Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How To Screen Out The Sociopath Job Candidate

From:  Forbes 

Rob Asghar, Contributor

We’ve all seen organizations and empires collapse. Often, a sociopath or two is responsible.
I asked psychiatrist Martha Stout, author of the influential The Sociopath Next Door, how hiring managers and corporate boards can avoid unwittingly unleashing a sociopath within their organizations—especially at the senior levels.
“More and more businesspeople people are asking me about this,” she says.  “After all, having a sociopath can be expensive.” Indeed, they often aren’t extracted from an organization until they’ve caused permanent injury.
Stout was trained at the elite McLean Psychiatric Hospital and spent 25 years on the clinical faculty of Harvard Medical School, where she studied a variety of interactions among sociopaths and their victims.  She rattled the public conscience a few years ago with the publication of her book, which contended that as many as 1 in 25 persons in our society may be sociopaths, who ruthlessly pursue what they want, often at tremendous cost to the hapless souls who get in their way.
Defining terms isn’t easy, and definitions often aren’t precise or universally accepted by experts.  The terms sociopath and psychopath can be equivalent in many contexts, yet the latter has a Charles Manson connotation. As Stout says, sociopaths do not usually look like the deranged Manson—they look like the respectable rest of us. In fact, they have often developed charm and skills that allow them to hide in plain sight or even to thrill us on a grand stage.
The hallmark of sociopaths is that, though they can be charming and high-functioning, they lackempathy and conscience.  Still, they are often able to disguise their shortcoming from people who matter, such as direct superiors and corporate boards. (It’s usually people at their side or below them who end up trampled or mercilessly discarded.)  MORE

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