Finding the right people to hire is one of the bigger challenges for companies today. It is expensive and time-consuming, and the process makes it difficult to really get to know the candidates. Not to mention that high-quality hires are hard to come by.

When recruiting new employees, though, there are some personalities you can immediately cut from your applicant pool. This will make the decision easier and prevent potentially detrimental hires.

Here are six toxic types of people, specifically, to watch out for:

Crazy, nonstop intensity

Hiring someone who always has his or her foot on the gas can help to promote hard work within the office. That being said, such people are typically very competitive. They make the number of hours worked or the output a competition when it should be a team effort. It is great to have people who work hard and care a lot, but when they are too intense, I've found it can cause issues with company culture. There are entrepreneurial traits that every employee should have, but make sure new hires aren't too intense.

They might drive other employees away or create a competitive culture that is not conducive to collaboration. This intensity might also cause them to make choices that could put the company at risk. Intense people who prioritize being the best or making money will put the company's goals and well-being in the back seat.

In it for the wrong reasons

It is important to be on the lookout for the motives of job applicants. There are cases when someone might be trying to secure the job for the wrong reasons, but those reasons will not negatively affect the person's output. For example, take someone who is getting involved in sales in order to make a lot of money.

The person will not necessarily have a negative impact on the company since he or she is going to want to sell a lot. People who are taking a job to put it on their résumé, though, require more scrutiny.

These motivations are important because for someone to put forth sustained energy and output in a job, the person typically needs to have strong intrinsic motivation. People using external motivational factors could easily pick up their stuff and change jobs.

When looking at potential hires, consider the time and money spent on someone through the application and onboarding process. This can help frame how much value someone is going to bring to your company in comparison with the cost of investing in him or her.

Drama queen

There are people who cause drama and issues everywhere they go. They are often characterized by needing to know everything, getting involved in their peers' personal lives, and constantly seeking attention.

They create issues at work by drawing focus toward trivial matters and sometimes pitting co-workers against one another. They also do not typically give their full attention to the work at hand.

Instead, they are focused on drama and less important things. This lack of focus can drag other people down, and their tendencies toward drama can take even more focus away from tasks at hand.

Excuse maker

These people are a little harder to spot in the interview process. You have to ask questions about their previous job to find if they make excuses. I typically will ask questions about their old team and projects. There are some people who will always blame others when things go wrong. They are toxic at work because they never take responsibility or improve.

These people frequently do not take on projects themselves since failure would be entirely on them. Instead, they put themselves in situations where they will have someone to blame if needed.

In addition to a lack of super high-quality work, excuse makers do not use feedback to become better. They blame shortcomings on others instead of realizing their own flaws and working to improve them.

It is easier to point fingers than to look in the mirror at ourselves. This is a trait that many people have at least some of, but the ones who are always making excuses are not good hires.

Lack of critical thinking

A potential hire could be nice and sociable with a decent résumé, but if someone is lacking critical thinking skills the person is an immediate loss. To succeed in a job today, critical thinking is one of the most important traits.

Otherwise, tasks that might seem obvious to you will be a struggle for him or her. Being able to take data or a situation, put it through a critical-thinking filter, and come up with decisions is a must.

As machines become more intelligent and automation increases, one of our biggest differentiating factors (at least in the short term) is our critical-thinking ability. Hiring people who cannot come to decisions themselves will draw energy away from other tasks when they have to be offered guidance.


Selfish people do not make for very  effective employees. They think of themselves before the company or their co-workers. When hiring, try to ask questions around how the candidates feel when they have just finished a massive project. What do they do to celebrate? If it's about what they do alone (not with others), this can be a strong indicator of being selfish.

This can put your company at a real disadvantage. It means that in situations in which a selfish employee could benefit but the company would be put at risk, he or she will take the chance.