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24 Job Interview Red Flags That Can Reveal A Company Or Job Is Beyond Toxic

By Raven Ishak,


Since layoffs continue to happen in 2023, it can be incredibly daunting having to interview for new jobs. But before you do, it's important to be aware of interview red flags you simply cannot ignore.
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So, when Reddit user u/[deleted] asked : "What are some red flags in an interview that can reveal a job is toxic?" I thought it would be incredibly important to list some out just in case you or someone you know is currently interviewing. Here's what some people had to say:

1. "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."


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2. "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, but they're not doing me any favors. I declined their offer."


3. "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."


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


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


"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 shit and said all huffy and 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."


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6. "Oh man, I’m a nanny so I get some of the weirdest interview questions. It’s not HR, it’s Lisa the stay-at-home mom with her first baby. A big trigger in the nanny world? 'Light housekeeping.' If you get asked to do some light housekeeping, it means they want you to be their maid as well. So, any downtime they expect you to be vacuuming and doing laundry and dishes. That’s the question that seems innocent but is a huge red flag. Other interview red flags: 'Do you have a boyfriend?' 'Do you expect payment during naptime/bedtime?' 'We practice gentle parenting and expect you to do the same.' (It's fine in theory, but it means the kids will do whatever they want.)"


7. "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."


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8. "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??"


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


10. "'What did you earn at your previous occupation?' 'We are not looking for someone with a 9 to 5 mentality.' 'Here you will truly be a part of the (corporation's) family.'"


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11. "I drove three hours to an interview, and the secretary took my info, then said, 'So-and-so isn't available for an interview right now.' I said, 'Okay, I can come back in a hour, I drove a long way to get here.' She goes to his office, comes out, and says I can come back next Friday. I said, 'You can't do an interview today? You asked me to come today.' No respect for anyone's time."

12. "Had an owner of a restaurant tell me: 'If you have a problem, don't come to me — because you won't like how I fix it.'"


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13. "If you hear the word 'sales' mentioned ANYWHERE in the job description, then sales will be your main job."


"Yup, I worked in a call center as technical support. They really forced us to make sales our priority. One time, I spent 15 minutes on a call explaining to some old lady, step by step, how to fix something on her phone. She was really thankful, and I felt good about helping her. I ended the call, and my team leader came over to chew me out because I wasted too much time on that call and didn't even try to sell her anything. That was the moment I realized, 'Man, fuck this job.'"


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


"Or, some variety of how often they take a 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."


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15. "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 quits. I’m glad I left."


16. "Residents from CA, CO, DC, NYC, and WA need not apply. They have salary transparency laws so the company is going to lowball you big time."


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17. "A red flag is if it seems like nobody has a personality. I always make it a point to make some small talk with receptionists or people interviewing me. If they shut it down immediately or just otherwise give off a 'WTF are you talking to me?' vibe. NOPE."


18. "It's an older/established company, but everyone working there is young or new, aside from the higher-ups. Also, if you ask what's the best part about working there and they address things like, 'Oh, it's a great location' or 'We get free lunch' instead of saying what they like about the actual job or company."


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19. "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."


20. "If you have to pay any amount of money in order to work for them, it is a scam, and stay away."


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21. "Second-hand information but one of my coworkers told me an interviewer asked for her social media passwords to 'expedite their background check.' She did NOT comply and bailed on the whole interview."


22. "'We're like a startup' is usually bad. Everyone has to wear every hat and is completely overworked."


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23. "'We work hard, play hard.' 'OT is basically infinite, and you can work it as much as you want.' 'We have a high turnover rate because people stop coming to work.'"


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


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Do you know any red flags that can immediately indicate a job is toxic? If so, tell us in the comments below:

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