Aug 16
feature -5 Ways to Avoid Hiring a Toxic Employee

5 Ways to Avoid Hiring a Toxic Employee

We’ve always talked about how to find (and retain) a rockstar employee. What company wouldn’t welcome such talent with open arms, right?

However, if you find it challenging to do that, there’s an alternative that can also do wonders for your organisation. That’s to avoid hiring toxic employees. 

Research shows that one toxic employee wipes out the gains from over two superstars. For instance, if a rockstar employee brings in about $5,000 of profit for the company annually, a toxic worker can easily cost you a whopping $12,000 a year. Yikes.

Hence, it’s important to weed out toxic candidates as early as possible. Here’s how: 

Be on the Lookout for Signs of Civility 

Be on the Lookout for Signs of Civility

Always interview for civility. Instead of solely focusing on their skills and qualifications, ask probing questions such as: 

  • What would you like to improve on as a person? 
  • How do you deal with stress or work conflict? 
  • Tell me about the kind of people you find most difficult to work with. 
  • What would your former employer say about you – positive and negative? 
  • Tell me about some instances demonstrating your ability to manage and supervise others. 

It also helps if you observe their behaviour during the interview as well.

  • Did they log in promptly for the interview? 
  • How do they view their former employers and/or subordinates? 
  • Do they acknowledge their own shortcomings? 
  • Are they prone to blaming others? 
  • Are they polite and respectful all throughout? 

More often than not, asking these questions will give you a better insight into who the candidate is as a person. And could save you considerable time and resources later on. 

Get Your Team Involved 

Get Your Team Involved

Ask the candidate to observe how your team works- and vice versa. This will give your team members the chance to get a feel of the candidate’s vibes. After all, they will be the ones who will work closely with the new hire. 

Conversely, it will also provide the candidate with an opportunity to understand what s/he’s potentially signing up for. 

And in the event that it doesn’t work out for either (or both) parties, well, at least it’ll be easier for everyone to get out unscathed. 

Reach Out to Their References 

Reach Out to Their References

The best way to suss out how a candidate performs is by checking in with those who have already worked with them. 

Ask their references questions about their experiences working with the applicant. What was it like working with him/her? What stood out the most about this person – whether it’s good or bad?

Understanding how the candidate worked with his/her previous company will help you assess whether they’ll perform well (or not) if they work with you. 

To make it easier for both parties, you can discuss your company’s core values with the references. This way, they can tell you whether or not the candidate matches the values that you’re looking for. 

Talk to Your Own Network 

Talk to Your Own Network

It’s likely that your candidate has worked with other organisations within your industry. This means that you probably have a common network. 

Hence, don’t just stick to the provided reference list. 

Reach out to your own network as well. This way, you can ensure an impartial and honest assessment. 

Moreover, don’t just talk to the managers. You can also talk to his/her previous colleagues and subordinates. 

Doing so will give you a broader perspective on the candidate’s accountability, work ethic, and productivity. 

Check Your Own Civility 

Check Your Own Civility

Lastly, treat candidates respectfully. 

It’s ironic to demand civility if you’re not modeling the same behaviour. Hence, demonstrate kindness and respect all throughout the interview and screening process. 

Remember, it always pays to be civil. 


Unsure about how to go through all these processes? Good thing we’ve got you covered! 

Remote Staff has been providing more than 3,000 Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs with highly-skilled remote workers from the Philippines since 2007! Aside from finding and hiring, we also actively take part in onboarding to ensure that everyone can focus on putting their best foot forward. 

Call us today or schedule a callback and let’s get started.

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