Dealing With Narcissists – “Avoid Them” Using An Employment Test


Proverbs 22:3

The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.


Many of you reading this blog found it through a search for answers in dealing with a narcissist in your life.  You may be in your situation through no fault of your own (you were born to narcissistic parents), through poor relationship choices, or through being duped (deceived) by someone pretending to be something they were not.  Even while struggling in an existing situation, we should know that this will not be the only narcissist (one with insolent pride) you encounter.  More will come your way.

As we discussed here, one way to deal with Narcissists (= “proud, haughty, scoffer”, see here) is to avoid them altogether.  The N’s goal is to conceal themselves until they have wormed their way into your life.  But, as in one application of the principle in Proverbs 22:3, if you are prudent you will learn to recognize them, see the clues, and avoid them.

One area in which this is useful is hiring decisions.  The best way to deal with a narcissist in the workplace is to keep them from getting into your company or onto your team in the first place.

The problem with avoiding the hiring of a narcissist is that they are especially good at presenting themselves in the best light in an interviewing process.   And the interviewing process is typically brief enough that it is hard to sort out fact from fiction in such a short period of time.

I found a simple 10 question test to administer in order to quickly find out how “narcissistic” a prospective employee or team member may be.  You can find it here.  The test is not exhaustive or definitive, but it may give you some indication as to whether you have a potential narcissist on your hands.


You need to score the test yourself

  1. Put the number in each box
  2. Add up the total
  3. The “narcissism scale” runs from 10 to 50.  The closer to 50, the more narcissistic the candidate, the closer to 10, the less narcissistic the candidate.


I learned this lesson very painfully a few years back.  It was in an international setting, there was a major language barrier, and I was on my own for a couple months while other staff were out of the country doing other things.  I gave this test to a prospective hire, who scored very close to 50.  I should have heeded the warning and backed out of the business relationship, but felt that I was in too deep to do so.  I was wrong, and should have found a way to exit anyway.  The end result was major difficulty for him and for me.  For security reasons I really can’t share it, but it was bad.


I urge you, and urge myself, to continue to learn prudence in recognizing N’s and avoiding entanglement, when it is possible.



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