Questions to Ask on Interviews to Avoid Landing in a Toxic Workplace |

So often, people develop a mindset that can only be described as “stinkin’ thinkin'” or “doom and gloom.” It doesn’t serve you. On today’s interview with Lisa Rangel, we discussed how to shift that mindset and recalibrate.


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I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, a career and leadership coach. And I spotted an article on I thought was terrific in that it offered ideas of questions to ask to recognize toxic environments on your interviews. Now I want to be clear, it's not always the words that they say that are important. It's observing the, the verbal and nonverbal cues that are given so that, if there's hesitancy at times, you're looking to identify it and see whether or not it's a tell, to use the poker term.

So here are a few questions that you might consider asking now. I don't like all of them, because I think there's a couple of them that are adversarial. But consider asking these questions.

What do you like about working here? And what you're looking for is whether they stumble and kind of fumble around looking for an answer. Things like location, that's irrelevant to the work itself, don't help you, okay, and it's a signal that they couldn't go to the work as part of their answer.

"If you were in my position, would you take this job?" So if you see them light up with enthusiasm, that tells you something? Or are they hesitant? Is there something in their body language with a tone that says 'no?'

What does your organization know and believe about psychological safety? What are your values? And how do you hold people accountable to live them?"

Those two can feel confrontational to me, especially if you're on a first interview. As much as you're concerned about psychological safety, so are they when they hear stuff like that. So those two I'm not fond of. But let's keep going.

"What happens to employees who make mistakes?" I love that question.

"What happens to employees when they challenge the status quo?"

Look for facial expressions, their tone of voice, posture, whether there's trepidation in answering the question.

And from a process perspective, do they make the interview conversational, or scripted. I like scripted at the beginning, but at certain points, shift to conversational, because I want to ensure that they get the data to make a choice, and that they ask the same questions of every individual on interviews, but then go into the personal.

Are there smiles and transparency. Does everyone uppear, cordial.? How do you feel after the interview? To me that's an important thing because your body sometimes picks up on things that you wouldn't otherwise notice. So staying out of your head and just noticing how you feel afterwards is an important indicator.

Hope you found this helpful. I'm Jeff Altman. My website is Go there and go exploring. There's a lot more in the blog to help you. In addition, follow me on on YouTube; click the small icon in the lower right to subscribe. There's a lot more that you'll get as a result of that. Connect with me on linkedin at Message message. Let's try that again. Mention that you saw the video. I just like knowing I'm helping folks. Once we're connected, you'll again receive information and more importantly, get access to my big network which tends to be a lot bigger than most people's.

Hope you have a terrific day and most importantly. be great! Take care.


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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