Job Interview Red Flags That Signal A Toxic Workplace

One of my least favorite parts of job hunting is the interview. It’s nerve wracking to try and guess what the best way to present yourself would be, and I find out doubly nerve wracking because I’m so shy. However, it is an integral part of process, and not just for the employers.

While the point of an interview is for the employers to get to know potential hires and make sure they know what they’re talking about and would be a good addition to the company, potential hires can use the interview to their benefit as well.

You get to find out more about the company, the people you will be working for, and the work environment. You’ll know if the company is going to give you what you want, and if the workplace is pleasant or toxic.

Redditors know this all too well, and are sharing their stories about what red flags during interviews clued them into the fact that the workplace is toxic.


Curious to know more, a Redditor asked:

“What are some red flags in an interview that reveals the job is toxic?"

The Tax Break Ain't Worth It

"In one interview I was enthusiastically assured that overtime wasn't an issue, but if you pick up an extra shift they pay in gift cards so that it saves you on taxes."

"I know they're trying to save themselves employment taxes and time and a half, they're not doing me any favors. I declined their offer."

– Cook_n_sh*t

"The IRS wants a word with you."

– frederick_ungman

Time For A Vacay

"I always ask everyone in the room when their last vacation was."

– GenericHam

"This is a great tip."

– Eastern_Category7875

"Or some variety of how often they take vacation, especially for places with "unlimited" vacation. I interviewed at such a company once, and my interviewer said he never took off and was talking about a coworker who takes off frequently in an annoyed tone."

– acid-runner

Started From The Bottom...And Stayed There

"“We’ll start you at minimum and re-evaluate in a month”"

– Hot_Salad9000

"...which turns into a year."

– frederick_ungman

Reviews Matter

"When I mentioned a company's dismal Glassdoor evaluations, they became so enraged that they ended the interview. Well. I suppose I escaped that danger"

– Alhbf

"I brought up a company's poor Glassdoor reviews during an interview before too (they were all complaining about the owner of a small company). The folks interviewing me looked at each other and said that the owner could be difficult but he's in Mexico most of the time so I'd never have to see him. I accepted the job because I was desperate but sadly that was around the time the owner decided to stay around and get his hands in everything. I was only there for 8 months and I think five people left before I did because of him."

– churrofromspace

Not The Boss You Want

"Had an owner of a restaurant tell me "If you have a problem don't come to me cause you won't like how I fix it" Yeah, keep your job."

– DeftTrack81

"One of the key functions of being a boss is helping the people under you solve a problem. What a douchebag."

– GrifterDingo

High And Mighty

"The interviewer keeps telling you how fortunate you are to be there like they are doing you a favor by giving you the job."

– SuvenPan

"I’m a teacher. My last principal reminded us in every meeting—usually more than once a month—how lucky we are to be working there. My new principal starts every meeting—two per semester—by telling us that we are talented enough to work anywhere and he’s honored that we choose to work with (not for) him. It’s a drastic and beautiful change. My new school mostly was hiring because the district was growing and they simply needed more teachers. My last school was hiring because they had a 50% turnover rate."

– Flaky_Finding_3902

Know The Numbers

"Trying to get you to agree to start before they tell you what you’ll be paid."

– operative87

"I applied to a position out of state and was offered the position during the phone interview. When asked when I could start I replied two weeks, but stated I couldn't accept without knowing how much it paid and having that in an official offer letter/email."

"This dude lost his sh*t and said all huffy puffy "Well, I mean, I don't have the numbers right in front of me, but I guess if you have to know I can get that for you." I said yes, I have to know. He said he'd call back. He never did."

– Krushed_Groove

The Answers Are Obvious

"Once I had an interview where they silently gave me a questionnaire to fill out for 50 questions and just went to another room. The questions were very detailed and stupid, mostly about money. ‘Is your goal to make money in our company?’ (If the answer is ‘yes’, then you didn’t pass). I left before I even finished answering this list. And then I found out that they register employees for an incredibly low official salary, promising to pay most of it at the end of the month, but they delayed money for six months and don’t give it out if the person quit."

