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14 Sure Fire Ways to Spot a Toxic Employee in an Interview

By admin@myofficein | BPO, Business, Office | 0 Comments

When people are working together as a team, exemplifying positivity, and has the willingness to listen to one another—that’s like hitting a productivity jackpot.

Some dynamic companies have even gone so many changes to revamp their entire interview practices and put more emphasis on teams, recruiting groups over individual hires, precisely because they knew that people who work well on teams are, in general, high-performing employees.

The worse scenario though is when recruitment inadvertently hires a team member who can disrupt employee productivity, and by extension, company profitability. Be wary of toxic employees. While no HR manager sets out to hire one, it’s just so hard to identify the potential candidates among a pool of applicants.

Avoiding a bad hire in your office space Philippines is easier said than done, but these 14 interview tips can help you uncover problems early in the process.

1. Ask potentially toxic questions.

Ask for the five things the person liked least about his or her last company and previous job. Asking one question is pretty common and won’t make them stammer. Asking for more questions will pressure a person to reveal either strategic insights or signs of toxicity.

Asking candidates with questions like “what you like the most about your previous company or job?” will help you determine and understand the candidate’s priorities. If they focus on work-related aspects, that’s a good response. But if they give more importance to the perks, such as free food, vacations, they are not engaged enough to do their work and will only drain the positivity in the workplace.

2. Have others do it for you.

I can be fooled; you can be fooled; we all can be fooled. But a whole team together is very hard to fool. We are used to assigning a single person to interview the candidate. If we try to have team interviews, most of the time we will be able to sniff out and determine the toxic employee.

If you like to interview, then you can let yourself alone interview the candidate but don’t decide on your own. Just consider that as the initiation move, and try to narrow down the list to two or three prospects that you like, and then have the whole team decide. If you do hire the wrong candidate or as a team, take care of the problem sooner rather than later.

3. Ask how he or she handled a difficult situation.

One type of toxic employee is the never-ending victim who feels that anything that went bad was someone else’s fault. They will likely keep on pointing fingers and put the blame on someone else.

You can check for this by approaching the candidate and ask, “What was the hardest situation you were in and how did you handle it?”  or Make the candidate describe an experience in which things did not turn out as hoped and see how they react. If they only blame others for the problem and never admit their own mistakes, you have a red flag that they might do this at your own company later own.

Take note that a non-toxic employee will admit their faults and tell you how they have learned from it and shows that learning is part of their regular mindset. The question you asked will give you an insight on how the employee can operate once they become part of the team.

4. Ask them about their future.

Encourage the recruitment team to ask the candidates on where they see themselves after 5 or 10 years. This would help them identify if the candidates are going to be a long-term fit for the company, or if the candidates are just trying to answer every question to satisfy them to land the job.  More than that, this classic interview question will help the recruiters determining the candidates’ plans and intentions to work for the company.

Having potential employees with a clear vision of their future gives us a lot of insight about whether they’re right for the role. However, the best answer to this question doesn’t need to be working for the company but a reflect strong conviction and determination to get where the candidate wants to be.

Candidate with unclear goals can easily feel unmotivated which can lead to mediocre work, affecting other colleagues around them, the workplace atmosphere, and the overall company.

5. Speak with references.

Use a social media platform to connect with individuals who have worked with the candidate before. Asked them if they’d be amenable to a 10-minute conversation and ask few things about the candidate you currently have. Many of these individuals won’t say something overtly negative, but their reports won’t be that as good either. Yes, it would mean an extra effort needed, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you can spare your team from adding toxic individual into the team.

6. Set up different interview stages.

There would be a lot of intensive processes in which candidates must pass to prove and assess their skills, experience, attitude, and most importantly, cultural fit. It is more difficult to discover the true colors of an individual that is why there should be an extended process in your office space Cebu that would cull those who are acting from those who are being genuine.

Anyone or any candidate can put on an act for an hour, but it would be difficult for them to hide their true colors after a day of meetings and events.

7. Ask about their best moments at work.

Candidates can put a lot of twist on negative experiences they had at their previous job. Instead, catch them off guard and ask about their favorite moments when they’re at work. If the candidate’s responses consist of superficial aspects of the job such as office parties, free lunches, or give more importance to the perks, then you know you have a candidate that can’t give more importance or look beyond the surface for deeper meaning in his or her work.

8. Remember, history repeats.

One effective way to screen out people is to provoke them to discuss their employment history. Through the story, you can find out that if they have been a center of drama on their previous company. With that, you get to decide whether you continue and accept that candidate. Remember that no matter where they work that drama maelstrom they caused might happen again. Take note of this simple rule: If they’ll do it to someone else, there’s a possibility that they will do it to you as well.

9. Ask forced negative questions.

Asking some forced negative questions can be very revealing. Negative questions would set the stage of prospective employees to open up their complaints on their previous company. Positive questions are expected to get a positive response, so try asking the candidate from a different angle that would make them provide more authentic and revealing answers.

10. Find out if a candidate holds a grudge.

It is possible to determine if a candidate to hold a grudge because usually, a personality pattern exists with the person rather than the situation. People who don’t hold a grudge will look beyond the differences between them and the others while still being confident enough to voice their opinion. While the people that hold a grudge will simply ignore the relationships and fail the people that surround them being unwelcome.

11. Watch out for complaints.

A complainer is the least productive employee and could drain the positivity in the workplace, and they could also be the worst that you could bring on as part of your team. Avoid one like the plague. If the candidate you are interviewing has so many complaints about his or her current employer throughout the interview, that’s a red flag. It is okay for them: the candidates; to dislike parts of their current role, but it depends on how they explain the issues they are facing.

12. Always ask behavioral questions.

This is a technique that involves asking situation-based questions and have the candidates give you concrete examples of how they behaved when they were in certain situations. This is some form of a fabricated story of their past, especially when the interviewer drills down deeper to get to the bottom of the situation that would put the candidate to a hot seat.

13. Deviate from the standard boring line of the questioning.

Get enough with the tired interview questions that people usually ask. Instead, go for probing, unexpected questions. A candidate with a good sense of humor and high comprehension skills is prepared to answers any form of questions such as “What are your strengths?” with more honesty while a toxic candidate will stutter and end up sugarcoating his or her answers or what we called “white lies.”

14. Listen for “we.”

The easiest way to identify a toxic candidate is to listen for acknowledgment of team successes. If a candidate only wants to talk about his or personal achievements in previous positions and work or seems reluctant to credit co-workers, there could be an ego problem, that person is toxic.


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