The Worst Qualities You Can Hire For

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As an employer, it’s natural to look for the best qualities in your candidates. But what about the worst qualities? It can be equally, if not more, beneficial to understand non-desirable qualities in potential employees to gauge how your workplace could be impacted. Here are three of the worst qualities you can hire for and their positive counterparts:

1. Arrogance/Overconfidence 

While confidence is a great attribute for a job candidate to have, being too confident can pose some issues. If a candidate comes off as braggadocios when describing their past achievements, it may be challenging to introduce them to new ideas or practices. This, in turn, can be disruptive to your workforce. Let’s be honest, no one likes working with a know-it-all, so it’s best to not subject your employees to that sort of behavior.

Instead, look for humility. 

A candidate who can demonstrate their accomplishments in a respectful, humble manner is ideal. A quiet confidence is a better quality to look for when hiring new employees. “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” doesn’t just apply to foreign policy, after all.

2. Pessimism 

While honesty is paramount, the attitude with which it’s conveyed has two sides: optimistic and pessimistic. Attitude plays a huge role in work-place dynamics, so if your candidate seems to stray towards the more cynical or negative side of things, they may not be the best choice. Negativity is contagious! (I’m not just being cheesy here, negativity really does spread).

Instead, look for optimism.

A candidate who can be both straight-forward and positive can be a great influence on your existing workforce. Positivity is contagious too, and a study performed by Oxford University found that happy employees are 13% more productive in the workplace. It’s a win-win!

3. Exclusively Hard Skills

Things on paper often fail to translate perfectly to the real world. The same is true for resumes versus the actual candidate. While hard skills are a must have, they are not the only qualities to keep in mind. Soft skills play a huge role in the workplace, and Forbes claims that soft skills are harder to learn than hard skills. Of course, I am not suggesting that you hire whichever candidate seems the most personable; hard skills should still be a large part of your candidate search. But it is something to keep in mind during the hiring process.

Instead, look for a blend of hard and soft skills.

This is especially true for positions dealing directly with clients or customers, or team-based operations. A candidate with an adequate blend of both soft and hard skills will be the most beneficial hire for these types of roles. A resume can make a candidate appear to be the best option for your team, but an interview is where soft skills are best demonstrated. Hard skills can be learned and mastered through traditional training, while soft skills are much more difficult to instill.

The hiring process can be difficult: choosing the perfect candidate for your company or organization is a big responsibility, after all. Looking at the negative qualities of candidates in addition to the positive can go a long way in helping you make the best decision. 


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