How to Catch Bad Apples Before You Hire Them


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, July 23, 2018

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.

Article 2 Minutes
How to Catch Bad Apples Before You Hire Them

Most recruiting specialists may be familiar with how to spot a bad candidate. But often, it's much more complicated than turning up late or being dishonest on a resume. Some candidates know exactly what to say and do during the recruiting process to get hired, but aren’t able to deliver when offered the job.

Having a new hire who doesn't live up to your expectations can be incredibly damaging, even if you implement a probationary period. This incurs a financial cost, and can put pressure on their colleagues who have to pivot to make up for the skills gap.

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

Talk to references

References are often neglected on a resume, but in the age of social media, it's never been easier to do a quick background check on a candidate. You’re also able to follow up with any personal or professional references they included on their application.

It's essential that your candidate is a culture fit at your organization, while also bringing the required skills and experience to the job. 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

Having a group of interviewers who each bring a different point of view to the hiring process will help you make the best hire. This is especially true if you're able to select a panel of individuals from a variety of teams or departments.

Each team member will have different priorities and will be collaborating with the new hire to varying degrees. Team interviews allow you to examine a variety of viewpoints on a person's personality and gain a holistic view of how they will fit into your company.

Vary the questions

Asking candidates unexpected questions can be an effective way of bringing out authentic behavior. This can include difficult or out-of-the-box questions. It’s great when candidates are prepared for interviews, but hiring someone honest and genuine is key.

You should also ensure 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 based only on a short interview can be extremely difficult, so including a number of hiring steps can help you catch bad apples and focus on quality candidates. This can include a phone screen, skills assessment, or a trial day working as part of the team. A multi-step hiring process can be extremely helpful in determining whether a candidate will be a cultural fit for your company.

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