Evaluating Work Ethic with These Telling Interview Questions

Posted March 24, 2020

From the production line worker up to the company president, the most significant predictor of success is a person's work ethic.

Because the most relevant experience and perfect skill set are useless if someone isn't willing to work hard, one of the main focuses of your candidate assessment process ought to be work ethic. Unfortunately, it isn't very easy to assess an applicant's work ethic based on their resume and cover letter. Therefore, you must evaluate work ethic in the interview stage of your hiring process, and a proven approach to doing that is to use behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interview questions are questions in which you ask about a candidate's past or layout a hypothetical situation Involving a specific quality that is being assessed. For instance, behavioral interview questions about leadership might involve asking a candidate about successful projects they have led in the past. A behavioral interview question on communication, for example, may layout a hypothetical situation where the candidate has to talk about writing an email to their boss about a significant mistake they have made.

Below is a shortlist of behavioral interview questions that can go a long way in determining if the candidate in front of you has a strong work ethic.

Can You Talk about a Situation from Your Past in Which Your Hard Work Led to a Major Achievement?

Every candidate should be prepared to talk about a time when they achieved success through hard work. If they can't, they haven't properly prepared, and that in and of itself should tell you something about your candidate's work ethic.

While you shouldn't discount an impressive story about something achieved through hard work, a candidate should ideally give an example of hard work that is relevant to the job they are seeking.

Can You Tell Me About a Time When You Were Asked to Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty?

It's a bit easier to work hard when you know there's a big payoff at the end of it, but sometimes we're asked to put in extra effort without the promise of any significant reward. When a candidate is a hard worker, she or he will have no problem putting in extra effort when asked.

When Was the Last Time You Had a Major Achievement Without Strong Supervision?

When your supervisor asks you to work a bit harder, and you do, that is hard work driven by external motivation. This behavioral question, on the other hand, gets to the heart of candidates' capacity for internal motivation.

If a candidate tells you they spent years working as a freelancer or owned a successful business for several years, you know this person has a strong sense of internal motivation and can be trusted to get things done while working independently.

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