The 10 Worst Characteristics in a New Employee
Human resources professionals will tell you hiring is one of the costliest things you can do in your business. Not only are there the hard costs of salary and benefits but the soft ones of bringing someone up to speed, getting them trained, and fitting into your team. There are also hidden costs of replacing someone who turns out to be the wrong hire and the cost of morale when a bad hire sticks around too long and brings the team down. That’s why it’s essential that you chose wisely with every hire even if it’s just a seasonal position.
Avoid These Types of Employees at All Costs
If you haven’t hired these types of employees, don’t. If you have, we have a few insights that may help you reshape them into better team players.
Here are a few of the worst/costliest personalities to your business:
- The President: Ambitious without a plan. Sure, it’s great to hear someone wants to start from the bottom and work their way up. However, if you’re hearing they want to start as a summer intern and hope to return next year as the CEO but have no idea of what they will do in between, you should reevaluate their drive. Drive is good when it’s accompanied by goals but without them, you’re looking at another blowhard.
- The Blamer: It’s everyone else’s fault. If in the interview process you hear the same litany of blame falling on a third-party, run far and fast. A good way to test this is to invite them to participate in a competitive team activity. If their team loses, do they blame a teammate?
- The MVP: They’re better than everyone on the team. Fitting in is important in most businesses (unless you run a completely virtual environment with no group projects). If your new hire is doing a little bragging as they talk of their previous job, fine. They may just be nervous and trying to make a good impression. However, if they’re putting team members down, you need to talk to them.
- The Princess (not gender specific): They’re too good for a job. If you run a small business, it’s likely your employees wear a lot of hats. If that’s part of your culture, you need to ensure your new hire knows this. If they do and they still refuse to pitch in because it’s not their “job,” you need to redefine the idea of teamwork for them.
- The Fixer: Always taking care of things. The fixer swoops in time after time to fix every situation. At first, everyone is relieved. But in the end, they realize this person does it because they believe the rest of the team is inept.
- The “I Got This”: Never listens because they already know what to do. Some employees are willing to take on new tasks and that’s commendable. But you get into trouble when they fail to listen to the critical components of what is needed or what has been tried in the past. Eager is good but too eager can lead to a lot of wheel spinning and agitation.
- The Aggressive Networker: Always looking over your shoulder. If you’ve ever attended a networking event and run into the person who spends the entire conversation looking over your shoulder to see who else they can talk to, you’ve met this employee. This person is ambitious to a fault and is always looking for the next rung in the ladder. The problem is that they’re not paying attention to where their hand is currently positioned.
- The Problem Finder: Always a problem, never a solution. This employee can undermine morale faster than you can say “I have a problem.” They are the Eeyore of the office, always complaining and expecting the worst. Their negativity is contagious and if you don’t guide it towards finding solutions, you’ll go from a happy business to one plagued with “problems.” And that’s all anyone will be able to see.
- The Fossil: Everything’s set in stone. This is not a comment on the employee’s age. Someone fresh out of school can be a fossil too if they think there is only one way of doing something. This employee refuses to bend or try something and their refusal can make it impossible for your business to have any innovative ideas.
- The Shiny-Object Chaser: Innovation means everything. This sounds like a great idea at first and they’re hard to see in an interview because their innovative spirit is intoxicating. But some innovators just want to innovate for innovation’s sake. They like that i-word so much they don’t want to hear anything about success in the past. They want to change it all right away. They are caught up and blinded by every shiny object that makes it onto the Entrepreneur website. Help Shiny tie the innovation into business goals and you’ll be able to harness some of that creative energy for good.
It’s best not to hire these types of personalities but if you’ve already done so, you needn’t give them a pink slip today. Instead, look for ways to play up their strengths and manage them through their weaknesses in order to build a stronger team. If after working with them you realize they won’t change their ways, remove them quickly. Keeping them around can break a good team and devastate morale. As the old adage goes, hire slowly and fire quickly.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Writer’s Weekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.