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Identify Toxic Job Candidates in 8 Easy Steps

by BGC HR

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Working in a business that deals with people is a mixed bag. There are times when working with people can be a great pleasure. And then...there are times when you begin to loathe the entire human race because your job candidate is problematic. These are the candidates who are going to cause you problems, who are difficult and troublesome to work with. 

Here are some of the key red flags to help you identify troublesome candidates: 

 

1. Someone who refuses to pick up the phone:

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Anyone who refuses to pick up the phone is bound to be a problem-filled candidate. There is only one reason why a candidate will refuse to answer your calls: they’re not interested.

It takes a few days to hire someone. The only way to keep a candidate from dropping out during this period is to find someone who really want your opportunity. You need to let your candidates know that they have to want to cooperate with you or you are never going to place them. Keep in mind that if your persistence does not pay off. It’s best to proceed onto the next job candidate. 

 

2. Someone with large, unexplained, employment gaps: 

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There are a number of reasons why candidates will have gaps in their CV. It could be anything from medical issues to extended maternity leaves. However, seeing multiple or large, unexplained gaps in a CV is a major red flag. 

Someone with large, unexplainable employment gaps in their CV could be a bad hire - one who doesn’t stick at the role long enough to pick up the company’s standard operations processes (SOP). Or if they do well during the interview, someone with an attitude issue - thus preventing them from sticking around for long.

Pro-Tip: Someone with an unemployment gap of 2 to 3 months might warrant a further investigation.
 

3. Someone who doesn’t want to open up (during the interview): 

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The key to having a successful working relationship with your potential colleague is trust. But trust is a reciprocal thing - in order to be trusted, you must trust someone. Hiring a candidate who refused to trust you with their information and open up during the interview means that you’re hiring a difficult colleague. There is a potential for this tight lipped candidate to hide reasonable information from both you and your organization. Which could be detrimental to your organization.
 

Further Reading: 8 Killer Questions Every Hiring Manager Should Ask During a Job Interview
 

4. Someone who doesn’t do well with feedback:  

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There comes a point in the interview process when you’ll need to reject a few candidates from the running. And sometimes, these candidates will ask for your honest feedback. The aim of the feedback is to highlight the mistakes the candidate did during the interview process - to cost him the job. It could be anything from their interview style or maybe you’ve decided that the candidate was an unsuitable fit. Sounds like the standard hiring process right?

But what if your potential candidate refuses to accept the feedback. This is a major red flag. It should tell you that the candidate is hard to work with since they do not respond well to criticism. It is likely that the candidate will be very difficult to work with - for a long time.

Remember, that no matter the industry, position, and workplace is, you’ll need to provide your employees feedback both good and bad. Ask yourself, do you really want to work with a stagnant individual who refuses to improve? 

 

5. Call their references: 

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It can be really hard to envision a candidate’s working style until you actually work with them. However, a little digging might give you an inkling of how suitable the candidate is for your organization. Or how toxic they may be.

One way to do is, is by calling up their references. Alternatively, you can use Linkedin to connect with people who’ve worked with your candidate. Ask them to have a quick phone call and try to read in between the lines. Some people might refrain from being too negative. If this happens, listen to signs of hesitate in their voice and speech.



6. Someone who doesn’t ask questions: 

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Trust us when we say that someone who is interested in the job will ask a 1001 questions during the interview. A candidate with little to no questions might also have little to no interest in pursuing the role. Alternatively, it suggests that the candidate is less ambitious. They may also be unwilling to dig deep to find solutions or take on new tasks.
 

7. Someone who rarely uses the word “we”:

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A workplace filled with teamwork and cooperation is one that thrives well. An easy way to identify someone who isn’t teamwork oriented is by listening out for any acknowledgement of team successes.

An individual who is not co-operative will refrain from using the word “we”. If a candidate refuses to credit their colleagues for team successes, it could signal an ego problem. Hiring an egotistical candidate might lead to a demoralized and disorganized workplace.

Further reading: How to Better Motivate Your Employees in Singapore

 

8. Someone who constantly complains: 

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Not only is the complain king bad for the workplace environment. An employee who finds a way to complain 24/7 is the least productive member of the team. Someone who complains about the interview, the interview room, the interviewer, or even the spot on your ceiling….well, that’s a red flag. Avoid this person! Preferably like the plague (or flu)!  

 

Hiring the right candidate takes time. But so is finding 1001 different ways a candidate could be toxic. Consider outsourcing your hiring headache to a reputable recruitment agency (psst...like BGC Singapore). Learn more about what BGC Group has to offer here.

Read More: How to Identify and Utilize HR's Best Weapon - Employee Personas

 

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