We often are briefed by our clients that, “we need a ‘doer’ – someone who will work hard, do the tasks that need doing and get the job done”. But how do you actually screen for this as a trait during an interview process?

What are the traits of poor workers?

Most people are poor workers demonstrating traits of being disorganised, unfocused and easily distracted – often working at only 50% of capacity. Often, these people don’t know how to work any differently.

Focus and concentration are the habits of hard-working people

The foundation of good work habits come down to focus and concentration. Hard Working people focus on the most important goals and concentrate their energies on completing tasks.

Hard working people are always mindful that the most important goals might change and will adjust their efforts accordingly. Hard workers concentrate on reaching their goals without diversion and distraction to successfully complete their goals.

Developing the habit of task completion is a characteristic of a hard worker.

Hard-working employees exhibit the traits of productivity, motivation, dedication and self-reliance. These traits are difficult to define or assess.

During the interview process, it’s too easy to focus on the measurable, hard skills of the candidate. While knowledge is an asset – it is actually easily taught.

What is actually more imperative is to dedicate time to identifying and assessing the harder to measure traits of a hard-working employee. These are often intangible qualities and behavioural characteristics that relate to a person’s emotional intelligence.

Motivation can be Extrinsic or Intrinsic

Managers need to establish what type of motivation (extrinsic or intrinsic) an employee has in order to help them achieve at work. This, in turn, will directly affect the work ethic of the employee. Someone who is extrinsically motivated may not work as hard as they can if they are not getting bonuses or some form of ‘prize’ to congratulate them on their work. Furthermore, someone who is intrinsically motivated may not work to the best of their ability if they fell the task that they are doing doesn’t make them feel like they have achieved something.

The basis of an effective organisation lies in how capable it is of hiring result-oriented and industrious workers who execute.

Behavioural based interview questions can help, and it is possible to assess self-motivation and work ethic using tools such as Trait Emotional Intelligence (TEIQue) or High Potential Train Indicator (HPTI) from Thomas International.

Some points to consider are;

  1. Include the traits in your personal description so that the expectation is set from the start of the recruitment process.
  2. Plan a list of behavioural based interview questions that capture the traits you require and use as part of your interview process. Always ask the candidate for examples of when they have exhibited these traits.
  3. Consider using a tool such as TEIQue/HPTI to assess self-motivation and drive to achieve.