Go to the bathroom. Seriously. As part of the interview process, every job candidate should find the time to go to the bathroom on premises either before the interview begins or immediately after it ends. During the interview? Well, probably not so much. But it doesn’t matter. Just get in there, and not just in the bathroom. Go sit in a stall and do your business. Look around.
The Toilet Paper Test
Use the toilet paper. What is the quality like? Is it one-ply toilet paper or multi-ply toilet paper, perhaps even with embroidered clouds or a nice Gaelic pattern? It matters. Big time. Every employer can be judged – and, yes, fairly – by the quality of the toilet paper they provide for their employees. That is the straight-up truth. Toilet paper is not the air conditioning ducts or the floor plan of a building. Don’t let employers tell you that toilet paper is a building management matter. Every company can control what their employees wipe their asses with. Never take a job that provides its employees worse toilet paper than you use at home. Still using one-ply at home? Then you should probably take the job. No shame in that at all. We’ve all been there. Perhaps more than once.
Just as important: how is the toilet paper being dispensed? Is the toilet paper caged in a steel façade like you find in public restrooms at the colossal tax-funded stadium where your local NFL team plays? The kind where multiple rolls are stacked like cans in a Pepsi machine? Or maybe the toilet paper is simply on a humble non-assuming roller like you have at home. You know, the kind of set up people have when they’re not afraid that some strung out kitten torturer with a phone book for a smartphone will try to steal the toilet paper and wrap themselves in it like an Egyptian mummy before dancing in the rain on a sunny day. Before, during, or after your interview, find a way to check out the toilet paper dispenser. It’ll tell you all you need to know about the job you just traveled and got dressed up to interview for. Toilet paper reveals the soul of an employer.
The Stall Walls
You can learn more about an employer from the bathroom stall walls than you can from any conversation with the CEO, HR manager, or your potential boss and colleagues. The bathroom stall walls don’t lie about with whom you may be working because the stall walls take on the collective personality of the people who shit and piss between them.
So, at some point in your interview make sure to see if there is any graffiti on the bathroom stall walls and, if so, read it carefully. Do you find it funny? If yes, you may be a perfect fit for the job. But, as a normal person, if you find graffiti rendered by grown-ass adults in the bathroom of your employer to be a bad sign about the maturity and stability of your potential future coworkers, then get up and leave the building. Seriously. Graffiti in the bathroom is a deal breaker. So are boogers smeared on the back of the door. As are suspicious swaths of more recent paint that are clearly a lame attempt to cover up some sort of insanity that happened before your interview. Leave and don’t look back.
The Bathroom Floor
The bathroom floor is the subconscious of any workplace. Happy employees simply are not okay with wet mounds of toilet paper or unidentified pools of earth-toned liquids casually languishing on the floor of a bathroom stall. Just about every bathroom is sanitized by a cleaning crew at night, so any barbaric evidence of a human being that doesn’t know how to take a shit or piss without a making a mess just may be your new cubicle neighbor who describes themselves as a “hugger.”
If the bathroom floor of your potential employer is anything but clean, remember that a brand or business takes on the culture of the people who work there. So if you are not comfortable with your shoelaces, or the hems of your pants, or your dress, or your integrity being sullied by the abandoned defecation of a person who may someday be your Secret Santa, then get out. Remember that in an interview, the interviewee is also interviewing the potential employer. And if they don’t have their shit together, then thank them for their time, explain that you have decided that their bathroom stall wasn’t a good fit, and you wish them well in finding an employee who will put up with their shit.