Toxic, Psycho, Crazy. You know you’ve used these words to describe employees, colleagues and sometimes company executives! No matter the word, your best defense is to keep people with toxic tendencies from being hired into your company.
When you are a startup (1-10 employees) you’ll have chaotic times that destabilize your organization and you’ll need to hire people quickly. As you grow (35-95 employees) if you don’t have systems documented and in place you’ll struggle to grow. Key elements can keep you from making hiring mistakes.
Before you can keep out the toxic, psycho or crazy people, your hiring system must be in place with everyone trained and on-board to follow it.
We recommend this simple four-step process to weed out toxic hires:
Job Benchmark the position. I know you feel as if I’m a broken record once again mentioning, job benchmarks. The reality is, IF you have a job benchmark for the specific role(s) you are hiring, you’ll reduce turnover and quite possibly gain a blueprint for your company strategic goals.
Conducting Job Benchmarks is like building up your organizations core muscles. We all know that core muscles must be maintained. If the job changes or the organization changes in some way, you’ll need to re-evaluate your job benchmarks.
Behavioral Interviews. You must have a solid behavioral interview process in place to weed out individuals with toxic tendencies. This means being selective in WHO you have interview and having specific behavioral questions for specific positions. (If you had a job benchmark, you’ll have those questions) It also means that the individuals that are going to be conducting the interviews be trained in behavioral interviewing techniques. You cannot expect NOR do you want interviewers developing their own set of behavioral interview questions.
Note: only have people with good interviewing skills conduct interviews. When I worked for a large consulting firm we rolled out a program for behavioral interviewing. We trained all levels of consultants on how the behavioral interview process works, how to ask the open ended questions and deep dive to gather more information from the applicant. If someone has not demonstrated a skill, they will not have specific details on how they handled situations. Train your interviewers.
Use a validated pre-hire assessment. We recommend the TriMetrixHD which measures four sciences of the individual you want to hire. Behaviors (DISC), Driving Forces (Motivators), Competencies and Accumen. Validated means the assessment has undergone testing for validity which finds that there is a clear and demonstrable link between what the test measures and what the job requires.
Conduct background checks with supervisors and co-workers. If your applicant has nothing to hide they should have already given their references a heads up you’ll be calling. The applicant has already given you permission to call by signing the application. Don’t skip this step.
If you don’t want to lose good people and have your time and resources taken up by dealing with problem employees follow the four simple steps above or suffer the consequences – Your choice.