“He looked great on paper. How did he turn out to be such a disappointment on the job?”
Ever find yourself muttering this a few months after hiring somebody you thought was a great candidate?
Even seasoned hiring managers occasionally miss subtle cues that a candidate may be bad news. And besides, some job seekers just know how to “play the game.” They cast their experience in the best possible light, say all the right things in the interview, sail through the reference check – and then turn out to be absolute nightmares once the “honeymoon phase” is over.
How do you guard against hiring the wrong people? Ideally, you should try to spot potential problems during the interview process. Unfortunately, however, gauging a candidate’s soft skills – the way he manages stress, treats his co-workers or handles mistakes on the job, for instance – is much trickier than assessing job experience or skills.
To help, Wood Personnel has assembled this list of “challenging” personality types, along with tips to weed them out early in your hiring process:
- The downer. This employee always sees the glass as half-empty. He sucks joy from your workplace and has an infectious negativity that can undermine even the most positive work team. He may act positively toward you, but the moment you turn your back he can be downright surly to co-workers and customers.
How to identify him: Ask behavior-based questions that require him to detail service experiences for both internal and external customers. Look for “blame-placing” answers: that other people or situations were the cause of his failures; that certain clients or team mates were “impossible” to deal with; that his work environment was toxic.
- The slacker. This is a coattail-rider who contributes the bare minimum and takes advantage of everyone else’s hard work, by contributing the bare minimum in team situations. Over time, his behavior will create resentment in other employees who have to pick up the slack for him.
How to identify him: Pay attention to the candidate’s energy level during the interview – not just what he says, but how he says it. Ask questions about his team performance, probing to find out exactly how much he contributed and pulled his weight. Ask him to detail a situation where he spearheaded a new initiative, led a team or otherwise went above and beyond his job duties. If he can’t provide at least one solid example, that’s a serious red flag.
- The over-promiser. This individual’s resume matches your job requirements – exactly. His responses to your questions are precisely what you’d expect from the ideal candidate. According to him, there’s nothing about this job he won’t be able to do.
How to identify him: If a candidate seems too good to be true, trust your instincts. Ask tougher interview questions, and then ask him to provide specific work examples to back up his claims. Honestly, no interviewee is perfect. When pressed, a genuine individual will admit to times when he made mistakes or failed to hit goals. If your candidate shows no signs of weakness in any area, you may have an over-promiser on your hands.
The best way to avoid hiring a candidate with one of these job personalities? Trust your search to Wood Personnel. As Middle Tennessee’s recruiting leader, we matching the entire candidate – his skills, experience AND personality – to the needs of your available position. Give us a call to make your next hire a successful one.