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How to avoid hiring psychopaths at work

Have you hired any psychopaths in your workplace recently?

The destructive and disruptive nature of counterproductive workplace behaviours means that your best bet is to avoid hiring a psychopath in the first place.

But what factors contribute to employees who behave badly at work, and what are the common signs of psychopaths in the workplace?

Learn how to spot their counterproductive work behaviours, which traits to look out for when hiring and create a safe, productive workplace for your organisation.

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A man in an office behaving badly towards another employee.
Step 1

Have you hired a psychopath lately? The hazards of counterproductive work behaviours.

Counterproductive work behaviours include both interpersonal actions and those that affect the organisation, and have significant implications for human well-being, productivity, and workplace culture. Workplaces have a responsibility to manage psychosocial risks and create safer workplaces by implementing effective recruitment practices to minimise the likelihood of negative behaviours.

The influence of nature vs nurture on bad workplace behaviours
Step 2

How nature and nurture shape bad workplace behaviours

How significant is genetics in shaping workplace behaviours, and what role do environment, values, skills, and experience play? Appreciating the relationship between these factors is essential for successful recruitment strategies, to thoroughly understand candidates and ensure effective hiring decisions.

A man admiring himself in the mirror exhibiting one of the Dark Triad non-standard psychopathic personalities.
Step 3

The dark triad of destructive workplace personalities

Within non-standard personalities, three key types exist: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism, forming the “Dark Triad.” Discover how to differentiate between these types and recognise their unique characteristics in various workplace situations and while recruiting.

Our brain and our intelligence affect negative work behaviours.
Step 4

Can intelligence predict negative workplace behaviours?

How significant is intelligence in influencing negative workplace behaviours? Intelligence encompasses numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning, termed “general capability.” Studies reveal a strong inverse correlation between IQ and the frequency of bullying, theft, lying, and other harmful actions at work.

A woman in a business suit showing key personality traits that predict negative work behaviours.
Step 5

Key personality traits associated with bad behaviours at work

The key predictor of negative workplace behaviours is integrity-modesty, also known as honesty-humility. Emotionality, agreeableness, conscientiousness and sociability also influence the likelihood of counterproductive work behaviours.

A pair of hands holding a red heart, representing personal values and counterproductive work behaviours.
Step 6

How personal values influence employees behaving badly

While values do matter and can evolve, they aren’t as reliable in predicting CWBs as intelligence or personality as many organisations and recruiters think. What exactly are values and what are they good for? Values excel at assessing “fit”. Will this individual align with the role, team, or organisation?

Research into counterproductive work behaviour prevalence and key drivers.
Step 7

What drives counterproductive workplace behaviours?

We surveyed 1248 individuals, examining the primary factors behind negative workplace behaviours, in order to rule out psychopaths before hiring them. Analysing data by gender and age, intriguing differences emerged, along with surprisingly high rates of many negative workplace behaviours.

A roomful of people discussing strategies to avoid hiring psychopaths.
Step 8

How to NOT hire a psychopath at work: Strategies and tips

How can you prevent hiring a psychopath and the challenges that come with realising you’ve recruited someone detrimental to your business? The optimal strategy to avoid hiring a psychopath is to quantify each of these aspects and aim for candidates scoring positively on most, if not all, of these vital criteria.

Ready to refine your HR strategy? Contact us now.

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