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How job descriptions can reveal if a workplace is toxic

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If you are looking for a new job, it may be that you’re ready for a challenge, maybe you can’t bear your boss, or maybe you’re taking advantage of the hot labor market and job hunting to secure more money.

Your reasons for moving roles might be different from that of your colleague, but the fact remains that everyone hopes their new employer is going to be better than the last – albeit in different ways. However, no matter the industry, no matter your role or no matter your level, a toxic workplace is never the goal.

But how can you tell if a workplace is toxic? You can do research, you can speak to people who either worked or work there, or you can carefully read the job description and check it against our toxic workplace cheat sheet.

There are a few phrases that should be considered red flags.

1. Wear Many Hats

If a job description states that successful candidates will be required to wear many hats it generally means the team as a whole is understaffed. You’re being hired for your skillset in one area, and while nobody minds helping out during busy times, extending yourself past your role and dedicated duties in the long term is not a solution. It’s a recipe for burnout.

2. We Are Family

Your workmates are not your family. Let that sink in. While everyone wants to get on with their colleagues and have a pleasant working environment, the very notion of business is built on boundaries. If a job description mentions a “family-like” environment it’s a red flag that you will be called upon to go above and beyond time and again. This also indicates an environment that makes it very hard for workers to say no.

3. Fast-Paced Environment

Some industries are by their nature fast-paced, however if a company describes itself as being fast-paced it generally implies that there’s not enough time to do your job, because the demands are too high. This toxic cycle continues when you work overtime to complete tasks and then are unable to reestablish a work-life balance without letting your output suffer.

4. Competitive Salary and Benefits

While not necessarily a red flag, statements about competitive salaries and benefits that aren’t explained in the job description should be noted down to discuss during a call with a recruiter or during the screening stage. How long will you need to work there before a pension contribution kicks in? What is actually covered with health insurance? And how does the staff stock plan actually work?

Hope is not lost: For every job you decide not to apply for due to red flags in the description, there are hundreds more companies dedicated to treating staff well, offering real benefits, continued training and generous compensation packages across financial and non-financial pillars. We’ve done some of the hard work by highlighting three of the best below.


For those interested in making a career in tech, a flagship tech company has to be Apple. Continuously groundbreaking, the company not only pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, it is concerned about the health and wellbeing of workers, offering generous paid time off, health insurance programmes, gym credit and a staff stock purchase plan. Apple is currently hiring for a Senior Engineering Manager, a Java Software Engineer and a Machine Learning Engineer. Explore all opportunities currently available at Apple.


Ripple is a global payments network with major banks and financial services providers as its customers. The company offers competitive salary, bonuses, and equity as well as paid medical and dental, paid vision insurance, commuter benefits, flexible vacation policy and industry-leading parental leave policies and family planning benefits. Current roles at Ripple include a Blockchain Software Engineer, and Director, Machine Learning. Explore all open roles at Ripple now.


Cyber security giants CrowdStrike is consistently named as one of the best tech companies to work for – worldwide. Their fully remote policy means workers don’t need to tackle proximity bias or fight for flexible opportunities while benefits include a 401K contribution, healthcare, family leave, financial support for continued training and a comprehensive stock purchase plan. CrowdStrike is currently looking to hire engineers with experience in UI as well as Security Content Analysts. Explore all available opportunities currently available at CrowdStrike.

There are dozens of companies currently hiring across all sectors and levels on the NextPit Job Board – discover all opportunities now. This article was written by Aisling O’Toole.

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Kirstie McDermott | amply

Kirstie McDermott | amply
Senior Content Manager

Kirstie works for our job board partner, Jobbio. Based in Dublin, she has been a writer and editor across print and digital platforms for over 15 years.

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