How to Identify Strong Work Ethic in New Candidates

There are a lot of businesses recruiting at the moment.

Some are looking for experienced professionals, while others will take whatever they can get. One of the common attributes all employers should be looking for is a strong work ethic.

It can be challenging to identify this in new candidates. After all, the individual sitting across from you will be on their best behaviour. They have probably browsed the internet to find the best answers to questions you might ask.

So how do you find out a candidate with a strong work ethic? Here are some themes you should frame your questions around.

Time Management

Work ethic isn’t about being the first to arrive and the last to leave. It’s about how a person uses the hours in the day. They shouldn’t work at night or on weekends. They manage their workload and don’t try to take on too much or too little.

Ask your candidate about how they would manage their workload. You don’t want to hear someone say they would work around the clock because the chances of burnout are high. You might end up in the same spot recruiting for a new candidate in a couple of months.


This is perhaps one of the most important attributes you want to identify in a candidate. In most interviews, they will discuss the achievements and highlights throughout their career. But you should also want to hear about the initiatives and programs that didn’t quite work out.

Does the candidate take accountability for these wrong turns? More importantly, what did they learn from the experience? They should explain how they handled the lessons and applied them to future initiatives.


You would think this attribute goes without saying, but it can be difficult to identify in an interview. The candidate is likely wearing a suit and using language they don’t usually use to make a strong impression on you and the other interviewers.

What you want to find out is how they react in specific scenarios. In other words, their emotional intelligence. Do they get upset easily, or can they remain calm, assess the situation, and chart a course forward? If they can stay in the right headspace under pressure, you want them on your team.


As an interviewer, you should be able to identify someone who is telling you what you want to hear. In these situations, they’re likely doing this to get any job they can. You don’t want this. You want someone who is passionate about your industry or the role itself and looking to own it.

It could be someone who is working their way up and applying for this type of job for the first time. These individuals are worth taking a chance on. What they lack in experience in these positions, they make up for with dedication in wanting to make the most of the opportunity.

Make Work Ethic a Focus When Recruiting

In many interviews, you might be looking for skills or experience to help you decide if the candidate is right for your organisation. But work ethic should be your primary focus. This can determine the difference between an employee coming to work and others who might not want to give 100% every day.

If you need more tips on recruiting the right people for your team, then make sure you’re following the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find advice and guidance on finding the right team members and getting the most out of them. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: