The Eye Test for Problems at the Workplace: Three Warning Signs to Look For

office employees

It may be easy (and embarrassing) for would-be employees to claim that they are ‘self-motivated’ or ‘team players’ only to be found out on the job. But employers can also be guilty of advertising themselves as fantastic places to work when the daily scenario is quite different. Next time you head out for a job interview, being observant will help you notice these issues which could spell trouble in the workplace.

Are the right tools for the job available?

The company values may be posted on their website and plastered loudly across the walls of the reception area, but its actions could tell a different story. Not all forms of investment in employees may be readily visible, but you can easily notice if people have the right tools for the job. Just as an auto shop should have its mechanics check car alignment using an automotive lift, both for personal safety and effectiveness, office workers need a minimum level of good equipment to get their tasks accomplished.

When you look around a company’s premises, try to observe each employee and identify their function. Relate that to the equipment they have, and you may find immediate red flags. Operating systems and software often have subtle visual differences across the versions. If you see a desktop PC still running Windows 7, it’s safe to question how much the employer truly values both worker productivity and data security at every level of the hierarchy.

How do employees communicate?

Teamwork

Company culture is another key factor in determining whether your potential experience working for an employer will be pleasant or otherwise. While it’s easy to write about having awesome culture on the company blog, or apply a positive spin on social media posts, it can be quite different in the reality of day-to-day routines.

The spot test can easily clue you in to possible issues with company culture, if you know what you’re looking for. Employee communication can offer valuable insights to how a business is run. The local pantry may offer opportunities to eavesdrop on candid conversations; when an employee gripes about a co-worker’s actions, or inefficient policies, do they actually consider doing so in conversation? If open communication with employees is truly a priority for the employer, discussing such matters should be routine enough that you don’t notice any hesitation when it comes to approaching a supervisor with concerns.

How well can you adjust?

If you know anybody who left their job due to a negative experience with the company, they probably had quite a few things to say about it. Most feedback tends to be about what the employer could or should have done better, but personal preferences also matter. We have a say in the success or failure of a relationship with employers, and many difficulties in that regard can be avoided by immediately trying to envision how well you can adjust to working at the company on a daily basis.

Raise important questions as you wait for the interview; how did you arrive here today? Chances are, that’s the average commute you’ll face each day. After the interview, what was your impression of the people you spoke with? Your position may not entail future interaction with the hiring manager, but their behavior can reflect on the whole. If you envision any red flags this early in the process, you can save yourself future frustration.

Getting a job interview can be both tense and exciting, but staying alert and observant will yield better information from this first impression and help you avoid problems in the long term.