Procurement · 21 March 2018

Are these the worst employee personalities to have in your workplace?

A creative approach to recruitment can help tease out unwanted personality traits

At a small business, clashes in personality are likely to arise quickly with the potential to deal fatal blows to office morale. So what kind of traits should you try and avoid?

Experts at furniture supplier Kit Out My Office have brought together the five worst employee personalities bosses might encounter at their company, while a handful of small business and recruiters offer their tips for identifying poor traits before it is too late.

Topping the table was the office “bro” – performative lads who enjoy taking banter to new extremes. Such characters might look the part on their CV, but once inside a company could spend too much time trying to impress colleagues without focusing on their real responsibilities.

Bros are also likely to influence like-minded peers, and may cause further disruption trying to out-perform one another.

Meanwhile, hot-headed workers and those with a selfish streak were among other personalities preventing teams at small companies realising their potential. Dishonesty was another trait employers didn’t want to see, while bullying of colleagues left a nasty taste.

To help employers weed out candidates susceptible to this kind of behaviour, Ed Challinor, first officer at dental surgery Smileworks Liverpool, explained a useful interview technique.

“We try to get people to mirror our behaviour by being slightly inappropriate or swearing to see if they take the bait. If they do, it’s a no unfortunately,” he said.

“We don’t want chameleons who copy, we want people who have their own values and will stick to them”.

The five worst employee personality traits

  1. Bro
  2. Hot-Headed
  3. Self-Centred
  4. Dishonest
  5. Bully

On the flip-side, there were a handful of traits considered most desirable in a staff member. Typically, employers benefitted from trustworthy, positive workers who demonstrated loyalty to the company.

Five worst employee personality traits

  1. Trustworthy
  2. Optimistic
  3. Calm
  4. Supportive
  5. Loyal

Offering some general recruitment hacks, Jo Sellick, managing director of Sellick Partnership, said it was often easy to spot early signs of incompatible personality traits.

“In my experience, employers will disregard any candidates that do not follow instructions during their application process,” he said.

“If the job seeker fails to follow simple instructions, such as a tailored covering letter, their application may never reach the people with the power to hire.”

What makes the perfect colleague? UK workers reveal their top traits

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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