6 Traits to Avoid in Every New Hire

By Chelsea Babin

Whether you’ve recently moved into a leadership position and are a part of the hiring process for the first time or you’ve had a lot of input in the hiring process in the past but want to improve your ability to spot the right candidate, you should look for these 6 traits in every new hire. Why? Because they identify candidates you definitely don’t want to hire, under any circumstances.

1. The Curmudgeon: Some people always look on the bright side of life and the curmudgeon does the exact opposite. Like a person who is drifting through the world with a rain cloud permanently affixed to the space above their head, these true pessimists will bring a dour, sour mood to your office that can’t be easily covered, no matter how optimistic the rest of your employees are.

2. The Person That Doesn’t Play Well With Others: Even if you don’t have a team environment and this position never interacts directly with clients or customers, it’s never a good idea to hire the person who doesn’t play well with others. These people will often slack in meeting deadlines or criticize your company’s game plan without offering any solutions. And, if they are in a collaborative role, they’ll be a nightmare for the rest of your team to work with and drive away your best talent.

3. Unable to Take Feedback: Although this can be hard to spot during the interview process without assigning a project, offering feedback, and then asking them to revise their original submission, you should do your best to avoid the person who is unable to take feedback. Feedback is essential for growth and, while you can train less experienced new hires on the ins and outs of the position, you can’t hope to effectively train or help a person who is unable to take feedback improve their work performance.

4. The Person Who Lacks Goals: Goals and plans can change along the way but, the person without any goals is the person you want to avoid hiring. Why? Because the person who lacks goals doesn’t know what they want their future to look like. They haven’t done enough self evaluation and self reflection to know themselves well enough to create professional goals, which probably means they aren’t ready to commit to any specific new job or new company. If you want to avoid a high turnover rate, avoid hiring the person who lacks goals.

5. Disrespectful: Whether it’s openly complaining about their old boss during the interview process or making fun of the company they used to work for, disrespectful people often out themselves in the interview process and you should not hire them. While they may end up loving their new boss or their new organization, that love could fade somewhere down the line and you can bet they will be equally disrespectful about your company and employees in the near future. This lack of respect often stems from an inability to acknowledge the role they play in mistakes or errors, which is also why it’s such a negative trait for a new hire to have.

6. The One Who Agrees Too Much and Too Easily: If you value independent thinkers and people who are able to actually contribute unique, thoughtful ideas, hiring the one who agrees too much and too easily can be the kiss of death. Otherwise known as a “Yes Man”, this is the kind of person who will easily and eagerly change their answer to a question so it matches yours, or matches one that they think you might agree with. While this person will never start any fights with your team, they aren’t a true collaborator because they aren’t contributing anything of their own so much as piggybacking on the value that others bring.

Now that you know the 6 traits you should avoid in every new hire, you can come up with a line of questioning that helps you identify these traits before it’s too late. Keeping people with these 6 traits off of your team and out of your company will help you build a more cohesive, happy, successful organization.