When applying for a job, some applicants will be a good fit and some won’t. It is a hiring manager’s job to weed out the best candidates with as much evidence as they can find – sometimes from hundreds of applications.

Often, a candidate’s resume doesn’t paint a full picture. For instance, an applicant with a resume showcasing a long list of technical skills and solid job history may lack communication skills, openness to change, or the ability to take a task to completion.

How to Find the Bad Apples

It would be hard to find a company without at least one problem employee. As the saying goes, there’s a bad apple in every bunch. However, there’s big a difference between a mediocre employee and an outright poor performer.

To discover more about a candidate before a bad hire is made, companies frequently evaluate personality traits. Pre-employment testing for personality traits as they apply to the workplace is reliable, but it is useful to gather other evidence as well.

Below are 5 ways for Hiring Managers to gather more evidence and spot a bad hire before it happens.

Technique #1: Don’t just ask for references – check them.

Gathering references is standard procedure for most companies, and many candidates supply this information up front. However, in some cases, an applicant can be so charming and convincing that hiring managers skip over actually calling the references and discussing the candidate. Always check the references of potential employees.

Technique #2: Include Others in the Decision

It is natural for a hiring manager to think they know best when it comes to hiring a candidate. Unfortunately, when relying on a single viewpoint it is easy to make hasty decisions or overlook hints something is wrong, which may be obvious to someone else. Some hiring managers include an entire team in the interview process to gain different perspectives and help measure whether the candidate is a good fit.

Technique #3: Ask Tough Questions

Hiring managers should not be afraid to dig deep during an interview to get to know candidates. They should follow up candidates’ answers with questions such as, ‘Why?’ or ‘What makes you say that?’. This forces spontaneous answers and helps hiring managers see a different side of the candidate.

Technique #4: Be Alert for Vague Responses

Ask candidates for specific examples of instances where the applicants took the lead. Be aware that interviews are so cut-and-dried these days that applicants often provide generic answers to questions. To prevent this and assess a candidate’s fit for the job, ask specific questions.

Technique #5: Review Social Media Profiles

Candidates often reveal details about their personality and temperament in their social media posts and activities. Professional social media sites such as Linkedin and personal/professional sites such as Twitter and Facebook are good places to check, as are blogs and industry articles a candidate might pen. These online venues can reveal inaccuracies in resumes and interview question responses as well.


Pre-employment online testing will help hiring managers bring the right candidates in for interviews, but once the candidate is in the interview chair, managers must use a combination of solid, effective approaches to arrive at the right person to hire.