Do They Criticize Too Often and Too Easily?


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Let’s look at two different meanings for this word criticize:

  1. to express judgments about the good and bad qualities of something 
  2. to express your disapproval of someone or something, or to talk about their faults

The first definition brings to mind the art or movie critic. Most of us remember Roger Ebert who had a long career as a film critic. When he expressed judgments about the good or bad qualities of a movie. it could send a ton of folks to go see it or just the opposite.

The second definition of criticize is the one I’m referring to in this Hiring Tip:

to express your disapproval of someone or something, or to talk about their faults

Some people spend a good deal of time criticizing those around them. This person will often tell us “it’s for their own good” or “it’s constructive criticism.” They want you to believe they are doing you a favor by pointing out the faults of others.

In a number of instances, it would be good to find out if someone is doing something that needs to be corrected.

Here, however, I’m talking about the person who just criticizes too much. And the criticism is often over the top or unwarranted.

In my opinion, this person is more destructive than helpful to your workplace.

How do we discover this kind of person before we bring them on board?

Well, our employee testing service will help you spot this individual. One of the ten personality traits that we cover will let you know just how critical (or overly critical) your candidates are.

We might also get a clue or two in the hiring interview. Ask your candidate to name a couple of people—not family members—that they do not like. Now find out why they do not like these people.

The idea here is to see how easy it is for your candidate to criticize. Do they do it slowly and begrudgingly or is it very easy for them to tell you the faults of others.

I strongly recommend you use our testing service for this particular trait as this kind of person can cause considerable damage in your workplace. Either way, knowing more about this trait will help you elevate the productivity and overall tone of your scene.

To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.

If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.

Attitude Versus Skills, Revisited!


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An article by Mark Murphy, entitled Hiring for Attitude was a Q&A with Mark on the importance of attitude when considering new candidates.

I found the first question and answer particularly interesting:

Question: “We hear it a lot… company X did a great job hiring a highly skilled worker, only to later discover that the new hire was a terrible fit for the organization. Why do so many interviews fail to assess whether a candidate will be a good fit?”

Answer (from Mark Murphy): “When our research tracked 20,000 new hires, we found that 89% of the time new hires failed, it was for attitudinal reasons, not lack of skill. One of the reasons is that most organizations have no test by which to assess attitude, and many have no concrete idea of what the attitudes they should be hiring for even are. You can train for skills and technical competence; but you can’t train for ‘attitude.’ You have to interview and hire for attitude.”

I’d say that’s pretty powerful research. At least, in terms of the clarity it brings.

Essentially 9 out of 10 of those 20,000 new hires failed as a result of attitude, with the remainder failing due to lack of skill of some kind.

This research doesn’t surprise me. I’ve written hiring tips before on this subject.

What does this mean for your company?

Well, if you’ve been in business for awhile, you’ve likely established a “culture” in your workplace. There’s a certain way you and your staff go about doing things. I imagine there’s a certain tone or atmosphere that you promote. If this culture works for you, then hiring people who “fit” into that culture is a worthy objective.

To some degree you can test your candidates for this. Our personality test will provide you with definite clues as to how people act and interact in the workplace. Proper testing can help you weed out bad apples.

But, in the final analysis, I’m going to say your perceptions are accurate. If the person sitting across from you doesn’t appear to have the attitudes you’re looking for, or if you feel this person will not really fit into your culture, then so be it.

Don’t invalidate your perceptions.

Too often we see something we don’t like about a candidate and then we brush it off. We tell ourselves there’s so many other things we do like, we don’t let that one nagging thing get in the way.

And yes, we do need to carefully weigh the positives and the negatives of every candidate.

When it comes to attitude, though, let’s start giving it the weight it deserves.

To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.

If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.

Should I Use Employee Testing?


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There are many types of employee tests available:

— Personality Tests

— Intelligence Tests

— Aptitude Tests

There are also quite a few tests that measure workplace skills. A few examples would be typing skills, math skills, tests to measure how well someone uses Excel software, and so on.

Some of these tests are inexpensive and some cost quite a bit.

So how do you decide what would be good for you?

If you’re reading or listening to these tips, you probably know that they are provided by the Employee Testing Center. We have a very basic belief about hiring. We believe the more you KNOW about someone BEFORE you hire them, the better your hiring decision will be.

Our core service is employee testing. I cannot remember a client that we got started with who did not initially take a FREE test.

We want our clients to know precisely how accurate our test is. And, from our perspective, the best way to demonstrate that accuracy is to have the decision maker take the test.

So, in answer to the question, how should you decide what test would be good for your business, I strongly recommend you take the test yourself. It is either accurate or it’s not. There’s no room for sales gimmicks; there’s no way of fooling YOU.

To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.

If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.

Hiring and the Law —
Testing Just One or Two Staff?

Devora L. Lindeman, Esq., Partner at Greenwald Doherty LLP, is providing us with insight and information regarding the hiring process. Ms. Lindeman is a management-side employment lawyer and has exclusively represented managers and companies in federal and state agencies and courts with regard to their labor and employment needs for many years.

Questions addressed to Ms. Lindeman may be addressed in this column.

