By Jasmine Williams
For the most part, there are far fewer “bad” employees as there are wrong employees for you. Not all employees will fit well in your organization, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad employees.
In some cases, they can actually be great employees that simply don’t fit in well with your culture.That being said, there are in fact some genuinely bad employees out there.
Here are 5 types of employees you do not need by your side – and how to spot them before you hire them.
1. The Blame Shifter
The blame shifter never takes responsibility for their actions. Whenever something goes wrong, it is always someone else’s fault. No employee will take responsibility 100% of the time and there are always times when things happen through no legitimate fault of our own.
In the Blame Shifter’s case, however, it will never be their fault.
Many employers have begun to ask behavioral questions in interviews, like “give an example of a time you made a mistake and how you corrected it.”
If you listen carefully to a blame shifter, the mistake will always be someone else’s fault and the way they corrected it will always have to do with correcting someone else.
If you ask this question in an interview and you get a response that shifts blame to someone else, ask them to give another example. One “blame shifting” answer might be legitimate, two or more should ring alarm bells.
2. The Chronically Irresponsible
Unlike the Blame Shifter, who can be completely and utterly responsible until things go wrong, the Chronically Irresponsible don’t need an employer, they need a mother.
Any responsibility you give them will require you to stay on them like white on rice if you hope to see the job completed on time and according to any set standards.
Unfortunately, the Chronically Irresponsible are difficult to spot early on. They can be friendly, charming and otherwise great employees – until you really need them to follow through or work independently.
The best way to spot the chronically irresponsible is to ask their references if they would unquestionably trust the individual with a critical responsibility. If they seem to hedge or hesitate, beware!
3. The Teenager
Adult teenagers can’t figure out why they should be expected to work when they have important things to do like lunching at the latest, trendiest restaurant or posting their latest look to Instagram.
They will spend most of their time at work browsing online or instant messaging with friends and will be put out if you ask them to put their phone away in a meeting. They also can’t understand that the decent thing to do is to put on a set of headphones instead of harassing everyone in the office with unique personal musical preferences on speakers all day long.
The best way to spot an adult teenager is to check their social media pages. They will most likely be active on multiple sites and their profiles are more likely to be public. After all, they love the spotlight they work hard to create for themselves. If only they worked as hard at what you give them to do, they would be great employees.
4. The Egotist
If the Egotist is late to work, it is probably because they had to stop and rescue someone on the way. Every idea they have is a great idea and if it’s not their idea, they will take credit for it anyway. The Egotist can’t fail, so they will regularly be unprepared for important meetings and other events.
They are so sure of themselves and their abilities, that they believe they can simply wing it and everything will be fine. When things are not fine, you cannot convince them that they are responsible. The Egotist is quite simply blind to any personal flaws or failings.
When you ask the Egotist in an interview what their biggest flaw is, it will always be a strength very lightly camouflaged to try and seem like a weakness.
5. The Director
While you certainly want employees that can step up and take charge when the situation calls for it, you don’t want employees that believe themselves to actually be in charge. Directors will always find a way to take control of every situation and usurp your authority at every turn. They will find a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways to undermine you and make you look bad in front of subordinates.
In interviews, Directors will rarely be able to answer questions about how they took a supportive role in helping someone else achieve their goals or get ahead. The truth is, it would never even occur to them to do so.
The Director is not hard to spot when you know what to look for, but in a world that values leadership skills so highly, many employers don’t even think to look for evidence that candidates might not know how to do anything else. The best leaders also make great followers.
There is a difference between an employee who might be a bit arrogant and a complete narcissist or an employees who might occasionally be a bit irresponsible and the chronically irresponsible. When you know what to look for in interviews and when checking references, however, you can spot the worst of the worst fairly quickly. No employee is going to be perfect and even great employees will have plenty of room for improvement, but with a little caution and care, you can usually avoid hiring the biggest train wrecks.
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Contact her @JazzyWilliams88
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