1. The coffee machine or lack of it. I don’t even drink coffee, but a fancy machine out in the open in a clear welcoming area suggests the company wants the employees to feel good while working. A dark kitchenette in the middle of nowhere with canned instant shows just how much they’re willing to invest in your well-being.
A vending machine means they won’t even spring for the kettle, sink, and canned stuff.
2. A great question to ask in interviews is: “What do you like about working here?” It frequently catches the interviewer off guard and you can learn a ton from their reaction. It’s usually pretty easy to tell whether they’re being sincere and if there are things they enjoy or if the workplace actually sucks.
3. When you come into the office and see people casually talking and laughing about something work-related. Bonus points if one of them is the interviewer.
4. When the interviewer is genuinely excited about what the company does.
5. The first green flag is when I have confirmed that I will get the hours I need to survive, and the boss immediately respects my hour restrictions. If they go “uh we’ll see” that just means “you might get twenty hours a week or we’ll make you work like a dog until you burn out.”
6. When I interviewed after I got laid off, I asked how they handled the pandemic. It shows a lot about the type of company they are and how they view their employees.
7. They don’t have a high employee turnover.
8. The application process is pretty normal and respectful of your time. I.E. send your resume and brief cover letter and references, as opposed to those 7-hour personality quizzes.
9. I’m in the software industry and a lot of companies are kind of sweatshops. I like to schedule people to interview in the afternoons so when their interview ends at 5:00 they can see people packing up and going home at the end of their day.
10. My future boss correctly pronounced my name when picking me up in the lobby. Her support, mentorship, and care for growth and happiness still are main the reason I’m with the company seven years later.
11. There’s no major demographic difference between non-customer facing and customer-facing positions. Like if you go in and everyone you see in the public sales areas is white and everyone in production is Hispanic, that’s a little iffy.
12. Look at people’s faces. People can bullshit you all day long but there are often easy to read facial expressions that tell the real story.
13. The beverage they are offering you says something.
14. The organization is profitable year after year.
15. Break policy: Are breaks based on the needs of the company or the needs of the employee?
16. Salary transparency: Are you going to make as much as someone in the same position who was recently hired? Does the company hide how much people make?
17. Prompt communication during the scheduling and interview process. They get back to you quickly after each response and seem genuinely interested in talking to you. Nothing worse than someone who takes days to respond, or even just ghosts you halfway through.
18. The interviewer asks you questions and then genuinely cares about your answers.
19. Literally had an interviewing manager tell me: “I don’t care if you show up in a bathrobe with a toothbrush hanging out of your mouth, if you can get the job done and your skills are what you say then we’re all good.”
20. Coming from a childcare perspective, how much art is on the walls. If there’s a lot of art and with plenty of style variation, it shows me the kids are engaging well with the adults and the staff is creating a good environment for them to explore. Same thing with how many books are on the shelves.
21. When they stock period supplies in the bathrooms.
22. They say family is more important than work.
23. They say work-life balance is a high priority.
24. They recognize people for accomplishments.
25. I had an interview at a massage place this week. The assistant manager had blue hair. I was no longer concerned about having tattoos and piercings or looking “unprofessional.”
26. The interviewer forthrightly describes the best ways to earn raises and receive promotions.
27. When the vacancy is created by someone getting an internal promotion, that’s a great sign that the company fosters talent and development.
28. “We trust you to do your job. We’re a small company and expect you to self direct. If you need to be micromanaged and watched to do your job, this won’t be a good fit for you. We just don’t have the time or energy to watch you.”
29. In food service, a very subtle green flag I like to see is employees dancing or singing along to the music being played in the bar/taproom/restaurant.
30. If the staff have inside jokes, it’s probably a good sign.