How to Spot a Toxic Culture in a Job Interview

If your interviewers work in a toxic culture, they will try to hide it through surface acting. But in spite of their best efforts, they will unwittingly share the air in their building through mild and subtle indicators. Always remember efforts to conceal reveal. Your job is to gather the clues and get to the truth about the levels of psychological safety in that culture. Here are nine questions to help you spot a toxic culture in a job interview:

1) What do you like about working here?

2) If you were in my position, would you take this job?

3) What does this organization know and believe about psychological safety?

4) What are your values and how do you hold people accountable to live them?

5) What happens to employees who make mistakes?

6) What happens to employees when they challenge the status quo?

Last three questions are for you:

7) Is the interview conversational or scripted?

8) Are there smiles and transparency?

9) How do you feel after the interview?

It’s up to you to ask intelligent questions to uncover the health of the culture and whether or not it’s a culture you want to be a part of. After you excavate the culture with these questions during the interview process, ask yourself one final question, “Can I flourish in this culture?” Now go tackle your next interview!

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