Dealing with Four Tricky Employee Personalities

employeescreeningblog, pre employment screeningPeople come in all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. Some are easier to work with and manage than others. Personality quirks should not get in the way of hiring a new employee, but knowing how to deal with unusual personalities can save headaches later.

  1. The Toxic Worker: This category includes insensitive and bullying personalities. This employee can suck the life out of a work environment with petty comments, inappropriate behavior and rude actions. Keep your ears open to cues of such behavior in the job interview. If the employee only starts acting like a jerk after they’re hired, stay on top of it, issue warnings and if necessary, let them go sooner rather than later. Frame the discipline around the fact that he or she—not an “overly sensitive” group of co-workers—is the problem.
  2. The Gossip: Ignoring boundaries, this employee enjoys knowing what’s going on in every other staff member’s life—and repeating it to anyone who will listen. Gossipers can be destructive, contributing to an unpleasant or even hostile work environment. Encourage gossips to bring concerns about other employees directly to management.
  3. The Chronic Cell Phone User: Depending on your business, you may or not allow cell phone conversations or texting during work hours. But everyone knows a Chronic Cell Phone User, who ignores any rules and seems unaware of how often they text or how loud they talk. The problem is not only lost productivity, but sometimes co-workers will know more than they should about the employee’s personal life. Establishing rules such as no cell phone use except for break time can help. You might spot a Chronic Cell Phone User if their phone buzzes or actually rings during the interview. People who are aware of cell phone etiquette will always turn off the phone for something as important as a job interview.
  4. The Odorous One: Whether it’s perfume, cigarettes, bad breath or even alcohol exuding from their pores, a worker who smells offensive can distract or even sicken others. Many of these issues will be revealed during a job interview—but can you strike the applicant because of the way they smell? Chemical and cigarette insensitivity is a real issue in workplaces, and can even result in legal action. Protecting your staff from illness is an employer’s responsibility. But what about a worker’s private conduct, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol after work? Speaking directly to the employee is usually necessary, and framing the issue around a business problem—not a personal problem—is the way to go. Let the employee know how their behavior, whether it’s smoking, not bathing, or wearing too much perfume or after shave, is affecting their career, their fellow employees, and the business.

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