7 Interview Questions to Filter Out Toxic Employee

Maria Onzain
Content Marketing Freelance and writer
Open Colleges
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We all like working in a friendly and encouraging environment, where managers are supportive, and employees enjoy the job they do. When you work with the people you want, daily tasks often seem to be more enjoyable, time goes faster and results shine.

Making sure that everyone in the office is a good fit and that all members of the team work well together is an essential job that starts from the hiring process. Selecting and hiring the right candidates can help avoid undesirable situations where employees have to deal with difficult people at work.

During the interview, managers have an excellent opportunity to identify candidates who may obstruct the work of the rest of the team. These 5 interview questions will help hiring professionals filter out potential toxic employees:

1. What did you like the most about your previous job?

This question will help managers understand the candidate's priorities. If they focus on work-related aspects, that’s a good sign. But if they give more importance to superficial elements, such as vacations, free food, or other perks, they are not engaged enough to do their best work.

2. Tell me about your biggest success.

The responses to this query will not only give managers information about what the candidate can do, but it will also open the door to understanding the aspirant's personality.

Candidates who claim all the merit and do not mention their co-workers' contributions, are probably not very good team players. Instead, look for those who are excited about their accomplishments but are not absorbed in how it benefits them.  Those with a more generic view about how the achievement impacts the team, the workplace or the overall company will be more appropriate contenders.

3. And your biggest failure?

Although similar to the previous request, the answer to this question will give managers a clue about the candidate's ability to learn from his or her own mistakes. Failing is not an issue. The problem is when aspirants don't learn from it, so they can easily end up falling into the same trap twice. Toxic candidates won't recognise their mistakes or won't talk about what they learned from it. And working in a team, they won't accept corrections, advice, or constructive criticism.

4. What skill are you missing?

Toxic contestants think they know it all and they don't need to learn anything new. That's a clear sign of arrogance, a terrible quality for a team member. Hiding weaknesses or ignoring one has them is typical of toxic people. On the other hand, the right candidate will have a genuine interest to learn new skills, even if they are not directly related to the job.

5. How do you deal with stress?

A candidate who doesn't recognise to have stress is not aware of his or her own mood or emotions. We all suffer from stress at some point or another and knowing how to deal with these difficult situations will be critical to work at ease with other members of the team, especially when under pressure. Go for those aspirants who use techniques to fight stress, such as embracing physical exercise or simply going for a walk in the fresh air to help reconnect.

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years from now?

The answer to this classic interview question will tell recruiters more than the candidate's plans and intentions to work for the company. Individuals with clear ideas will be able to tell an interviewer where they want to be within a decade. And the best answer doesn't need to be 'working for this company' or in a specific position, but reflect a strong conviction and determination to get where he or she wants to be.

Aspirants with unclear goals can feel unmotivated more easily. And this situation can lead to mediocre work, affecting other colleagues around them, the work atmosphere, and the company overall.

7. Why do you want to work here?

This question will give you an idea of how much the candidate knows about your business. The best aspirants take time before the interview to learn about the company, its clients, and members of the staff. Candidates who have done their homework show an interest in the company's culture, values, and philosophy. Bad contestants will only focus on what the company can do for them.

Overall, spotting toxic people should be done sooner rather than later, with the intention to elude internal discussions and bitter situations in the workplace.

By identifying toxic individuals during the first stages of the hiring process, this ensures companies only have employees who fit in with the company's culture. As a consequence, these employees will be happier, work better together and be more productive, which will ultimately help improve a business’s bottom-line.

Recruiters can follow these simple tips and design some of their own interview questions that help to read between the lines and anticipate certain characteristics of the candidate's personality.

About Maria Onzain

Maria Onzain

Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert writing about career, education, startups and productivity.

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