Career Concepts

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Of all the qualities that employers look for in applicants, work ethic is probably the most important. The smartest, most charismatic and most honest worker is pretty much useless if he or she doesn’t have a strong work ethic.

Therefore, it’s essential for interviewers to gauge the work ethic of each applicant by asking questions that give insight into a candidate’s work ethic ask. Consider the following examples.

What was your first job and why did you take it?

The ‘first job’ you are asking about with this question might be a candidate’s first part-time job they took while still in high school, or it might be the first job they took to start off their career.

It doesn’t matter. Either way, the motivations they had for taking that job can tell you a lot about their work ethic. For instance, a candidate that took a job working long hours to gain experience or money probably has a strong work ethic.

Also, work ethic tends to stick with you from job to job. So, if a candidate was a hard worker during their first job, you can bet they’ll be a hard worker for your organization.

Give an example of a time when you had to juggle a lot of different responsibilities.

While this question asks about a candidate’s time management abilities, it also has a work ethic element to it, as takes hard work to handle “a lot” of responsibilities. Good candidates might talk about working full-time while attending school, or working two jobs at once to pay the bills.

Follow up on this questions by asking how this situation turned out and what the candidate should have done differently.

Talk about the last time you went above and beyond expectations.

Every employer wants to hire people who will go the extra mile, sometimes without even being asked. Hopefully, the people you interview can give a very recent example. If a candidate has to go back a few years, they probably don’t go ‘above and beyond’ very often.

Can you tell me about a time one of your good ideas was challenged by a colleague?

Defending ideas you are passionate about takes work. The best way to make the case for your idea and combat criticism is to conduct a lot of research. This question can also tell you something about how a candidate handles criticism.

Ideally, a candidate should be able to talk about how they fought for their idea by doing a lot of research and using their findings to make a strong case.

What happened the last time you had to work together with someone to achieve a specific goal?

Teamwork is a part of work ethic. You want to hire people that are going to pull their own weight and feel comfortable working with others, but not dominate collaborations by taking on too much work.

At Career Concepts, we help our clients find candidates with the specific qualities they are looking for and the general qualities common to all good employees. Please contact us today to find out how we can supplement your talent acquisition process.

 

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