Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Tips for Using Video Interviewing to Avoid Hiring Bullies

Workplace bullying is a serious problem which can undermine not only your company culture, but also your workers’ productivity. No one likes to be bullied, whether it’s in the schoolyard or the boardroom. One of the best ways to avoid workplace bullying is to start right from the hiring process. Video interviewing can help you avoid extending a job offer to a future workplace bully.

Why is workplace bullying so harmful? After all, it sometimes can seem downright charming when Jim pulls pranks on stuffy coworker Dwight on NBC’s hit sitcom The Office. In reality though, most workplace bullying is much worse than putting a stapler in jello. This negative behavior can be pervasive and harmful. Worst of all, it can even escalate into forms of bullying more dangerous than hiding office supplies.

Unsurprisingly, this behavior can be extremely damaging to office morale. It’s not just the bullied employees who are affected either. A new study from the University of British Columbia shows bullying has a harmful effect on even those workers not being directly bullied. The study found that non-bullied workers had similarly high “turnover intentions.” With the cost of employee turnover sometimes totaling 150 percent of a worker’s annual salary, this is an outcome your company should seek to avoid.

Here are some ways to use video interviewing to avoid hiring bullies and keep your workspace a happier place:

Anger Management?
Confidence is one thing- aggressive behavior is another. It can sometimes be hard to tell a driven candidate from an aggressive one, but good hiring managers and recruiters can tell the difference. Look for telltale signs, including badmouthing former workplaces and coworkers. Whether your interview is live or a one way video interview, keep an eye out for subtle signs your candidate might have an angry personality.

Ask about former “pranks”
Most workers wouldn’t admit to bullying in a video interview. After all, they want to make a good impression on you and your company in order to secure the job. However, just because they won’t admit to bullying doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. Jim from The Office might not agree, but pranks are a stepping stone to bullying. In your video interview, ask your candidate about a prank they’ve played on a coworker. These pranks could tell you a lot about your worker’s personality, and their predilection for bullying behavior.

Watch the nonverbal cues
One of the benefits of online video interviewing is the ability to watch nonverbal cues earlier in the hiring process. Use this to your advantage when looking for potential bullies. If nonverbal cues are aggressive, angry or negative take note of these behaviors. Nonverbal cues can tell you a lot about a potential employee and it can certainly tell you about their attitude. Their words might be rehearsed, but it’s likely their nonverbal communication will give them away.

Funny or Mean?
As we all know, humor is relative. Using humor in an interview setting can often break the tension and let you know more about the candidate’s personality in a more relaxed setting. This is doubly true when it comes to bullying behavior. Often times, bullies will shield their harmful behavior behind the excuse that they are “just joking.” So pay attention to the jokes your candidate is making during your live video interview. If any of these jokes seem inappropriate, even borderline so, this candidate might be a bully in disguise.

Bullying in the workplace can cause your company to lose out on great employees and can foster an unhappy office environment. The best way to deal with bullies is to avoid hiring them in the first place. If you use video interviews carefully and watch behavior, you can skip dealing with these problem employees altogether.

What are some ways you use video interviewing to avoid hiring workplace bullies? Sound off in the comments!

SOURCE: NBC, The University of British Columbia (WSJ), William G. Bliss (The Adivsor)

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).


  • Great post! Today businesses are using video interviewing/conferencing for their employees to improve their services. Interview Transcripts along with audios are of great help for further discussion and analysis.