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5 Negative Candidate Personality Traits to Watch Out For

Posted September 26, 2017

By now, you’ve probably heard all about how hiring for personality can greatly enhance your company culture. Company culture is the backbone of your company and can help your business become more like a community, more productive, and, in turn, more profitable.

The rarely discussed aspects of hiring for culture, however, are the negative personality traits to look for in a candidate and when to avoid them. Knowing these negative traits are crucial because as much as the right culture fit can improve overall business, the wrong fit can damage your business just as much.

In this post, we’re tackling these negative aspects head-on to help you recognize the traits and signs to avoid. Let’s get started.

Negative Nancy

The saying “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” is an overused cliche for a reason—because it’s true. If your team is comprised of individuals who look for opportunity instead of obstacles; tossing in a new hire with a glass half empty perspective can rapidly change the dynamic of your work environment, just like that.

This is especially true when teamwork is an integral part of your business’ operations. Hiring a negative candidate can quickly add tension to your team’s dynamic, which can then lead to stress and a shared negative perspective can dramatically impact productivity and lower morale.

We’re not saying all of your hires and team members need to radiate excessive positive “vibes”, but those that jump into negativity at the first opportunity are some that should be passed over for the good of your culture.

The Stubborn Bull

A little persistence can go a long way, but if change isn’t a welcome trait in addition to that persistence, it can be a recipe for disaster. Why? Because when looking for a candidate, you’ll be looking for a strong personality that can also work as part of a team in conjunction with your company’s mission and goals.

A candidate who is unwilling to change may excel in doing things their way, and may even be a productivity powerhouse. But when it comes to teamwork and following your company’s established processes, there can sometimes be a complete disconnect. This can lead to inconsistencies and fierce resistance when the candidate is faced with change, teamwork, or constructive criticism.  

Blame Game MVP

Playing team-building games at work is a great way to boost morale, community spirit, teamwork, and productivity. One game that should be avoided at all costs, however, is the “blame game”.

When looking for the right fit, your candidates should actively demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their mistakes and take action in the face of obstacles. If your interviewee blames past coworkers or their previous employers for shortcomings in the interview, this is a red flag and a hint to wrap up the session quickly.

The Talking Billboard

Self-promotion in a candidate is something to expect. Afterall, they’re literally trying to sell you on their skills, experience, and personality in order to land a role within your company. A candidate who lacks confidence is often overlooked in this process. But what about those with a little bit too much?

If your candidate quickly transitions from confidence into elitist territory in the interview, there’s a good chance it’ll happen once they’ve secured a role in the company. A team member with an elitist personality won’t actually function as a team member at all. Instead, they may find themselves over exaggerating their successes and taking credit for the team’s successes as well. This can lead to a toxic team dynamic and rapidly poison your company culture.

Apathetic Andy

It’s proven that passion drives morale and productivity in your team members, but that’s not all it does. It also boosts motivation and confidence, allowing your hires to rise to new challenges, tackle problem-solving with creativity, and keep up with business changes.

As such, our last negative personality trait to watch out for is apathy. If a team member is an apathetic person, they likely won’t care about the company mission, metrics, overcoming challenges, or even clients and customers.

During the interview, if you can’t trigger an excited or perky response from the candidate or they just seem to not really care, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

Now that you know the negative personality traits to avoid, it’s time to focus on positive traits to go after and put your new knowledge into action.

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Sound too good to be true? Sign up for a free trial of GoGig today and see how it can assess passive candidate personalities.


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