Why Job Interviews Are Bad At Screening For Jerks

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 7, 2016
Cofeee Throwing

The interview with the new job candidate went great, but within just a few months on the job, they start revealing a whole other side of themselves, one that may not necessarily be conducive to a harmonious office. Bluntly: they're a jerk. How did you miss this during the hiring process? An article in FastCompany says that the unfortunate truth is that, as they currently stand, the typical hiring process that many companies go through is not very good at determining character. 

Unstructured interviews, said FastCompany, has been shown by research to be little better than a random guess at determining whether or not someone is a jerk, while formal integrity tests aren't very reliable given that, ironically enough, it's easy for people to cheat on them. Character references, too, can be dicey because it's unlikely someone will provide a reference that says anything substantially negative about them. 

FastCompany suggests, first, making it clear that applicants will be evaluated as to whether they will have a positive impact on those within the organization. The article also suggests looking more for positive qualities, versus trying to screen out negative ones (this can put one in the situation of having to prove a negative), one of the most important of which, apparently, is humility. FastCompany also suggests that companies should look for personalities that are prone to feeling guilty, as these types tend to be better team players and require less oversight. 

Another way to hire better people is to have more structured interviews scored on subject matter expertise which reflects specific, desirable characteristics that would make them a good fit for their role, as well as the company as a whole. 

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