Hiring the right people is never as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, the calm, intelligent, personable applicant sitting in that interview chair displays serial bully tendencies once they’ve been unleashed on your workforce – and before you know it, you’re losing talented staff, a climate of fear is spreading through the office and your productivity and profits are spiralling downward.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the risk of hiring a chronic bully:

  • Be able to recognise a bullying personality (anti-bullying training can help with this)
  • Be thorough and diligent with background checks
  • Ask previous employers about staff turnover rates during the applicant’s tenure
  • Find out if they’ve ever been subject to disciplinary action or had complaints made against them

Ask applicants questions that will help you determine whether their personal and professional values are a good fit for your organisational culture. Check their public social media feeds for personality/behavioural clues. Ask them about pranks they might have played on co-workers, about their weaknesses (bullies hate that question) and about team successes they’ve been a part of (bullies tend to focus only on their role). Ask them how they respond to criticism. Observe how well they listen (bullies are habitual interrupters) and look for non-verbal reactions to particularly challenging questions.

And then cross your fingers….

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.



+61 413 265 991


bullyology is a professional member of these associations: