I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Carter Cast, the author behind The Right— and Wrong—Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade. Hiring success has a great influence on career success, and we discussed five negative archetypes that confront employers while filling a job opening. Together, Carter and I discovered some telltale signs that your interviewee may fall into one of these categories.
While it might seem like Captain Fantastic would be a vital part of your team, they often cause division. Someone who is a Captain Fantastic is usually overambitious and has no qualms about stepping on others to get ahead. If you’re interviewing a candidate and they mention that their greatest accomplishments revolve around beating others rather than delivering value or developing teams, you probably have a Captain Fantastic on your hands.
Have you ever worked with someone who thinks their way is the best and only way to do something? It’s very frustrating. While this type works well individually, this can be detrimental to a team environment. They usually claim to have no time or are too busy to accomplish their tasks. In reality, they may fail to hire and delegate properly. I’ve met with many people who fit this category and end up leaving their job due to burnout after taking on too much work.
Change is a necessity in the workplace, but sometimes people prefer to stick to their routine. To spot these people in interviews, listen to their stories and pay attention if they mention changes in the workplace and how they responded. If they stayed on the same path, that’s a red flag. I knew a manufacturing executive who failed to adapt to new technologies. This caused him to lose some of his biggest clients, and the business fell into a tailspin.
THE ONE-TRICK PONY
These people usually get stuck in a rut because they rely on their greatest strength to solve all problems. They will often aim for lateral moves rather than trying to broaden their horizons. I interviewed a one-trick pony recently who wrote amazing copy but struggled when meeting with clients face-to-face. His communication skills weren’t strong enough to work with clients or lead large teams. His career became stagnant even though he was eager to grow and move up.
Energetic employees improve morale and production in a workplace but sometimes lack the follow-through needed to complete projects. You can usually spot these people in interviews if you notice them avoiding your questions. They often come up with excuses for why they didn’t achieve results. Great ideas and strong morale do not make up for a lack of completion. With knowledge of these archetypes, you can avoid hiring the wrong candidate for your team and, instead, focus on finding the perfect fit.
Dr. Geoff Smart is chairman and founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm that exists to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. Dr. Smart and his firm have published multiple New York Times best sellers. He stays active in his community and has advised many government officials.