When you meet with a candidate, your goal is to determine if they are an ideal fit for the role. You’ll need to assess more than just their technical skills to figure out if they can excel in the position; you’ll need to evaluate their work ethic too.

Many skill-based questions don’t give you the ability to figure out whether a candidate has a strong work ethic. Luckily, there are other options that will provide you with a better idea. If you need to determine whether a job seeker has a great work ethic, here are five questions to ask.

1. Can you describe a time when you went the extra mile at work?

If a candidate is willing to go above and beyond what is expected, they likely have a strong work ethic. While what constitutes going “the extra mile” is somewhat subjective, how the interviewee responds will still give you insights into their personality, including what they believe qualifies as going above and beyond.

2. Can you describe a period when you had to juggle multiple critical assignments or work with conflicting priorities?

This question allows you to gauge a few things, including work ethic. A top candidate will be able to discuss points relating to their time management ability, communication skills, and ability to handle stress, all of which can give you an idea of how they function in the workplace.

3. Can you describe a time when you worked as part of a team on a challenging task or project?

Being a team player is important, but that allow doesn’t determine a candidate’s work ethic. By asking about a challenging project, you can see how they interacted with others while under pressure. If the experience was positive and their contributions substantial, their work ethic is likely fine. However, if they describe a negative experience, that could be a red flag.

4. If I asked your last boss about your work ethic, what do you think they would say?

This question allows for both self-reflection and viewing things from the perspective of another. While most candidates won’t berate themselves, their level of confidence in their response may be a clue as to whether they are being honest. Additionally, it gives you something you can ask their references about, allowing you to gauge whether they were being truthful.

5. When things are slow at work or you’ve finished your tasks, what do you do?

Nearly every job comes with some downtime, so asking how the candidate handles a slow period at work can give you insights into their work ethic. Diligent employees would usually speak with a manager to see if they can take on more or reach out to co-workers who may need help. Strong candidates will have an answer that suggests they are proactive when they complete their tasks, so anything that falls into that category should be seen as a good sign.

By asking the questions above, you can uncover candidates with a strong work ethic. If you would like to learn more about effective interviewing, the team at TempStaff can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our candidate screening expertise can benefit you.



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