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Warning about 'successful' psychopaths

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016 Luke Costin

"Successful psychopaths" are hiding in the upper echelons of the corporate business sector, says an Australian researcher urging companies to begin psychologically screening job seekers.

Forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks on Tuesday said many businesses have their recruitment screening back-to-front by considering skills first and then the candidate's personality.

Mr Brooks and his research colleagues think they have the answer for concerned businesses after developing a personality screening tool to use during the recruitment process.

He said he hoped the personality test would "stop people sneaking through into positions in the business that can become very costly".

One study of corporate professionals in the supply chain management industry showed one in five had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits - a rate comparable to prison populations.

Successful psychopaths are insincere, egocentric, charming and lacking in empathy or remorse.

Most damaging for business, they are more prone to engage in unethical and illegal business practices.

"Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other," Mr Brooks said in a statement on Tuesday.

The researchers are in Melbourne to discuss the emergence of non-criminal psychopathy at the Australian Psychological Society Congress.

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