Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Before You Hire: 7 Personalities that Are Bad for Business

Before you spend time, money and resources on new hires, shouldn’t you know what type of person you’re investing in? After all, just one person can make or break your small business.

Last week, TIME revealed the seven working personalities that you should fire now. But let’s take it a step further and identify these problem personalities before they’re costing your small business in time, customers and performance. If you know what type of person to look for through the hiring process, you can avoid making hiring mistakes that could cost your business.

They Overpromise and Underdeliver

Of all of the personalities, this one is perhaps the easiest to spot. Does their resume match up with what they’re saying in the interview? Do some of their answers sound a little too good to be true? The overpromiser needs to be probed. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. If the candidate is being truthful, they’ll be able to back up their answers.

They Don’t Work Well with Customers

The type of interviewee that doesn’t understand the old adage that the customer is always right will make it perfectly clear in the interview. Ask them about a conflict they’ve had when dealing with customers in the past, and brace yourself. If they’ve had bad experiences, they’ll be sure to tell you — and they’ll be sure to lay all of the blame on the customer. Regardless of who is right in that scenario, you want employees who are good for your business, and therefore, good with customers.

Entitled to Everything

You’ll be able to glean entitlement from your previous question. Are they entitled to always be in the right? If so, you can bet they’re the type of employee to think they’re entitled to more responsibility, higher pay and eventually, someone else’s job. Though an interview requires job candidates to brag about themselves, there is room for humility in how they answer.

They Can’t Perform

Don’t just assume they left every job on their resume of their own accord. Ask about each position, why they left and how they left. Follow up with their references by asking the same questions. A job candidate may not come right out and say there was tension at their old job or that they were fired.

They’re Not Dependable

This is one of those character flaws that isn’t easy to pick up during the interview. That’s why you need to turn to their references. Were they trustworthy? Would previous employees describe them as a team player?

The Rule Breaker, The Troublemaker

These last two personalities can pretty well be summed up together. Either way, this type of personality can make working at your small business a disaster. This is another instance in which you’ll have to depend on references for answers. Did they ever have instances where they had trouble with authority? Were the risks they took reckless?

If a new hire falls through these cracks and quickly spells trouble, it’s best to just nip the problem in the bud. Don’t spend more time and money hoping they’ll eventually be good for your small business. It’s best to eliminate the problem before they hurt more than they help.

Have you encountered any of these personalities during your hiring? Tell us about the experience below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Luz Adriana Villa A.

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.


  • Hey Kathryn!

    Great post. We’ve had hit and miss success when hiring until recently. We now have our interviewees sit down and work while we watch them.

    It’s a great way to cut through the interview fluff, get to know them and see where their real skill set and personality sits.

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks for commenting, Eddy. It’s always great to hear a personal story, we don’t hear them enough! That interview fluff can be tricky, can’t it? Glad you made a change though.

Weekly hiring insights to your inbox! 🔥