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In the book Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, there’s a rundown of Marshall Goldsmith’s “behavioral warning signs.” Things to look for in interviews that should put you on alert. It’s a good list. Marshall Goldsmith wrote the influential book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, and is considered the preeminent expert in all things leadership development.
Winning too much. “I would look out for people in the hiring process who boast about winning battles that do not matter that much.”
Adding too much value. “If you are talking and you throw out an idea, does the candidate try to add too many of his ideas to yours? If so, it implies that your idea was not sufficiently good on its own. It is a small indicator of ego gone awry.”
Starting a sentence with ‘no’, ‘but’ or however. “‘Yes, that is a great idea’ is the right answer. ‘No, I agree with you but’ is the symptom of somebody with an overactive ego who might be challenging to work with.
Telling the world how smart we are. “The unhealthy display is taking excessive credit, especially for a leadership role. For the leader, being all about ‘me’ is bad.”
Making destructive comments. “Making destructive comments about previous colleagues is a huge red flag. Because once this person works for you, he or she will make the same needless sarcastic comments about you!”
Passing the buck. “Blaming is always bad. Winners don’t blame.”
Making excuses. “Ask people what their challenges were. If they say that their biggest challenges were not their fault but other people’s fault, that shows they do not take responsibility for their performance.”
The excessive need to ‘be me.’ “Listen for comments like ‘That’s just me, I’m not organized.’ ‘That’s just me, I’m impatient.’ ‘That’s just me, I don’t include other people in decisions. That’s just the way I am.’ Beware. Somebody who has an excessive need to ‘be me’ is telling you that they are not open to adapt their style to fit your culture or your company should not be hired.
If you’re noticing one or more of these consistently, beware!