How do you find out if there is a hostile work environment in an interview? Is that something you would ask the interviewer? Would it make a difference if you were talking to your future boss or Human Resources? Are there other ways to find out if a company culture is hostile? We’ll discuss some of the signs of a hostile work environment along with tips on how to uncover one.

The likelihood that you will get a straight answer asking an interviewer if they have a hostile work environment is zero. Companies, bosses and sometimes employees are oblivious to how hostile their workplace is – simply because they live in it every day. And if the company was a bad place to work, why would they share it? Their goal is hire more employees – likely to replace the ones who quit because of the culture.

I know, it’s hard to believe. Leaders and employees create the culture. If that is all they know, that might be all they understand.

You are probably more savvy picking up a hostile work environment, especially after working at multiple companies. Also, experiencing a hostile work environment can increase your sensitivity to the point of being hypersensitive. Do a self-check on how much you might be reading into a situation because or experience vs. looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

If you are not sure what signs to look for in a hostile work environment, my YouTube video shares Six Signs You Work in a Toxic Work Environment.

Steps to Determine a Hostile Work Environment

Some good ways to find out if a company has a hostile work environment are:

  • Do a search on Glassdoor. Know that some of the comments may be skewed. Look to see if there is a pattern of complaints as well as praises.
  • Talk with people who have left the company. Do a search on LinkedIn Do you have a first or second-degree connection? Reach out for a networking call to learn more about the company.
  • Talk with people who are still working at the company. Ask to speak to people who may be your co-workers.
  • Without asking directly, you can ask questions about communication, access to your boss, accountability, team interaction, training and development. These are areas that companies support in positive organizations.

Why is Your Work Environment Important?

Most of your life you will spend working with other people in a profession or workplace. You have probably heard the saying – you are the company you keep.

Who you work with does affect your health. If you have positive interactions, you are likely to be more positive. If you face constant negative interactions, it will become increasingly more difficult to stay positive.

Your health is something only you can take care of. Working in a hostile work environment can affect your physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Finally, pay attention to your gut. It’s easy to get side-tracked by the money and a job. Ultimately, finding a safe, productive and positive work environment will bring you greater happiness.