6 Ways to Avoid Hiring a Bully

Sep 17, 2012

Bullying isn’t restricted to the playground, bullying can also happen in the workplace.

You can help ensure your employees are working in a safe environment by asking targeted questions during interviews, according to Phil LaDuke, who recently covered this topic for the Monster Thinking blog.

“Workplace bullying threatens worker safety by increasing stress and the related increased probability of dangerous mistakes, not to mention the threat of workplace violence,” he wrote.

LaDuke shared these six tips for weeding out potential bullies during the hiring process.

Ask if candidate has ever engaged in behavior that could constitute workplace bullying. “[S]imply asking the candidate and gauging his or her response a good recruiter may hear or see things that will tip him off,” he wrote.

Ask the candidate to tell you about a time where they played a practical joke on a co-worker. “Even candidates savvy enough to lie about accusations of out-and-out bullying will sometimes proudly recount their ‘funniest’ pranks and practical jokes to a skilled interviewer,” LaDuke wrote.

Listen for tips of an aggressive personality. “A skilled interviewer should listen to the language a candidate uses and ask him/herself if the language belies a predilection toward inappropriate aggressive behavior,” he wrote.

Be alert to nonverbal cues of aggression. “While there is no single nonverbal cue that would definitively identify a propensity for bullying, taken as a whole nonverbal cues can often send up warning signals,” LaDuke wrote.

Look for alignment with your organization’s values. “Bullying is an affirmation that the aggressor is more an accepted part than of the organization than the victim,” he wrote. “By making organizational fit a priority, a good recruiter can greatly reduce the risk of hiring someone likely to become a bully.”

Trust your instincts. “If a hunch tells you that something in the candidate’s demeanor, work history or answers to interview questions isn’t quite right, pass on the candidate,” LaDuke wrote.

To read the complete Monster Thinking article, click here.