Human Resources News & Insights

Don't hire psychopaths

The word “psychopath” might bring to mind a horror movie killer — but an estimated 1% of all employees qualify as “workplace psychopaths.”

What is a workplace psychopath? They’re people who are:

  • Manipulative: They bend company rules and practices for their own advantage.
  • Charming: They’re good talkers, and use that skill to manipulate others.
  • Parasitic: They hog and steal credit, even when they don’t deserve it.
  • Guiltless: They’ll victimize others to achieve success, and not think twice about it.
  • Pathological liars: They talk their way out of trouble.
  • Erratic: Their emotions quickly switch from happy to angry, to sad, etc.

On their own, those traits might not be a big deal, but they spell trouble when combined. The key to keeping them out of your workplace is to identify them in the interview. Try using these questions:

  • Tell me about two times when you had good ideas but co-workers resisted using them. How exactly did you handle that?
  • Tell me about some times you had to work with someone you didn’t get along with.

That’ll let you know how candidates have handled difficult relationships. To back up the info you get that way, you can try asking the candidate’s references similar questions.

To read more about the problem of workplace psychopaths, go here.

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