Former Google recruiter shares 7 toxic phrases bosses use that are ‘major red flags’


Deciding to leave a job can be a daunting decision, especially when we internalize the value of loyalty and worry about how job hopping may be perceived by recruiters. As someone with experience as a former Google recruiter and current CEO of a staffing firm, I understand that determining when to stay or go is seldom straightforward. However, there are key phrases used by bosses that should serve as red flags and guide your decision-making process:

1. "I don't want to hear feedback. Just do your job": When managers are unwilling to receive constructive criticism, it indicates a lack of openness to new ideas and a disregard for your opinion. Mutual receptivity to feedback is essential for a healthy work environment.

2. "We value you, but a promotion isn't in the cards right now": If your manager suggests that there is no timeline or clear path for growth or learning opportunities, it's crucial to advocate for yourself. A lack of professional development can stagnate your career and potentially lead to burnout. Seek advice from mentors and network connections to explore alternative opportunities.

3. "This is on a need-to-know basis. Information will be shared when the time is right": Transparency and regular communication are essential in any relationship, including the one you have with your leadership team. If you consistently find yourself blindsided by important information or endure prolonged periods of uncertainty, it may be an indication that it's time to explore other options.

4. "We can talk about compensation at the next review": If your salary hasn't kept pace with your increasing value or falls below industry benchmarks for your role and experience, consider this a red flag. Additionally, if your manager frequently postpones performance reviews, it may signify a lack of commitment to recognizing and rewarding your contributions. Discuss compensation with your colleagues to gain insight and leverage for future negotiations, even if you ultimately decide to leave.

5. "We need to fill this role. Let's not share those details with candidates": If management pressures interviewers to misrepresent company details, team norms, or day-to-day expectations to prospective candidates, it compromises your personal values and can damage your reputation in the long run. Authenticity should be prioritized.

6. "I called you last night at 9:00 p.m. Why didn't you answer?": While work is important and can provide personal growth and purpose, it should not come at the expense of a balanced life. Prioritizing your personal life and setting boundaries should not be misconstrued as laziness. If you experience an "always on" culture, false urgency, or a lack of respect for your time outside of work, it may be time to consider other opportunities.

7. "We don't have time for fun": A fulfilling work environment should provide opportunities for enjoyment. While we all have off days, ideally the positive experiences should outweigh the negative ones. If your managers create an environment that fills you with dread, it may be worth exploring other workplaces that offer pride and joy in your work.

Remember, life is too short to spend a significant portion of it in an environment that doesn't align with your values and priorities.  

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