How to Spot Bad Employees Before Hiring

There are both overt and covert costs to hiring a bad employee. Overtly, there’s the cost to recruit, interview, hire, and train a replacement. There are also hidden costs involved in fixing mistakes of a poor performing employee or double checking his work. There’s also damage to employee morale when other workers are affected by a poor performer, particularly when team goals are involved. Bad employees can also damage your company’s reputation, especially if they are in a customer service role.

So, how can you spot a bad employee before hiring? Here are five ways.

1) Always check references. While it is tempting to neglect this step — especially if you needed to fill the position yesterday — filling a position with the wrong employee can be costly. A quick call to a former employer can shed insightful light on a prospective job candidate, both positive and negative.

2) Conduct background checks.
This step is particularly critical if the job position requires handling money, working with children, or any other sensitive area where harm or loss can occur.

3) Dig deep in the interview.
Don’t be shy about asking the tough questions. Job candidates often have typical interview questions rehearsed. To unveil more in-depth information and more dimensions about the applicant’s personality and characteristics, follow up on applicant responses with “Why do you say that?”, and “Why?” During the interview, look beyond skills, qualifications, and experience to behavioral characteristics.

4) Love them, don’t like them. Don’t lower your standards just because you’re in dire straits to a fill a position.  If you like a candidate, but don’t “love” him, rethink hiring him. Even if you are short-staffed, it will benefit you, your staff, and your company in the long run if you hire the right person for the job.

5) Listen to your gut. Last, but not listen, if you have a reservation about a candidate, trust your gut. Chances are your instincts are correct, so don’t discount them.

While there are no guarantees that the applicant you hire will be the dream employee, by following the above steps to spot a bad employee before hiring, you’ll have a better chance of hiring the super star.