Hiring Smart: Ways To Avoid Hiring A Toxic Employee

Many employers focus on hiring the most talented individual with the greatest potential. They sift through resumes, perform tests, and meet with individuals in the hopes of finding that unique candidate that truly stands out.

While employers should aim to hire an ideal individual, they should also ensure that they avoid hiring a potentially toxic one. Interestingly, some of the most appealing candidates may carry some decidedly negative personality traits. What’s more, these traits are often well hidden, or seem so subtle that they are overlooked.

Sadly, hiring a toxic individual has horrible ramifications for a team. In fact, these individuals actually undo any positive momentum by star employees by two-fold. Basically, hiring a poor candidate actually takes your team back two steps, while hiring a great one puts it ahead just one. Ultimately, companies should prioritize the prevention of a bad hire.

So, how does one avoid hiring a toxic individual?

Test for Emotional Intelligence

It won’t matter how skilful, knowledgeable, or confident a particular candidate is if they don’t get along well with others. Moreover, an individual doesn’t have a great potential for growth if they are mentally immature, or selfish. Further, if an employer is hiring a leader, they ought to make dually sure that this individual has a high degree emotional intelligence. Not only are they responsible for their own behaviour, but they are meant to inspire those around them.

Performing a psychometric assessment prior to employment is a crucial step in preventing this scenario. These tests measure an individual’s mental and behavioural characteristics to determine whether they suit a role.

Observe How They Treat Others

While a candidate may treat an interviewer with the utmost respect, he or she may be less inclined to behave the same with others. For example, if there is a receptionist, janitor, or customer in the area, they may seem less friendly or less courteous. Granted, these incidents do not take pre-interview nervousness into account; however, they still provide insight into an individual’s natural behaviour.

Ask Negative Questions

After performing a pre-employment assessment, you may narrow your selection down to a couple of potential hires. From here, conducting an interview, or having a brief conversation, may help determine whether a candidate may have less favourable behaviours down the line. Asking negative questions may force an individual to open up.

For example, if you ask for five things he or she didn’t enjoy about their last job, you’ll get some telling responses. If they put down colleagues, blame superiors, or simply complain, these answers convey that they may have a poor workplace attitude.