The 7 Warning Signs You’re Entering a Hostile Work Environment

You arrive for your interview. You’ve prepared thoroughly, done your research, gained some information from your network. You’re optimistic about your prospects.   Now is the time to remember that a job interview is a two-way street, and it’s the responsibility of the employer to present itself in the best light possible, too.

If you are unhappy in your current situation it might be tempting to take the first job you are offered, but you need to be careful you aren’t walking into a worse situation.

Here are seven signs that should set off alarm bells during the interview and recruitment process:

1. Communication

It’s either unprofessional or verging on disrespectful.  Your interview is repeatedly rescheduled and on arrival the receptionist is sullen and rude, and the hiring manager is abrupt and distracted throughout the interview. You are aware of negative body language, and in this case it’s on display from the outset.

2.  Questions Are Ignored

Whatever your questions are – whether they are about the company, the likely timeline for the complete hiring process or questions about previous employees in this position – all are treated with raised eyebrows and a curt response along the lines of “that’s confidential at this stage.”

3. All of The Employees Are Miserable

If the HR assistant on the other end of the line seems downcast when you call to confirm your attendance at the interview, they may be having a bad day. When the sulky receptionist continues the trend, and every employee you meet or cross paths with echoes the attitude of the hiring manager, that’s a major cause for concern. If you leave with a sense of disappointment or utter deflation, imagine what it’s like to spend eight hours a day in the building alongside equally demotivated colleagues.

4. You are Offered the Job without a Formal Interview or Reference Check

If you’re offered the job early on in the interview without any requests for references or verification of your resume, stand back and review the situation. While this may be the case with seasonal positions, it is not the norm with a permanent role. If the company makes snap decisions in the hiring process, what will happen when it comes to firing?

5. No Job Description 

Not only is no job description available, but there are no details on how your performance-related objectives will be defined. You’re assured that it will be resolved “after you’ve joined,” but a company that has no goals or vision normally finds itself in financial trouble somewhere along the line. On top of that, if there’s no defined title or start date, it’s time to leave.

6. The Interviewer Criticizes the Company or Employees

Perhaps they change the subject when you ask why they enjoy working at the company or even warn you about certain colleagues. If their comments are consistently sarcastic or negative, be wary. There may be some truth in their humor.

7. You Don’t Like Anyone You Meet

First impressions count. This is probably your intuition telling you not to pursue this particular role. If you’re in a position where you simply need a job for financial reasons, accept with caution.

Michael Kingston has been a hiring manager for over 18 years and is the author of the best-selling interview guide ‘Pass The Job Interview’.