When you’re in need of a new job, it can be easy to overlook the little things when you’re interviewing. However, it’s vital that you stay critical of every potential employer. A good workplace culture, a respect of work-life balance, and a workflow that you enjoy are all critical for your mental wellbeing. Don’t let a paycheck and the illusion of stability trick you into buying into a bad job.

Here are some red flags that can tell you whether a new job is for you, even during the interview process.

Bad Workplace Culture

When you’re interviewing, take a quick look at the office’s layout and the general feeling of the average worker there. Do the people seem happy? Are all of the employees buried in their work, heads down and frowning? Or do you see people interacting in a positive way, collaborating on their projects and staying happy while they work?

If you notice something is off in the workplace culture, trust your instincts. Listen for phrases that could key you in on the culture. Do you hear people bragging about working over 40 hours? Does it sound like unpaid overtime is expected? Do you see people getting publicly reprimanded for minor mistakes?

These are huge red flags that you should pay attention to.

Work-Life Balance

A great rule of thumb when interviewing for a new job is figuring out what their opinion of a healthy work-life balance is. If the term “work-life balance” elicits knowing laughs and derision from the interviewer or others in the office, run from that job. You don’t want to work somewhere that views home life as “cute” or “distracting.”

Remember, you work to live. You shouldn’t have to feel like you live to work. Another great way to gauge an office’s respect for work-life balance is whether they respect their employees’ free time. If you see rules regarding cell phone use, strict break times, and harsh punishments for non-work activities, this is probably not somewhere you want to work.


However, the opposite can be true. If an office seems far too relaxed, unfocused and unproductive, it might not be the best for you. If the atmosphere seems like a difficult place to get work done, you might wish to avoid this job. Some jobs just don’t give you the opportunity to get into a good workflow and make something you’re proud of.

These jobs can be tempting as an “easy paycheck,” but they’ll never truly challenge you. They can leave you feeling hollow, empty and unfulfilled.