Many people with a psychopathic personality disorder are not obviously anti-social. Some people with psychopathic personality disorder can pursue their agendas in contexts of social approval, or, even admiration, such as when a psychopath is employed as an intelligence agent. In this way, it has become possible for psychopaths to be publicly rewarded for their behavior.
While many run into trouble with authorities some effectively evade accountability for the damage they do to others. This damage will necessarily flow through to the organization and its work & goals.
Few human resource professionals are equipped to identify this type of person, restricted as they are to a limited range of personality character types to which to refer, and often, limited by empirical psychological pre-employment testing. Even worse, HR people and personnel consultants screen applicants by their resumes, before even meeting the candidate. Thus, they screen out good applicants with bad resumes, and screen in bad applicants with good resumes. This represents malpractice, and further, a breach of their duty to the employer, and to the company as a whole.
Executive Recruiting – Actually Reading the Candidate
Psychopaths are much more preoccupied with self-definition than with relationship. They enjoy duping others and subjecting them to manipulation. Psychopaths are competent impostors, and they may either be aggressive or passive-parasitic. Aggressive psychopaths tend to have identified with a violent or abusive caregiver. Because of this, they feel anxiety less frequently or less intensely than non-psychopathic people, and lack a moral center of gravity that, if it were present, would direct them toward socially valuable ends. This can be assessed at interview, but not by resume.
Psychopathic people may be charming and even charismatic, able to read the emotional states of others with great accuracy. They may be hyperacute to their surroundings, but their own emotional life tends to be impoverished. Their expressed affect cannot be trusted as it is directed at manipulative purposes. They lack the ability to describe their own emotional reactions with any depth or shades of nuance. They usually experience no remorse, reflecting a grave disorder of early attachment.
The psychopath does not respond to sympathy, but rather, reacts in preference to acts of power or to a powerful presence.
How Headhunters can Construct an Optimal Interview Process
An optimal interview process must include a methodology for identifying a candidate with psychopathic personality disorder. The psychopathic disorder can be summarized as follows:
- Contributing constitutional-maturational patterns: Possible aggressiveness, high threshold for emotional stimulation.
- Central tension/preoccupation: Manipulating/being manipulated.
- Central affects: Rage, envy.
- Characteristic pathogenic belief about self: I can make anything happen.
- Characteristic pathogenic belief about others: Everyone is selfish, manipulative, dishonorable.
- Central ways of defending: Reaching for omnipotent control.
- Subtypes: (a) passive/parasitic, (b) aggressive.
A Plan for Executive Recruiters to Uncover Psychopathology
The executive search consultant should construct a complex office environment, with hidden objects in the office, such as certain works of art, that only a psychopath would be sufficiently hyperacute to notice. The head hunter should cultivate a powerful presence. The interview should have a sufficiently significant component of emotional stimulation, so that if the candidate gets upset, he is probably not a psychopath.
A set of interview questions should be composed to test for psychopathic manipulation. The interviewer should check for rage and envy by painting strong word pictures and asking for a candidate response. Finally, the interview should cover evidence of perceived omnipotent thinking by careful analysis of the candidate’s articulation of past successes.
Retirement Fears Keep Employees in the Workforce
Samuel (not his real name) has been eligible to retire for three years and has planned for it, but keeps procrastinating. He has more than one million dollars in his employer’s stock plan and is debt free.
Though he longs to devote considerable time to hunting, riding his airboat, and pursuing other outdoor hobbies, his wife complains, “You’re just making our kids rich, when you and I should use that money to travel and do things we enjoy.”
“I’m scared that I’ll be bored,” says Samuel, “because I won’t have enough activities to fill my time. Also, I’m afraid that I’ll outlive my money.”
Auto salesman Harry (not his real name), who was retiring in eight days, learned during a test drive that his potential customer was retired. Harry abandoned efforts to make a sale in favor of questioning the retiree’s use of time, financial stability, and money-stretching tricks.
Samuel and Harry are somewhat typical members of a segment of the nation’s workforce who fear separating themselves from their work routines. Though retirement is a ticket to pursue other interests, enjoy leisure activities, or even build another career, fear prevents them from tossing the alarm clock.
“Apprehension about retiring is normal,” says Kevin Seibert, Managing Director of the International Foundation for Retirement Education (INFRE). The non-profit organization administers certification programs and trains retirement counselors and administrators to increase workers’ retirement readiness.
“Retirement can involve one third of your life,” says Seibert, who advises workers to plan for the event long before they are eligible to begin their new life phase.
Within five-ten years of your retirement date, you should prepare a financial plan and a non-financial plan, according to Seibert. List what you want from retirement, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
“Don’t think about just the money,” he says. “Your quantitative list will deal with your finances. You can meet these needs by making sure during your working years that you will have a lifetime income so you’re not relegated to eating cat food.
Seibert offers a caveat, however.
“You can do everything right,” he concedes, “but healthcare costs can wipe out everything. You can alleviate some of these fears by engaging a professional financial advisor to help you develop a retirement plan while you’re still working.”
Samuel engaged a planner because he and his wife both suffer serious medical problems and health insurance premiums will be costly once his employer’s contributions cease.
He is among nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) who reported in a recent survey that their biggest fear of retiring is not being able to pay healthcare costs. The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for financial services firm Edward Jones. Also, 19% of those surveyed worry they must work longer to supplement retirement savings to survive. Having to rely on others for support was cited by 19% of the respondents.
Interestingly, these figures are lower than those surveyed in 2006 (30% and 12%, respectively). No reason was given for the reduced figures this year.
Recognizing that retirement is a major lifestyle change is a first step in coping with retirement fears, according to Britain’s retirementexpert.co.uk. “As with any fear, the best way to deal with the issue is to address it and move through it,” the site advises. Financial fears can be addressed through prior financial planning, savings, and part-time employment.
How you use your time in retirement is important, says Seibert. “Retirement will be unsuccessful if you don’t know how to fill your time with meaningful activities. It’s important for your own health and outlook to define what retirement will mean to you.
“Social needs previously met by employment can be satisfied in retirement by welcoming new experiences, seeking out new friends, attending education classes, and traveling. Indulging in a hobby and learning new skills, volunteering for community activities, and participating in church and other groups can keep you socially connected,” he says.
Also, following Harry’s example of questioning other retirees can add to your arsenal of coping mechanisms.
For a successful retirement, Seibert and Britain’s retirementexpert.co.uk offer the following:
- Recognize that retirement is a major lifestyle change and worry is normal. Accept it and move on.
- Hire a professional financial planner prior to retirement and prepare a plan to provide sufficient income.
- Stay involved with social contacts; join a social network; participate in volunteer organizations. Be willing to try new activities.
- Stay physically fit and maintain an inquiring mind.
- Begin adjusting your work schedule and lifestyle prior to retirement to make a smooth transition.
- Discuss your fears openly with retired persons and learn from their experience.
With proper planning and a positive attitude, your retirement years can be the “Golden Years” you deserve.