Exposing a company's red flags can be as simple as sniffing for lunch and watching for toilet paper

Salad vegetables lunchFlickr/bradleypjohnsonIf you can smell lunch, people are probably eating at their desks.

In the US, it’s not unusual to work 60 hours a week.

So you probably want to make sure you like the place you’re spending most of your time.

That’s where the concept of “cultural fit” comes in. Just as much as hiring managers are trying to make sure you’re able to function well in the position, you want to make sure you don’t end up with a new job you can’t stand by the end of week one.

But you can’t exactly ask “Is everyone overworked? Is my manager a drill sergeant?” in an interview. That’s why some subtle snooping can be smart.

In Fast Company, Piyush Patel tells Jared Lindzon that finding a company with an agreeable work culture isn’t just about asking the perfect interview questions and scoping out the snack offerings.

Part of it is sniffing around for lunch smells and taking stock of the bathroom.

Really: If you smell food in the primary workspaces, it could mean it’s a place where people eat at their desks, explained Patel, the author of “Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Culture That Matters.”

“I know it sounds crazy, but if you have a culture where you need to eat meals at your desk, that’s a leadership problem,” he told Fast Company. “I use that as a litmus test in my own leadership, because if people are eating at their desks we either don’t have a good plan or we’re scrambling when we should be scaling.”

Another red flag for Patel is a bathroom where people don’t swap out the toilet paper rolls, because “the bathroom is where coworkers are at their most vulnerable,” writes Lindzon.

Patel explained: “If the person who you rely on to work next to you everyday didn’t care enough about you to just change out the toilet paper, what does that say about how we work together?”

Patel, for one, isn’t putting up with people who walk away from an empty roll. “Here was the rule in my office; if I walk into the bathroom behind you, and you didn’t change the toilet paper, I don’t care who you are, today’s your last day,” he said.

Read the full article at Fast Company »

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