How to Catch Bad Apples Before You Hire Them

How to Catch Bad Apples Before You Hire Them

Bad apples can have a significant negative impact on the workforce but there are warning signs that should tell you not to hire them in the first place.

Most recruitment specialists like to think they'd know how to spot a bad candidate. But often, it's much more complicated than turning up late or clearly lying on a CV. Some people know exactly what to say and do during the hiring process but then have no intention of delivering when they are offered the job.

Having a new hire who doesn't live up to your expectations can be incredibly damaging even if you implement some sort of probationary period. Aside from being a complete waste of money, it can put pressure on their colleagues who have to make up the skills gap.

So how do you spot these bad apples before you hire them?

Talk to references

References are often neglected on a CV but in the social media age, it's never been easier to do a quick background check on a candidate. Follow up on the contacts they have named on their CV but also reach out to people that have endorsed them or previous employers on LinkedIn.

It's essential that any candidate is able to fit into your company culture, as well as bring the required skills and experience to the job, so these type of background checks can be a valuable resource when hiring. You can also do other types of screening to look at a candidate's financial, criminal and employment history if it's relevant to their role and they consent.

Conduct team interviews

It's fairly easy to fool one person but pulling the wool over the eyes of a whole team is much more difficult. Having a group of people who each bring something different to the recruitment process will help you get the best hire. This is especially true if you're able to select professionals from throughout the business.

For example, a Director, someone who will be part of their team and an experienced employee who works in a different department but will need to collaborate with them will all have different priorities. This allows you to examine a number of aspects of a person's personality and see how they will fit into your company as a whole. 

Vary the questions

From asking difficult and purposely negative questions to thinking a little outside of the box, giving candidates something they're not expecting can be an effective way of bringing out genuine behavior. Being prepared for an interview is a great thing but not if you are trying to lie your way through the recruitment process.

You should also ensure that an element of your interview focuses on behavior-based questions. Asking candidates about how they'd act in a certain situation is an effective way of revealing more about them as an employee.

Create a hiring process

Judging someone on a 30-40 minute interview can be extremely difficult so introducing a number of recruitment stages can help you catch bad apples. This can be everything from a skills test to a trial day working as part of the team and can be a brilliant way of seeing whether they will be a cultural fit for your company.

Insincere candidates may be able to maintain their front for an hour or so but it's much more difficult to do so on multiple occasions and with a variety of professionals.

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals. To view more HR content, click here.

Insights for Professionals