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Recognize Toxic Candidates Before You Hire Them

In an environment where staff shortages are still causing problems for employers more than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s tempting to hire candidates who are “on the bubble” when it comes to qualifications and experience. But if you’re not careful, your eagerness to fill staff openings may allow some truly toxic candidates slip through the cracks, and that can cause much bigger problems than a labor shortage. 

With that in mind, here are four steps you can take to help you spot the red flags in a candidate before you make an offer. 

Consider More Than Experience 

Some candidates look decent on paper, but there’s more to being a right fit with a company than just having the necessary experience. Sometimes, you need to hire based on potential as well. Use the interview process to identify hard workers and team players. 

Ask Behavioral Questions 

This is a crucial way to “push past the paper,” as it were, and find out if they have the intangibles needed to do the job. Ask questions like:

  • If you could change one thing about the way you work, what would it be? 
  • Tell me about a work situation that was particularly stressful for you and how you handled it. 
  • How do you define success? 
  • What would your best friend say is the best part about being your friend? 

Questions like these are crucial to finding out not only what makes them tick, but also what happens when they go “boom.” Do they pin the blame on colleagues and external circumstances, or are they introspective and open to improvement? 

Run Down Their References

Ask the professional and personal references a candidate lists on their resumé meaningful questions. There’s a full list here, but in general, you should find out how they work in a team, handle conflict, and their greatest accomplishments. If you meet up with a stone wall of silence beyond verifying the dates the candidate worked there, consider it a waving red flag. 

Involve Other Employees in the Interview Process 

If you really want to know if a candidate has the right stuff for a job, invite someone at your company with a role like the position you’re recruiting for to participate in the interview process. Not only can they help gauge the candidate’s potential for success, but they add another set of eyes, making spotting toxicity easier.  

Find the Right Fit for Your Company 

Another tool at your disposal when it comes to getting quality talent is the use of a staffing agency. Mega Force helps employers in High Point and the rest of North Carolina connect with dependable candidates. Whether you have a time-sensitive need, or you’re just wanting to give your current recruiting efforts a boost, start here to learn how we can help. 


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