Effective Interviews Weed Out The Jerks

Barclays Bank Chief Executive, Bob Diamond, said that he has imposed a “no jerks” rule for the U.K. bank. In an interview with The Times newspaper of London, Mr. Diamond said the rule applies to bankers considered to be prima donnas, those that are too greedy and too ostentatious, or failures as team players. Mr. Diamond went on to tell The Times, “If someone can’t behave with their colleagues and can’t be part of the culture, it doesn’t matter how good they are at what they do, they have to be asked to leave”. Does this imply that Barclays was comfortable with arrogant, self-serving jerks in the employee ranks before? Hopefully, it does not.

Small businesses should not underestimate the disturbance and discord a jerk employee can cause. However, smaller organizations are more likely to quickly identify outliers and weed them out before causing any permanent damage. Why? Jerks cannot hide for long. But, how can small business owners prevent hiring a jerk in the first place?

An effective interviewing technique helps avoid the “bad hire”, but it is also often undervalued, overlooked or disregarded. The best techniques always start with PREPARATION; prepare for the interview by identifying 3 to 4 questions within the following key job dimensions:

  1. Teaming- Building win/win relationships with peers and others. Facilitating communication, conflict resolution, and group processing.
  2. Flexibility - Championing change efforts. Helping others to adjust to and implement change.
  3. Customer Satisfaction- Understanding customer needs. Generating enthusiasm for meeting customer needs and holding others accountable for meeting customer needs.
  4. Focus on Results- Monitoring performance against plan to ensure that commitments are met. Balancing the needs of profitability with customer satisfaction and employee needs.
  5. Interpersonal Skills- Able to use diplomacy in dealing with others. Able to effectively write and verbalize information in individual or group settings. Willingly cooperates and assists others.
  6. Problem Analysis / Solving & Decision-Making- Analyzing and solving problems and making sound decisions.
  7. Job Knowledge Aptitude- What technical or job-related skill sets does a candidate possess? How have they used them successfully in the past?

HRInsights recommends that you have your questions typed out on paper with space afforded for taking notes on the candidate’s responses. Furthermore, creating a permanent template with defined questions will facilitate cross-comparison of potential employees. Therefore, with just a small amount of preparation and diligence throughout, the interview process will lead to more correct evaluations of potential new employees. Weeding out the jerks will be a piece of cake, and will save the small business owner time, money, and many future headaches.


  1. Evelyn says:

    Great article!!

    Finally someone is taking off their rose colored glasses.
    Team spirit is a delicate as rice paper. Once wet or ripped it is damaged.

    I believe we spend so much time (which in a sense is money)on interviewing candidates to fill a vacant position and not focus on building a team.

    Jerks/bullies need not apply period

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