How To Spot Bad Apples

How do you figure out if an apparently great candidate is likely to lie, cheat or steal?

Personality Tests

Candidates are asked if the suffering of animals bothers them. A "No" is followed up with questions looking for histrionic and narcissistic tendencies that suggest a psychopathic personality.

Psychopaths are incapable of remorse, self-reflection and admitting mistakes. [Who would answer that question with a "No"?]

Special Interview Questions

Tests aren't enough to weed out the most likely to deceive. Interviewing is needed too. Here are some questions.

1. Are the rumours true?
Unless it's in a public criminal file, you can't ask someone if she has done something unethical and expect a straight answer. But if you ask for a response to high-quality hearsay about her it can be illuminating to watch her squirm.

2. Did you exaggerate your accomplishments?
A CFO candidate, asked if she had managed an IPO, might say she had. But an interviewer who is able to ask intelligent questions about the mechanics of the roadshow, could learn that she only had a supporting role.

3. Have you ever pulled a fast one or bent the rules?
Provoking candies into rationalizing, defending or gloating about successes will often lead to talk of borderline unethical behavior.

4. Which is more important, moral purity or success?
If you ask a candi directly what she's done when her ethics were challenged the answers can be telling. You see how she approaches values trade-offs.

Résumé Check Ups

1. When candies leave info off of their resumes, you have to use other background information they provide to track down the omissions. For instance, the years they were "self-employed consultants" might have been spent in prison.

2. Hiring companies have different levels of sensitivity when it comes to negative disclosures. Lying on a résumé or cheating on a spouse are not deal breakers for everybody.


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