Never Hire a Honey Badger

Never Hire a Honey Badger

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A couple of years back, there was a phenomenal (and by phenomenal, I mean completely offensive, juvenile and NSFW) video about an animal called the honey badger, who just doesn’t care about anything (or in the words of the video, doesn’t give a s#!t).

1. Ask thoughtful questions

Before you jump in, ask questions that hone in on issues that are critical to you and your work style. Ask applicants to describe their nightmare employer or client. Ask them how many weekends they have worked in the past three years or what time they usually leave the office. Test them on the key skills that they say they have.

For example, whenever someone says he or she is proficient in Microsoft Excel, I ask the person to tell me how he or she would use certain basic formulas, which often leads to finding out that the individual has exaggerated his or her proficiency. You can even give them a take-home case study and see what kind of effort they put into it as a gauge of how much they care about their work.

Related: 6 Tips to Keep in Mind When Hiring Your First Employees

2. Try before you buy

Try one or several people simultaneously on a contractor or trial basis and have them compete for the full-time job or for you as a client. If the individual isn’t willing to put out a killer effort to land the opportunity, the chances are that he or she isn’t going to be on any better behaviour once the person starts working with you full-time.

3. Do a background check on social media

How does the person handle him or herself on social media? Does the person overshare? Does he or she ever speak negatively about a client, customer or their employer?

 

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Doing a Google search and peeking into Twitter, Facebook and their blog is a quick way to get a sense of how someone conducts themselves and whether they care about those that they work with.

4. Pay attention to their communication style

The way a prospective employee, service provider or partner communicates with you in an email or phone call is likely the way they communicate with everyone. If the way that they communicate or handle themselves is not how you want your brand handled, use that as a litmus test for honey-badgerdom.

I have made the mistake of overlooking emails and calls that were too gruff or more like a stream-of-consciousness only to find out that that’s the way that person behaved when representing my business.

Related: 4 Hiring Techniques Needed to Build a Stellar Team

5. Do detailed reference checks

Great resumes, testimonials or friendships shouldn’t supplant the need to do a few reference checks. Make sure to ask questions that get the person providing the reference talking and read between the lines on answers. Focus on the traits that are important to you.

Ask questions about the style of the person’s communication, if they are more of an attention to detail or visionary worker, or other questions that don’t require the person providing the reference to throw anyone under the bus, but will still key you in to their style.

6. Hire for values, not just skills

You can teach someone how to use a certain software program or train them on the best way to answer an email. You cannot teach someone to care. Be willing to look at great people with outstanding work ethics and who share your core values, even if they don’t have the perfect resume in terms of skills.

7. Listen to your gut

One of the most underrated mechanisms we have for avoiding issues is to listen to our own guts. If something seems off or if any red flag is raised, don’t brush it aside. If it doesn’t feel right to you, then wait for something – or someone – better to come along.

With some effort you can avoid working with individuals with poor, cavalier attitudes. While nobody may care about your business as much as you do, you still want to find people with a strong work ethic and desire to excel, instead of the common honey badger.

Related: 10 Steps for Hiring Your Next Rock Star

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Carol Roth
Carol Roth is an on-air contributor for CNBC, a “recovering” investment banker, entrepreneur and best-selling author. She makes people think, makes them laugh and makes them money, with her accomplishments ranging from her multimedia commentary to formerly sitting on the Board of Directors of a public company to advising on greater than $2 billion in capital raising, M&A, joint ventures and licensing transactions. Carol splits her time between her main residence in Chicago and New York City, and also has an action figure made in her own likeness.