Hiring and the Law
By Devora L. Lindeman, Esq.*

Question:  Can an employer do personality or other similar testing on just 1 or 2 of his or her existing staff to find out about them without also testing the rest of the staff? Is this opening the door to potential legal action?

Answer:  The answer depends on why the employer wants to do the testing.  One of the main concerns with employee testing is to ensure that it is not done in a discriminatory manner.  If the employer appears to be singling out the women for testing, when not testing the men for example, or makes other divisions along lines that could be perceived as being discriminatory, the employer runs the risk of an employee claim that the action was, indeed, taken for discriminatory reasons. This is especially so if an employee suffers an adverse employment action as a result of the testing.

There may be times, however, where testing a few, but not all, of an employer’s current employees may be appropriate.  For example, if the employer is choosing between two candidates for a promotion it would be acceptable to test both of those candidates, but not test any of the other employees who are not promotion candidates.  This is a legitimate reason to test only those two employees and not the others.  The testing done may give the employer insight into which employee to promote.

Thus, whether it would be legally prudent to test just one or two employees depends on the reason the employer wants to “find out about them.”

As with all testing, however (including pre-employment testing) it is best not to use the test as a tie-breaker or definitive determining factor in making any employment decision.  Test results should be looked at as part of a package of information that an employer is considering.  While testing can provide good insights into candidates and employees, it is prudent to consider all the information to hand in these situations.  This is especially so where the testing results do not jive with what has been observed about the employee.  For example, if the test shows the person has a good communication level, but the person who interviewed clearly did not – don’t rely on the test alone.  Consider what you observed and remember that it is the person, themselves, who is answering the test questions and is answering as to how they perceive themselves.

If, on the other hand, an employer is considering doing testing because an employee is not performing well and the employer wants to “find out more about” the employee—that may not be an appropriate time for testing.  The test results won’t change the fact that the employee is performing poorly and may, more likely, lead to a legal claim by the employee that he or she was being singled out for some reason when being “subjected” to testing.

Accordingly, whether an employer can test some, but not all, employees really depends on the situation.

*Ms. Lindeman is a Partner at Greenwald Doherty LLP, a law firm that exclusively represents businesses in all aspects of labor and employment law.  These columns are intended to be general information regarding the topic discussed and are not to be considered legal advice regarding a specific situation. Contact a management-side employment attorney familiar with the law of your jurisdiction for specific advice.  Ms. Lindeman is admitted to practice law in NY and NJ and may be contacted at  She is under no obligation to respond to reader inquiries personally, but may answer general employment law questions through this column.

© 2011 Greenwald Doherty.  May not be reprinted without permission.

To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.

If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.

Don’t Hire “Bad Apples”

Don't Hire Bad Apples Image

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Every day, thousands of business owners interview people looking for a job. Some of these prospective staff look and sound great but a month or so down the road quit unexpectedly or compel the owner to fire them.

A good percentage of these ex-employees didn’t have the skills (or desire) to do the job asked of them. But some of them were “bad apples” and should have been avoided at all costs.

Before we go any further, we should define what a “bad apple” is. Here are some of the characteristics:

  1. They are skilled complainers. They complain often about work conditions. They may complain about their pay. They may complain about customers who require more care and attention than the average customer. Complaining comes easy.
  2. They may use gestures to complain. For example: The boss issues an order and, after the boss turns his back, they frown while making sure everyone sees that they’re unhappy with the boss.
  3. They create upsets amongst the staff. They will tell Mary that Sarah did such-and-such wrong. Often they will then go tell Sarah that Mary doesn’t really know how to do her job. They are very good at causing employees to be upset with each other AND they are able to pull off this feat without others knowing they did so. The word “covert” may have been coined with this “bad apple” in mind.
  4. They find reasons NOT to get something done. This is an area of high creativity.
  5. When criticizing others, they are quick to tell you how important it is to be honest. They may have invented the phrase: “constructive criticism”. But there is nothing constructive about this person’s motives. He smiles while holding a very sharp knife behind his back.
  6. They are also very skilled in getting employees to think less of the boss. They will usually avoid those employees who absolutely love the boss. They’ll go after the employees who are not yet really happy about being a part of the team. The image that comes to mind here is a lion attacking the weakest members of the herd. These “bad apples” can be quite skilled, yes, but if they can score a workplace upset quickly and easily, they’ll go for it. Courage is not one of their attributes.
  7. They will give you the impression they care about your business and that they are going the extra distance for you. They will appear happy when your business does well. Almost always, these are false impressions. They don’t really want others to succeed.

A business with even just one “bad apple” can be at a real disadvantage. The skilled ones cause a variety of problems, some of them obvious, some of them hidden. But the end result is always the same: lost revenue and a workplace that is increasingly unpleasant to be in.

So, how do you make sure you don’t hire a bad apple?

My best advice is to find out more about the people you hire BEFORE you hire them. Go to and watch a 3-minute video that explains how testing people first can make a huge difference in the quality of your staff. Below the video is a link to a free test being offered to business owners. There are NO strings attached to this offer. You take the test for free. If you’re impressed, we’ll tell you more about our testing service.

To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.

If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.

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