For those first starting out in their careers, it’s difficult for you to tell one company from another because you don’t really have that much experience dealing with different companies. When you get a strange feeling during the job interview, you can’t tell if its a sign bad work culture or if it’s normal to expect this during an interview?

Well, here are our tips on how you can avoid choosing a company that has a bad work culture:

1) When you walk pass the office, what’s the energy like?

By observing the energy levels in an office, you can gauge the general work culture of the organisation. Look out for body language, do they look disengaged or tired or unhappy? Are people laughing and having conversations, or are they all just hunching forward and focusing on their own monitors? Is their body language relaxed or squeezed together and timid? Are they friendly? If you smile at them, do they smile back?

2) Does the interviewer speak to you with negativity and authority?

You can tell a lot about the work culture based on how the leaders of the organisation are. If the person interviewing you has a very authoritarian style (example: telling you things like “I expect this should happen”, “If you don’t achieve this in three months you will be fired” etc), and uses a lot of threats and bossy language, you can almost be sure that the other people within the organisation behave and think in the same way, which is a sign of bad work culture.

3) Look at how the colleagues interact with each other

Do they seem friendly with each other? Is there positive energy or do they seem annoyed at each other? Good work cultures are filled with colleagues who are respectful of each other, so even on bad days, you will never see them screaming at each other, as they tend to be much more community-minded and collaborative.



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.