When you are in the market for a job and have been looking for a while, any chance for employment can start to seem attractive. You may be paying attention only to the duties involved in the position and ignoring aspects of the company culture that could be detrimental to you. If you know what to look for, it can be easy to spot a bad company culture in an interview.
If you have options and solid skills and experience to bring to the table, it may not make sense to work for a company you will not be happy at. Your quality of life is likely to suffer in a weak company culture, along with your performance. The job is likely to end sooner than you planned (either by you quitting or getting fired) and you will find yourself back at square one in your job search. Here are some signs of a bad company culture to look out for when interviewing:
1) The office is messy and disorganized
In a weak company culture, people tend not to care as much about maintaining order and a respectable work space. A messy and disorganized office can be an indicator of a chaotic work environment and employees that are overworked and unhappy.
2) There is a high turnover rate
Pay attention to how long the people interviewing you for the job have worked at the company. One of the major signs of a bad company culture is a high turnover rate. If people don’t tend to work there very long, there is likely to be a reason. This reason is often a bad one, but in some cases high turnover can indicate that the company is growing and changing, so be sure to ask questions and do your research. If that doesn’t seem to be the reason, you may want to keep looking. Also, take note if your interview is too short. This can be a red flag that the company is desperate to fill the position
3) No one leaves the office by 5 o’clock
If your interview takes place later in the day, you should see at least a few people leaving by 5 pm. A lack of work life balance is an easy way to spot a bad company culture. While there may be some people that need to stay late occasionally to finish projects, if no one has the guts to leave at their normal time, you probably won’t be happy working there.
4) The office is too quiet and lacks spirit
When you are interviewing, look around at the people working. In a weak company culture, it tends to be so quiet you can hear a pin drop. In a company culture that is positive and productive, you should hear some talking and laughter. Employees should appear relaxed and happy.
5) There is a disconnect between leaders and other employees
When you meet employees in the interview, pay attention to what position they hold and the company’s hierarchical structure. One of the signs of a bad company culture is leaders that are too focused on their job title, and separate themselves significantly from lower level employees. Also, it’s a bad sign if only employees with management positions have their own office.
Working in a positive company culture that fosters growth and productivity will be greatly beneficial to your career in the long run. If you spot a bad company culture and can afford to keep looking, don’t settle.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.