Have you ever hired someone who seemed great on paper, convinced you in the interview that they were the right person for the job, then turned out to be the monkey wrench in the smooth workings of your team?
Most positions you're trying to fill require teamwork, or at least interaction with peers. Since applicants put their best foot forward in a job interview, it can be a bit difficult to spot a loner who prefers to work in a vacuum—but they're the ones that can really wreak havoc on an otherwise high-functioning team.
So how can you weed out the non-team players?
1. First, trust your instincts. You get feelings about someone when you're talking to them that go beyond the spoken words. Even if you don't notice any arrogant body language or poor eye contact, pay close attention to an interviewee's words. Are you hearing “I, I, I” or “We”? Does she mention working with colleagues, or does she present herself as a superstar soloist? If you sense that this person is a lone wolf and not a team player, pay attention. If you hire the wrong person, your team will be getting the same feeling—and worse—40 hours a week.
2. If you're still unsure, try personality testing. Personality profile tests can reveal a lot about a candidate that may get glossed over or miscommunicated in an interview. Reliable tests are available online from many reputable companies and can be given to all applicants you're seriously considering. By showing you which candidates aren't likely to work well with others, you can save yourself time and money by crossing them off the hiring list.
3. Another way to protect against hiring the anti-social type is by thoroughly checking references. Go beyond the perfunctory questions. For example, ask a former employer to give you 5 words that describe the applicant and pay close attention to the responses.
- Good communicator, cooperative, flexible? Team player.
- Keeps to himself, gets along well with superiors, independent worker? Dig deeper.
Ask how the candidate gets along with peers. Does independent mean needs little supervision or demands to be left alone?
4. And, of course, you can always ask specific questions during the interview to get at the heart of the matter:
- Do you feel decisions are best made on your own or as part of a group process?
- Do you get along with your coworkers?
- Tell me about a time you had to handle conflict with another peer or supervisor.
- Do you prefer to work alone?
- Have you ever been a team leader?
This direct approach may be all you need to cull the lone wolves from the pack.
Anti-social employees can cost your company a great deal in lowered morale, poorly executed projects, wasted training dollars and unhappy customers. You can avoid these expensive mistakes by following these tips, or with some help from Donaldson & James. We pre-screen candidates for you and so much more. Contact us today to see how we can help!