

Have you ever started a new job and after a month or two realized that your new co-workers are all backstabbers, or that the entire leadership structure is so corrupt that it makes the politicians look like angels? Many people have been in this situation and felt that they were duped when they first interviewed for the job, but there are things you can do to find out about the culture of a company before you start on your first day.

  1. Get on the internet – Many employers make a habit of checking out potential hires by searching them online through social networks or even straight through search engines. So why not flip the script on them and doo some searching of your own? Get on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, even Instagram or Tumblr and see what people say about the company. Many people have open profiles on these sites and you can see if they post rants about working there. However, do take these with a grain of salt. We all have bad days at work and once isolated incident doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a terrible place to work.
  2. Ask during your interview – It’s is perfectly OK to ask the person interviewing you what they like about working for the company. One critical part of a good interview is that you have questions for the company and asking about their culture is often a good option. But what if the person interviewing you is part of the corrupt leadership? That is always a possibility. But ask the question anyway and observe their answer. If they break into a sales pitch that seems overly rehearsed or focuses on how much he or she made in bonuses last year rather than the good people you get to work with, you should feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
  3. Ask other employees – This can be a little tricky, but you may come into contact with a receptionist or secretary when you first come in for your interview. Again, asking the question may yield a cookie cutter answer, but observe the body language. If the receptionist is telling you that it’s a great place to work, but not looking you in the eye, things may not be all sunshine and roses.
  4. Seek out clients – Depending on the type of business you’re interviewing with, this may be easier said than done. When you go in for your interview, look around the business for clues about their clients or search for names of clients on the company website. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those clients and ask about their experience with the company.

Is any of this easy? Not really. But keep in mind that you may end up working at your new job for many years. You want to make sure that it’s a positive experience and that you’re not the one posting rants on Facebook once a week because you’ve had “another one of those days.”

By checking things out ahead of time, you will know if the company is a good fit for you.


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