Identify Top Performers Part 3: Work Ethic and Motivation

Identify Top Performers Part 3: Work Ethic and Motivation

As you sift through resumes and conduct interviews in search of the perfect candidate for your open position, you know that your windows of exposure will be limited, and your view of each candidate will be narrow and conditional. If you must extrapolate a complex long-term future relationship from a one-page resume or a 30-minute interview conversation, you’ll need to take a leap of faith. You’ll also have to recognize signs of potential, spot red flags, trust your instincts, and ask the right questions. So here are a few ways to use the limited tools available to assess one specific aspect of your candidate’s readiness: their motivation and work ethic.

Don’t waste time and breath.

Some traits can be assessed by just asking the candidate flat out for a self-description. For example, is your candidate introverted or extroverted? More of a leader or more of a follower? If they have to choose between quality work and meeting a deadline, which do they choose and why? But assessments of work ethic don’t work this way. There’s no need to ask your candidate “Are you a hard worker?” because first, there are no shared definitions for this term, and second, the answer will always be yes. Skip the empty chit-chat and get straight to numbers, narratives, and measurable metrics.

Ask for stories and numbers.

Ask your candidate about the hours and connectivity required by their previous jobs. In the past, have they worked an average of 20, 40, or 50 hours a week? For whom, on what, and why? Have they ever held a job in which they were required to stay connected and available 10 hours a day? How about 24 hours? Did they enjoy and embrace this routine or not? Recognize that wise, experienced candidates won’t eagerly reach for a 24/7 job if they’ve held one before and didn’t love it (most people don’t). By the same token, experienced candidates won’t grab for an utterly boring job if they’ve held one before and didn’t love it (most people don’t). Honest, experienced candidates will listen to your desired level of commitment and honestly assess its alignment with their own. Take their words at face value.

Which way do they lean?

Is your candidate here because they need a job, or are they here because they value the role of the company in the larger world, stands behind its contributions, cares about its success, respects its customers and its shareholders, and wants to proudly attach their name to yours? If they know nothing about the company at all, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. But their candidacy should fade next to that of an applicant who clearly respects the company, has done their research, has a personal relationship with your brand, and knows your products inside and out.

Work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale

For more on how to evaluate your candidate’s willingness to sacrifice time, mental energy, and emotional energy to ensure your company’s success, contact the team of recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.


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