Toxicity in the Workplace

Because the hiring process doesn’t always work out perfectly, you’re bound to have worked with a not so great employee during your career. The problem is that you might not have known how bad they were when they first started. But once you figured it out, well, you know how toxic a bad employee can be.  How did they even find their way onto your team in the first place? Or … how did they find their way into managing your team?  

So, what’s really the lesser of two evils: a toxic team member or toxic manager?  Is one even more toxic than the other? How does the impact of a low performing coworker differ from that of a pessimistic leader? And is there a way these sinking ships sail the office into success?


We’ve all worked with these coworkers before. They show up late, have bad attitudes, and are the first to bolt out the door. They can usually be spotted with a dark cloud looming over their head. These are the workers that complain about their workload or given tasks every chance they get. These employees don’t usually last very long on your team because their attitude is usually noticeable by supervisors. The difference between the employee and the manager is the exposure to toxicity. With a team member, you’ll probably have more day-to-day face time with them.

A bad employee is damaging to your company and atmosphere, but does is it hold a flame to a horrible boss?


There’s no getting around it, having a toxic person in a leadership role is damaging. This person typically has influence – not only over your team, but sometimes the entire company.  Besides affecting the atmosphere and culture of a team, a pessimistic leader can stand in the way of others growth, creativity, and even fracture communication. While an encouraging leader fosters growth, a horrible manager has a penchant for control; they would rather dictate rather than teach. Ultimately, if a person on a leadership team is toxic, it doesn’t take long for the company to suffer.

Two negative people, two very different roles. Both are equally wrong for the company but is one more damaging than the other?

The answer? Both are equally harmful!

A company trying to grow in success should have employees who believe in the same mission, regardless if they’re a low level employee or a top leader. When hiring a potential candidate, you have to keep in mind that they are going to be as much of an influence on the company as any other current member.

Careerplug launched our first free ebook on Building a Talent Magnet this year. It’s all about what helping our clients attract talent and build successful hiring processes, and how growing businesses can start to build their own Talent Magnet. Our ebook can help you filter through toxic members so that you won’t face current dilemmas. 

For more hiring tips follow us on Twitter @CareerPlug

Justin Zungia is CareerPlug’s Sales & Marketing Intern 

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Nicolle Gatlin

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Kacie Sommers

Creative Design Manager

Kacie was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology.

Kacie joined CareerPlug as an intern while still in college in 2012. Post-graduation, she joined the CareerPlug team full-time as a Talent Specialist on the Recruitment Services side of the business, eventually working her way up to be the Recruitment Services Manager. From there, she learned her passion for the internal processes of what makes the business tick and explored other roles at the company, including Internal Support, Implementation, and Quality Management, before eventually finding her home in Design. She is now building a Creative Design branch off of the Marketing team.

Outside of work, you can find Kacie walking her dogs Bixby & Bean along Buffalo Bayou, hanging out with friends (and their pets), and tending to her 40+ house plants.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Chris Igou

Vice President of Sales

Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Andrew Robinson III

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Natalie Morgan

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Ashley Johnson

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Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

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Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


Polly Schandorf

Engineering Manager

Joe Lepis

Engineering Manager

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.