You know the one I’m talking about. The candidate who had a resume which was the recruitment equivalent of Mona Lisa. But as soon as they started, you realised they couldn’t even spell team – let alone participate in one.
These are the hires who avoid work like the plague, are rude to their colleagues and managers, and have emotional outbursts whenever you confront them about it. In short, they’re a black hole of productivity and end up wasting immeasurable management hours simply through trying to prevent them from negatively influencing others’ work.
It’s not an easy situation to deal with, and while it might be too late to avoid those bad hires who are already in your company, there is a way to avoid them in the future: screen candidates using a personality assessment.
Personality is of utmost importance in the workplace, and we now know enough about it to have a pretty good idea of how it influences behavior. Here are just a few of the maladaptive behaviors that crop up time and again in those regrettable hires, and how you could have weeded them out before they had a chance to take root in your company:
- Poor planning: Have you ever had to get a file from a bad hire, have them spend half an hour trawling through windows to find it, only for them to realise that they’d printed it out and deleted the soft copy? Then you’re probably dealing with someone who is low on conscientiousness. Conscientiousness predicts the tendency to plan and have self-discipline, and is absolutely critical. In fact, the research shows that conscientiousness is the number one predictor of job performance.
- Arrogance: There are an abundance of personality traits which predict arrogance, and key among them is narcissism. Narcissists are out for glory, and they’ll step on anyone who stands in their way to get it. But personality tests have long been able to predict narcissistic tendencies. Ever seen a question which asks ‘Do you always excel at what you do?’ That’s not testing for ability, it’s looking for narcissism. And it stands out from a mile away in a personality test.
- Poor company fit: Admittedly, the candidates who are simply unequivocally terrible at their job are relatively uncommon. Far more likely to appear are candidates who are adequate at their job – but never quite manage to excel because they don’t fit in with the company or their workmates. Personality testing is able to help you design a team who you can be sure will work well with one another to achieve success.
- Hostility to others: Some people are better team players than others, and the degree to which the ability to work in teams is important will vary from role to role. However, employees who are overtly hostile to their peers are going to cause irreparable damage to your productivity and brand. A particularly terrible employee may even be abrasive enough that they cause other excellent employees to seek a new job. Fortunately, these maladaptive personality behaviors can be predicted, and traits such as agreeableness can detect how well a candidate will work in a team.
Many of these behaviors will not become apparent until after the interview, or even appear a few weeks or months into the job. While a thorough interview process can weed out some of these personality traits, themost scientifically objective and proven way to detect them is via personality tests. Applicants can exaggerate or outright fabricate their achievements, work ethic, and behavioral
tendencies on their CV and in an interview, but they can’t do it on a test which is specifically designed to detect mistruths. By measuring personality, you can get a good idea of how candidates are going to behave before they even step through your door.