5 Interview Questions that Reveal a Strong Work Ethic

No matter how technically skilled someone is, no matter how well they communicate with others, they won’t get very far in their career without a strong work ethic.

People with a strong work ethic can be counted on to show up to work on time. They have a track record of going the extra step to get results. They almost always meet deadlines. They are a reliable team member, but can also be counted on when working by themselves.

Consider the following questions to undercover candidates you can count on to get the job done.

“What was your first paying job?”

A person’s first job can tell you a lot about their work ethic. People with a strong work ethic aren’t scared off by the prospect of hard work or long hours. On the other hand, those with a poor work ethic might look for the most comfortable way possible to earn a buck.

When asking this question, it’s important to remember that mental work, like customer service, can be just as demanding as physical work. This distinction is important because you want to avoid eliminating people with physical conditions who cannot stand for long periods or lift heavy objects.

“Talk about a time you went far beyond your normal job duties.”

Employees who go the extra mile don’t just stay late or pick up extra work, they are also more likely to innovate and develop process improvements.

This question gives each candidate the opportunity to impress you with an example of when he or she went above and beyond the call of duty. Candidates that fumble over their answer or give an underwhelming answer can probably be eliminated from consideration. You can also use this response to compare and contrast candidates’ anecdotal work ethic.

“Describe the last time you had to fight for an idea.”

People with a strong work ethic aren’t easily deterred by naysayers or a lack or moral support from others. They tend to plow ahead with ideas they believe in or try to find ways to get others to buy into their way of thinking.

Obviously, you don’t want to highly rate candidates who fought for ideas that are dangerous, illegal or that go against the core principles of your company.

“How are you are juggling multiple responsibilities?”

A good work ethic isn’t just blindly working as hard as you can; it should also include working smartly. Time management and productivity as key components to a strong work ethic and good answers to this question might describe innovative productivity solutions or strategic organizational systems meant to handle multiple job duties at once.

“What role did you play in the last successful team you were a part of?”

In team settings, people are good at knowing their role and leveraging their individual strengths to achieve success in that role. Sometimes, that role might be taking the lead and other times it might be taking on a thankless, but vital position. In either role, an ideal candidate will work hard to make an impact.

At Labor Temps, we help our clients locate best-fit candidates based on the criteria they provide. If you’re organization is currently in need of recruitment help, please contact us today!