How to Evaluate a Candidate’s Work Ethic

Finding someone with the right skills and personality is only half the battle. You have to look for other attributes, like work ethic. If a candidate isn’t hard-working, they’re not going to meet performance goals once they’re a part of your team.

However, work ethic is an intangible that can be hard to assess during the hiring process. How can you ensure you’re hiring someone who is focused, motivated, and driven to succeed? It’s a critical trait to look for since it impacts your company’s competitive edge and profitability. Here are some tips to keep in mind so evaluate it during the interview process:

Ask the right interview questions.

When you’re assessing work ethic, you need to go beyond the candidate’s skills and abilities and ask questions that get behind the candidate’s mask. This includes behavior-based questions, like “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond on the job.” Other questions to consider: “What’s your biggest long-term career goal? “What drives you to work hard?” and “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” These will help you dig deeper so you can understand what motivates a candidate and how hard they will work on the job.

Some additional examples to ask include:

  • How do you define work ethic?
  • What does hard work look like for you?
  • How do you prioritize your tasks?
  • When things are slow, or you’ve completed a task, what do you do?

Conduct reference checks.

Once you’ve found a strong candidate, it’s easy to skip this step. However, checking with three to five references will help to ensure they have the strong work ethic you need.

If you’re calling past managers, specifically ask about work ethic and whether they’d hire a particular candidate again. Also, ask about reliability, punctuality, and productivity. If you’re asking former colleagues, inquire about projects they collaborated on together and what it was like to work with the candidate.

Give them a homework assignment.

Provide a small project that’s related to the position you’re hiring for. The goal here is to see how they perform and ensure they follow through with the instructions you give them. This exercise can be especially helpful if you’re trying to decide between two equally strong candidates. Once they hand in the assignment, it might be crystal clear to you which has the stronger work ethic.

By following the tips above, you’ll be able to uncover the candidate with the strongest work ethic. The best ones will be able to provide real-world examples, offer references that sing their praises, and submit a work assignment that impresses you.

Do you need help hiring hard-working candidates?

Turn to Future Force. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Orlando, FL, we have a meticulous and proven process in place for sourcing and screening candidates. You’ll get the skilled, hard-working people you need, where and when you need them. Contact us today to learn more.

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