We’re all familiar with the employee who far too often criticizes other employees.
Here’s an example from Alice:
“You know, I’ve been wanting to tell you something about Mary but I’ve hesitated because I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining about her.”
“Oh, what’s up with Mary?”
“Well, she isn’t doing what she’s supposed to be doing. She spends a lot of time chatting with others and I think she’s doing other things on her computer besides work-related things.”
“Well, thanks for the heads up, Alice.”
Then, a few days later:
“I think I should also tell you Frank might be taking supplies home with him. I saw him put something in his pocket just before leaving the office.”
And a week doesn’t go by when Alice doesn’t point out something real or imagined that is not quite right with her co-workers.
One thing you do not hear from Alice is praise of her co-workers. She only passes on criticisms and complaints.
Let’s consider this in terms of hiring new staff. Is there a way you could find out if the prospect in front of you is given to this kind of complaining?
Here is one way you might approach this.
“Frank, your résumé indicates you worked for a dental practice for the past three years. What was it like working with the other staff there?”
Perhaps Frank asks for a bit of clarification.
“Well, how difficult was it to work with the other employees at the practice?”
Now, I realize the question is a bit loaded by asking “how difficult was it” but we’re hoping to elicit from Frank how he really felt about his co-workers. And asking him the question in this way could reveal considerable critical remarks.
If Frank thought highly of his fellow employees, the question would just bounce off of him and Frank will tell you how good it was working with them.
Either way, finding out ahead of time what a candidate thinks of their co-workers is a compelling insight into their potential behavior with your group.
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