How to Avoid Hiring a Complainer

If you’ve been to Geno’s in Philadelphia, then you’ve seen people who know how to get things done. Once, while attending the National Speakers Association (NSA) Convention, a group of us (pictured above) took the Philly Cheesesteak Challenge. We compared Geno’s to Pat’s (competing restaurants across the street from each other on the south side of town).

The Geno’s line was long. However before we could complain, we had our food. “Be prepared and know how to order, because the service is fast and the line keeps moving,” Geno’s website reads. The no-nonsense service coupled with great food made for a fun experience.  No employee complained about the long line or how fast they were working on a hot summer evening. So…how do you avoid Complainers and hire employees who contribute and get the job done?

In Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers we asked human resource professionals to provide their best interview questions to determine who might be a chronic Complainer on the job. Feel free to download the entire report.

Here are the highlights of questions to ask during a job interview:

Questions about Working with Others

  • What would your supervisor say about your ability to work with others?
  • What qualities do you seek in your leaders/managers?
  • What would your previous bosses tell me about you?
  • What would your previous co-workers tell me about you?
  • What would your supervisor say about your response to supervision?
  • Describe what makes you successful on a team?
  • Do you enjoy working on teams? If so, why?

Use follow-up questions to determine if they were part of the problem-solving process or just complained about it.

Taking Responsibility for Failure or When Blamed

  • Tell me about three times when you failed.  How did it happen?  What did you do to correct it?  (Hopefully you’ll get past the one or two failures that people package to look good.)

  • What would you describe as your biggest failure?

  • Tell me about a time you were blamed for someone else’s work.

  • Tell me about a time when you failed and it wasn’t your fault.

Questions about Conflict and Conflict Resolution

  • Describe your temperament. (To dig further, consider giving yourself as an example. Ask, “If I upset or anger you, how would you handle the situation?”)

  • How do you handle a co-worker who will not do his/her share?

  • How did you handle a difficult co-worker or one you did not get along with? What would you change or do different if you were ever in the same situation?

  • How did you handle a supervisor you did not get along with?

Five Tips in Using Interview Questions

  1. Choose the questions that best fit you and your organization.

  2. Be consistent and ask similar questions when interviewing applicants or people who wish to transfer or seek a promotion.

  3. Pay attention. Realize in interviewing people that their thoughts tend to be shown in their words and behavior.

  4. Really listen to the answers especially if a response appears to be more ‘them versus me.’

  5. Don’t forget to observe the body language of candidates. If the body position or movement changes in responding to one question as opposed to others, you might want to delve further into the response.

Turning Complainers into Contributors and hiring the right people who get the job done without complaining leads to higher productivity and happier customers.

Journey On and No Complaints!

P.S. By the way, my Geno’s “steak with wiz” and “freedom fries” were delicious!