We’ve all been in a situation where we have either worked with or hired an employee who could be described as toxic. Their bad attitude, lack of respect and overall rude behavior can be extremely detrimental to the workplace. In fact, according to the research, a single toxic employee can cost an organization over $12,000. That is not even taking into account the added costs to the organization related to decreased employee morale, upset customers. Small businesses who are constantly trying to make the most of their limited resources cannot afford these bad hires. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review gives some tips for avoiding hiring an employee who will become toxic to your organization.thumb-1006395_1280

Ask the right interview questions
Good interviewing is the best way to avoid bad hiring. Behavior based interviewing, where you ask a candidate to describe how they would handle certain situations will give you the best insight into whether their values match with company values. Ask for more than one example for each question, so that you can really understand if the candidate will be a good cultural fit. Also, be sure to follow a structured interview process, asking the same questions of each candidate. Some examples include:

  • Tell me about a time when you’ve had to deal with stress or conflict at work. What did you do?
  • When have you failed? Describe the circumstances and how you dealt with and learned from the experience.
  • What are some examples of your ability to manage and supervise others? When have you done this well? When has it been difficult?

Observe the candidates’ behavior before, during and after the interview
In addition to asking questions and recording answers, it is the job of the interviewer to record other details about each candidate that can be keys to understanding future performance. For example:

  • Did the candidate arrive on time?
  • Did they speak negatively about former employers, managers or co-workers?
  • Did they take responsibility for past failures or try to blame others or their circumstances?

Other things to consider are how the candidate treated your employees when they came to the interview. Did they greet the receptionist warmly? Did they chat with any employees in the waiting area or restroom prior or after the interview? Speak with every employee who had contact with the candidate while they were at your organizational and ask for their feedback. You may even want to have an employee take the job candidate out to lunch to get a better feel for their personality.

Ask for and speak with references
Ask the candidate to provide you with references and when you speak with them, be sure to ask questions about what it was like to work with the individual. Share your company’s values with the reference and ask if they think the job candidate would be a good fit. Some examples of questions to ask:

  • What is one thing his coworkers liked best about working with him? What did they like least?
  • Is the candidate a team player? Do they work well with others?
  • Would you rehire this employee? Why or why not?

You may also want to reach out to your network and see if anyone you know also knows the candidate. Check on LinkedIn and Facebook to see if you have any mutual connections. Ask your current employees if any of them know the job candidate as well.

Treat all job candidates with respect, no matter what
The only way to attract great employees to your organization is to treat job candidates with respect and fairness. Coach anyone participating in the hiring process do the same. Rude, disrespectful interviewers will attract toxic people and will give your organization a bad reputation among potential future candidates.

Are you dealing with a series of bad hires that lead you to believe you may need to revamp your hiring process? Contact one of our HR Advisors today to find out how we can help.