When You Hire Contrarians, Ask Yourself These Questions

Nine out of 10 employees let go from their jobs are let go for a single reason: attitude. No matter how good your work is, generally an office is concerned with culture fit and soft skills far more than it says upfront. For some workers, however, it's most important to be true to themselves no matter what. That can mean anything from speaking up when something goes wrong to refusing to file down rough edges from their personality.

A new op-ed at Inc. touts the benefits of hiring contrarians. It makes excellent points about why the "grumpy" job candidate might be more beneficial to the company than the "nice" one. For one, contrarians point out stagnation and troubleshoot processes. They can also rescue any group from its worst impulses, so long as they're principled themselves.

The advice is good, but in order to be fully effective, hiring managers and staff alike need to be aware of their own biases. When interviewing a candidate who is not a man, or who is not white, consider whether the qualities that make that person a "troublemaker" would look like leadership in someone else. Be sure to offer protections for employees who may have the same askew outlook on the world but who may be more vulnerable to retaliation.

Contrarians do have a valuable place at work and in society. If you're going to hire them for who they are, be clear that you'll truly treat them the same as everyone else.