I often see hiring managers and human resource departments focus on finding candidates who, on paper, possess the knowledge and skills required to operationally function in the position they are recruiting for. During the interview phase, they then seek to evaluate if an individual is passionate about their profession and enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the organization.

This process continues to evolve, and companies increasingly want a better understanding of what contributes to predicting performance in possible new hires. They want to better understand a candidate’s motivation, values, beliefs and goals in addition to their competencies. This allows the hiring organization to better assess whether there are personality characteristics and traits that, when pushed to extremes, will impede the individual’s ability to be effective in executing the responsibilities of the position.

In a July 2016 Career Intelligence column, I discussed the increased use of analytical assessment instruments and the greater emphasis on evaluating emotional intelligence of candidates. The list below expands on those topics by identifying specific personal characteristics that have the possibility to negatively impact or derail your security career when the behaviors are taken to extreme highs or lows. Individuals who fail as leaders often display one or more of these problematic tendencies that typically appear when the person is under stress.

  • Moody, easily irritated and hard to please. Deals with stress by quitting or ending relationships.
  • Consistently mistrusts others’ intentions. Regularly looks for or finds signs of mistreatment, then challenges or blames others when they perceive it has occurred.
  • Overly concerned about making mistakes or being embarrassed. Defensive and conservative when stressed.
  • Exhibits excessive independence, uncaring or aloofness and is uncomfortable with strangers. When stressed, becomes withdrawn and uncommunicative.
  • Works at their own pace to their own standards. Feels put upon when required to work with a sense of urgency or in a different manner.
  • Tends to over-evaluate their talents. Will not admit mistakes or take advice. Acts out by blustering and bluffing when under pressure.
  • Exhibits fear of taking risks, testing limits, making hasty decisions and not learning from experience. When confronted with mistakes, demands to move on to a different topic.
  • Expecting to be seen by others as talented and interesting while ignoring others’ requests and becoming very busy when under pressure.
  • Eccentric-acting and thinking in creative and sometimes unusual ways. Becomes unpredictable when stressed.
  • Having unrealistic high standards of performance for self and others. Meticulous, precise, picky, critical and stubborn when under pressure.
  • Desire to be seen as cordial, agreeable and eager to please. Reluctant and fearful to take independent action and conforms when under pressure.

Recruiting for leadership success is a complex process, and organizations are now more often seeking to identify future derailing tendencies to screen out candidates who will not be successful. It is critical to be aware of this during an interview process. Be cognizant of how these behaviors can negatively impact your ability to be successful in your security career. They will dilute your ability to influence, gain support and effectively execute on your accountabilities.