Improve Your Hiring Process – Define Your Company’s Work Ethic

June 23, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

You are in a recruiting mode and looking to hire a new employee. What is the standard operating procedure for recruiting? You receive a resume, check the applicant’s qualifications, job history, and salary requirements. Then, if the applicant seems qualified, you schedule a face-to-face interview. The actual interview process can vary from company to company. The types of questions that are asked during the face-to-face interview are dependent on the experience of the person doing the interviewing. The types of testing that is done is different for each industry, and can vary from company to company within an industry. This hiring process works and will continue to work for years to come. So, why should you continue to read this article? Read it because there is an idea that you can adopt that will improve your overall hiring results. The ability to rate a person’s work ethic.

Define Your Corporate Culture

Work ethic represents how a person behaves on the job. Work ethic is culture driven and is linked to upbringing, education, and life experience. Work ethic is about a set of ideas, beliefs, and patterns of behaviors. Before you can look for work ethic synergies and possible conflicts from a job applicant, or existing employee, you must first define your organization’s corporate culture. To begin, see how you would answer these questions for your organization.

  1. When employees talk to customers or clients how should they present themselves?
  2. How does your organization communicate its business strategy, mission, vision, and values to the employee population?
  3. How does your organization communicate behavioral expectations such as rules, standards, and operating procedures?
  4. What is your expectation for how employees spend their time when they are on the job?
  5. How would you define your organization’s management style?
  6. What symbols are respected and used to communicate success?

If you cannot answer one or more of these questions, you may have discovered a flaw in your ability to clearly define your corporate culture. If you do not like how you answered a question, you may have found a weakness in your corporate culture.

Define Your Corporate Work Ethic

The next step in the process is to define how your corporate culture defines your corporate work ethic. What are the behavioral values you look for from an employee? To illustrate this idea, assume that I answered the above questions and have clearly defined my corporate culture. Now, I can ask questions of a potential employee to assess how their personal work ethic aligns to my corporate work ethic.

I recommend that you create your own set of questions in writing, and that you use a five point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree with response to strongly agree with response, to rate how the individual answered each question.

Sample Questions

  • Based on your past work experience how would you describe presenting yourself in a professional manner at all times.
  • Have you ever worked for a company that used annual performance reviews; if you have how did you use your education and work experience to achieve higher performance ratings?
  • What would you do to maintain top-of-mind awareness concerning our mission statement?
  • We use written position descriptions and a set of standard operating procedures, how would you handle any conflicts that arise in the course of doing your job?
  • You are required to work 40 hours a week, are required to request time off at least 24 hours in advance, and cannot work any overtime hours unless they are preapproved by your manager. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of these policies?
  • Our company uses a consultative management style. In other words, decisions take into account the best interests of the employees and the company, communication is generally downward, and employee feedback is encouraged to maintain morale. Tell me about the management style of some of your previous employers and how you functioned in those environments?
  • There are three things that symbolize our success; high ratings on customer satisfaction surveys, our corporate logo, and our profit at the end of the year. How would you support those symbols?

Improve the Odds – Hire the Right Person

We all come from different cultural backgrounds. Growing up in New York, Los Angeles, India, or South Africa has an impact on work ethic. Working for an entrepreneurial managed company or a professionally managed company or a large bureaucratic public company can also have an impact on work ethic. Unfortunately, we sometimes hire people with the right qualifications who have a conflicted work ethic. Eliminate that scenario from your experience and improve your ability to hire the right person. Asses the job applicant’s work ethic before you make a final hiring decision.

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