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What questions can you ask for a candidate to determine if they have either of these two negative traits:
- nitpicks the wrong things
- tries to show they are right a lot in front of other people?

We have had two people on in the group I am in hired after I was hired with these characteristics. One moved out of our group after 6 months, and then left the company a year later. Another one has been with us about a year. But several months ago, management decided that with the retirement of our boss, our group is closing down unless we relocate (I'm relocating, others are not). Had we been able to hire better, maybe they wouldn't have closed us down as one of them could have taken my boss's place. In the new location, they hired me a new boss and he's asked me to assist in interviewing candidates to replace my coworkers who wouldn't not relocate. Hence, Hence, thought I'd ask this question as I felt these two characteristics are negative traits I see in this field.

timrutter's picture

Maybe approach this one from a slightly different perspective Art?

First step I would suggest is to describe the behavior, even if it's just to yourself. Secondly, describe the behavior you want (probably the opposite) then construct your behavioral question around modelling the desirable rather than the undesirable.

Tim

williamelledgepe's picture

"Tell me about a time when you noticed a small, but important detail and had to bring it to the attention of your superiors.  What did you say?  What did you do?"

This is from the ICT (one of my favorite tools that just keeps on giving). 

You should be able to judge from an example if it was "too nit picky" for you. 

For the second you could try, "Tell me about a time you had to support a decision you did not agree with.  What did you do?  What was the eventual outcome?"  (Again from ICT.)

Neither of the questions goes right at the negative behavior you're looking for, but if they behaved properly on the positive side, you should be able to tell. 

timrutter's picture

That's a far better constructed answer than mine William. Thanks!

Tim