Employee
Traits That Will Disrupt Your Business


None of us is as smart as all of
us.

Watch out for employee traits that reflect poor team players.

Have you had poor team players as your employees? Pretty disruptive, aren’t they? Effective teamwork is essential for business success, especially small businesses.

So what are the traits of these bad apples, so you can avoid them before hiring them? And better yet how do you spot them in interviews?

Consider these 8 traits we have identified for our clients to address in their hiring process and some ideas how to test these traits:

Poor listening skills
Listening is the absolute base for most skills you are looking for. If you listen poorly, learning will take a big hit. If you don’t listen well, you won’t understand perspectives of all team members. To spot poor listeners tell a short story at beginning of an interview and then ask a subtle question around the story that
requires recall. Not an absolute test. But a good one.

Create a lack of trust

Your team must have faith in team member statements and the importance they put on trust. Are they honest?  This one is tougher to find in a short interview. Do your research on the potential hire and pick an obscure point from their background to see if they enhanced the facts by some probing in the interview.

Don’t share information
Openly sharing data, facts, and other types of information is essential to a well-functioning team. Doing it without requesting is also important. To test this trait, make up a simple scenario around the need to share and ask the candidate what they would do in this instance. Don’t make the sharing requirement obvious.

Easily disagree and continue to argue

It is certainly ok for people to disagree and even argue some. But then the argument must stop and staff learn how to reconcile conflict. A VERY difficult one to assess in an interview. Might be able to get references to comment on this one. If they comment neutral or negative, be leery!

Do not apply learning often

A poor team player often is that way because of poor learning from past experiences. This one is a good trait to examine in an interview by asking candidates to give a couple of examples of their day to day learning from experience. How they answer will also complement your evaluation of their honesty and trust.


Avoid risk taking and change

Here you want to evaluate the potential employee’s propensity for risk taking and change. The one adverse to change and risk taking tend NOT to fit in with “A” teams well. To evaluate, have them discuss change and risk taking in very open ended questioning. They are not, most likely, able to guess what the correct answers will be.

Don’t like to ask for help

Employees that don’t or won’t ask for help are not good at team interplay, as a general rule. Probe this trait by giving your candidate a question he will, in all likelihood will not be able to answer. If he admits he does not know the answer, ask him for his next move and see how long it takes him to say ask for help.

Me or I versus we or us

People who use I and me many times should raise many flags about their ability to be team (or we and us) oriented. To target these traits just pay close attention.

Have you found additional ways to identify poor team players during the hiring process? Please share one of these experiences with this community.

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