How to Screen for Toxic Personalities


People are always on their best behavior on interview day. While this shows you who’s best behavior is expletives and mustard on the tie, the more insidious personality defects in a new hire can lay dormant for months or even years before bubbling up to the surface like so much sulfurous muck. An employee with a toxic attitude can bring an entire team down, or at least make them all hate coming to work.

So how can you detect a rotten attitude when the candidate is doing their damnedest to keep a lid on it for once? Well, there are a few warning signs that can clue you in to the fact that someone has trouble working with others. The best way to reveal the beast is to spend a good deal of time on candidates’ employment history. Ask why they left their previous 3-5 jobs and be sure to ask follow up questions. Why did you resign? Why did you think you deserved to keep their scanner? Why do you think all of your managers have been out to get you? If you notice a common thread of extenuating circumstances for leaving their last few jobs or a pattern of “evil managers”, chances are that this person is full of nothing but conflict and excuses. But, then again, they could just be unlucky. Always check a candidate’s reverences. Getting a second, third or fourth opinion on someone is worth the time you save on eliminating a bad hire.


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