"I’m glad I left."

– Lina_Grapes

Cringiest Interview

"I interviewed for one once where the manager spent the whole time asking me the usual questions in between rounds of berating some poor tech support employee on the phone about their payroll software."

"Also any time a hiring manager talks up the company's bonuses and raises to justify their low salary, you'd better believe you're not actually getting either."

– ThreeStacksRadio

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

"I drove about 4 hours to an interview in another city. I told the person interviewing me that I was happy at my current job and wouldn't consider leaving just for the higher pay."

"He stood up and looked over the cubicle walls to make sure no one was around and whispered, "You don't want to work here.""

"I passed on that job but while in the new city I applied for another job where I have been happy for the last 25+ years."

– carefreeguru

What A Real Interview Is All About

"When they don’t realize that you’re interviewing each other."

– love_is_an_action

"After realizing this, I was never nervous again."

– NoodlesDoNot

Not So Occasional

""We expect our employees to be flexible regarding work schedules:"

"Would you be available to work evenings, weekends, and occasionally on holidays with short notice according to our needs?""

– Back2Bach

Be Kind

"When they have nothing good to say about the person whose position they are trying to fill. They aren’t necessarily talking bad about the person- just little digs, almost passive aggressive."

– Laceybabe9669

Be Careful What Group You Invade

"Once you realize that all upper management is family."

– fshnow

"This, or they're all from the same church or community. Nothing like being passed for a promotion by the new guy because he's with the higher ups every Sunday despite being totally incompetent at the actual job. Classic nepotism."

– honinscrave

"Or they are all best friends."

"So when you have to make a complaint against one of them, they don't take it seariously and they dismiss it because they think you are the problem when in fact, they are the ones who are toxic."

"(Yeah, I was in that situation)"

– Frankydoodelidoo

Know Your Worth

"An interviewer tried to convince me to lowball myself after I said what I’d accept as a minimum salary which was in their offer range from the posting. “If we pay you more you wouldn’t get a bonus at the end of the year, and you’d be really upset when everyone else got one.”"

"What he was “able” to offer salary wise was $10k below their posted range."

– -Apocalypse-Cow-

"I'd rather get a salary than a bonus anyway. A salary is guaranteed; a bonus is not."

– LeoMarius

There are more red flags here than most sporting events!

Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments below.

Man with head in his hands
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

An aged old proverb reflecting on when people perform what they think are well-meaning, helpful acts, but in reality, only worsen a bad situation.

A day seldom goes by when people won't notice an example of this, either on the news, in the book they're reading, or simply walking down the street.

This could be anything from someone making promises to help out, but never delivering on them, to saving money for a less expensive cleaner, which turns out to radiate toxic fumes, resulting in the building being closed for an indefinite length of time.

Ideas which might seem good in theory, but are impractical, illogical, or even harmful, in practice.

Keep reading...Show less
A glowing red sign that says "Nintendo Virtual Boy"
Photo by Senad Palic on Unsplash

Unless you grew up with the most doting parents on the planet, there's probably a toy or two that you really wanted as a kid, but never received.

Whether it was too expensive for your parents to afford, or something like a noisy toy that was going to be way too annoying for your parents, there are probably some toys that you really missed out on as a child.

Keep reading...Show less
cooked fries
Photo by matthew reyes on Unsplash

When it comes to fast food places, no two places are the same. Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets are far superior to those from McDonald's, while no one does milkshakes quite like Dairy Queen.

I have always preferred burgers from In-N-Out, but my brother will always go for Five Guys.

There will always be debates when it comes to which establishment does fast food the best.

The biggest debate surrounds the ultimate side dish: french fries.

No one can ever seem to agree on which fast food chain has the best french fries, but that doesn't stop the debate. Redditors are engaged in that very debate as we speak!

Keep reading...Show less
People Dispel Common 'Facts' That Are Total BS
Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

Some people will just believe anything.

And if you call a statement a fact long enough, many people take it as gospel.

Some facts are absolute truths, others can be malleable.

Science changes.

History evolves.

Lies are exposed.

And research is an actual art form.

Keep reading...Show less