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A few weeks ago, this article by Monica Torres on toxic workplace culture red flags job seekers should watch out for was trending on Twitter. The article from HuffPost explains to job seekers what to look for when interviewing for a job. It mainly focuses on what employers and recruiters might think is an indication of something awry in the company or with the employer.

So, while that article covered the job seekers’ bases, we thought we should probably cover yours. After all, job interviews work both ways: as much as you’re interviewing the job seeker, the job seeker is also interviewing the position and you as an employer. You’ll want to make a good first impression that doesn’t raise any red flags, so they’ll be enthusiastic about the position and workplace from day one!


What Are the Signs for Toxic Workplace Culture?

If you’ve ever had a job that had a toxic workplace culture or practice put in place, you may have realized the signs that were pointing to it from your interview. Even if the job only revealed itself as or became toxic after a period of time in the position, you will have thought you should have seen it coming from the very beginning. And certainly, one may come across as toxic without actually practicing those cultures in the workplace. But it should go without saying that if you or your workplace are coming across as toxic in the interview, your candidates will be uneasy about accepting a job offer.

As such, our top three red flags you should watch out for in your own practices, and those that job seekers will be looking for are: 

1. Strict conditions on job offers

While this red flag is multifaceted, each of the points within it are equally crucial. For one, a flexible salary or working from home conditions can be aspects of a small offer that can go a long way. For another, with the job market favoring the job seeker these days, you will need all you can offer to get a competitive edge over other employers. That is to say, even if you offer a negotiated salary that is only slightly higher than your initial offer or allow them to work remotely only a couple of days a week, your candidate will see you’re willing to be flexible. More importantly, they will understand you value them too much to let them go. Otherwise, they may think you see them as easily replaceable and may be inclined to work somewhere they feel more individually valued.

2. Failure to take responsibility

Failing to take responsibility also takes the form of many toxic attitudes. Sometimes it comes in the form of bad-talking the previous employer who made poor hiring or leadership decisions. Other times, employers will blame poor working conditions and values upheld in some fields on the workplace itself or the field of work, rather than working to fix them. But most commonly, this comes in the form of blame culture, as Michael Timms points out in this Harvard Business Review article.

Let’s say you’re explaining what you need to have in your next hire in order to replace your last employee. If you only focus on what the previous person in this position did wrong, and don’t recognize your own mistakes in leading them, they may fear you will act the same with them. Of course, mis-hires happen all the time. It happens particularly often when people who aren’t a good fit are hired for a position based on their credential claims, and not based on how their soft skills would determine their suitability. But an easy and powerful solution to these problems is admitting fault where it is due. Offer your truthful experience, take responsibility, and explain how you’re working to improve for their time with you.

3. Valuing productivity over employee well-being

As the pandemic has shown, employees need to feel valued beyond their workloads. Certainly, being productive is important. But this should never come before your employee’s wellbeing. If this is indeed your opinion, practice it! Ensure your current employees feel this way so that if they were asked or were to post a review on GlassDoor, they would answer favorably and honestly. As well, demonstrate to your candidate that you have ways of measuring productivity that do not overlook their well-being. Let them know if you offer vacation or mental health days, or what you offer to combat burnout and fatigue. This will not only be valuable in showing your healthy attitude toward work in the short-term but will also benefit your employees in the long run.


Leave a Good Lasting Impression on All Candidates

Remember with each interview you offer, you are showing both future employees and members of the general public who you are and what you stand for. Showing not telling your future employees that you value healthy workplace practices will go a long way. Show you care about even those who apply to your workplace by offering them a valuable asset they can use, even if they aren’t offered the job. Packfinder is our complimentary soft skills assessment. Use it to leverage your potential hires and solve for mis-hires. More importantly, use it to show your workplace hires equitably based on soft skills. To try it out for free, sign up for a Workwolf business account today!


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