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Toxic Culture: 10 Signs You Need to Turn Around and Run

Oct 09, 2022
Toxic Culture: 10 Signs You Need to Turn Around and Run

Job seekers should not wait until the first day of work to evaluate an employer but instead pay attention from the first point of contact.

Let us take a look at various signs that the environment at a company may be toxic:

1. High Staff Turnover

What qualifies as high turnover can depend on the situation. For example, if three specialists or managers leave a small company over six months, that might be a warning sign. However, there are certain areas with both mass recruitment and outflow of personnel. If you deal with these areas, you might expect high turnover.

2. Frequent Changes in Management

High turnover in management positions may signal a lack of company culture, frequent changes in the management paradigm, or instability in the industry.

3. Teams Lack a Culture of Communication and Mutual Assistance

In a world of chatbots and automation, pay attention to how the company writes letters. How personalized are they? If there are several employees from the company at the interview, watch how they communicate with each other, especially if they are employees of different divisions or hierarchies.

4. Aggressive "Selling" of a Job

If there are many promises in the interview, and the leader is very charismatic or colorfully describes future job prospects so well that you are ready to accept an offer almost immediately, hold back! Take a break for a day to "sleep on it." Research recommendations about your future boss—the results will probably not make you very happy.

5. Changing the "Rules of the Game"

The company may frequently reschedule interviews at the last minute, or there might be a breakdown of agreements (you discussed one thing and received another in the offer).

6. Poor Employer Reputation or Loss of Clients

This kind of activity cannot go unnoticed—it will always appear in the news or through professional communities. Pay attention to the comments on employer review websites.

7. Awkward Interview Questions

Interviews can reveal a lot about a potential employer. A company might have a poor culture if interview questions are too personal, they bring up issues related to political or religious views, or they violate a culture of diversity and inclusion.

8. Tense, Stressful Environment

While it can be difficult to determine at first, sometimes tension can hang in the air. It is important to understand in what area you are looking for a job and what is happening with a particular company at this time.

9. Feedback Quality

You should not only be looking at the quality of feedback but the possible absence of any feedback at all. Imagine you passed the interview, spent time, and in response, silence. Negotiate with your interviewer about the timing and channels of feedback. And never hesitate to write first.

10. Getting an Offer Too Fast

Oddly enough, a fast offer can also be a warning sign—too quick a decision

may indicate desperation and a lack of discrimination. The company might be making offers to everyone! However, a quick offer is not a red flag if you are a unique specialist or this is not your first meeting with an employer.

Let us suppose you are in an interview and have the opportunity to ask some questions. What questions will keep you out of a toxic environment?

Ask Questions to Help You Evaluate the Following:

  1. How was the vacancy created?
  2. Can you describe the team I would join? How long have the employees been working in the department?
  3. What are some company culture do's and don'ts?
  4. What are some of the manager's expectations for a new employee?
  5. How is performance monitored? What are the KPIs?
  6. What are some traditions in the company and on the team?

Nowadays, more and more interviews occur online. Employment decisions are made based on a virtual meeting, which reduces the candidate's ability to experience the culture of a company or assess its toxicity. If you are selected virtually, find out if you can come to an in-person meeting, visit the company's head office, meet with future team members, or tour the office.

Remember to use all of this advice from your first contact with an employer, do not wait until you sign an offer letter. If you see any red flags, it might be a sign that you should turn around and run!

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