Do You Have a Great Work Ethic? Prove it!

April 3rd, 2017

Most managers want to know three things about their candidates: Can they complete the tasks assigned to them? Are they pleasant and easy to get along with? And finally, will they work just as hard for the company as they would for an endeavor in their personal lives? In other words, will they throw themselves into their daily efforts and treat company success and personal success as if they were the same thing?

It’s not exactly easy to convince someone that you “work hard” or that you are “a hard worker”. We all use that term, but we don’t all agree on what it means. For some, it means an employee who stays at the office till midnight. But for others, it means someone who leaves at 5:00 sharp after accomplishing a long list of goals. How can you prove to your interviewer that your work ethic is above reproach? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Know what the term means to you.

You can’t read your interviewer’s mind, so don’t try. Have your own definition of “hard work”, and your definition should be fixed and clear. You should be able to describe it to someone else, and you should know exactly how far your own actions fall from your ideal. If you believe hard work means staying late, that’s fine. If you believe it means trying again and again until you achieve a goal, fine. If you believe it means giving up quickly and revising your strategy, that’s fine too. Just know exactly what a “work ethic” means to you.

Tell stories.

Apply your own definition of the term, and tell a story (or stories) that illustrate your sense of hard work and determination. Tell your interviewer about the time you stayed in the office late to accomplish a specific goal. Or tell them about the time it took you a week to complete an important task because you wanted to do it flawlessly. Or describe the time you accomplished ten incredible feats during one five-hour workday. Start at the beginning, explain the circumstances and the challenges you faced, and talk about how you overcame them and triumphed through the power of hard work.

If they share their own definition, listen.

Listen to your interviewer and read their non-verbal cues. If they’re unimpressed by your definition of hard work (working extra hours), and they seem to place a higher value on leaving early after multiple accomplishments (efficiency, strategy, and focus), tune in. Change your tactic and emphasize stories and anecdotes that showcase your ability to get things done.

For more on how to show off your talents and pitch your skills during your interview, contact the Cleveland County job search and career management experts at PSU.

Find a Candidate Who Fits Well with Your Company Culture

March 10th, 2017

As you search for a candidate who can handle the challenges of your open position, take the culture of your workplace into account as well. “Fitness”, or the level of alignment between the candidate and the role, can be the product of a complex and delicate equation. The right candidate isn’t just ready to handle the daily tasks that come across his or her desk; she’s also ready to handle the kinds of clients your company work with, the coworkers who sit to her left and right, and the unique style adopted by the company’s upper management.

Are these managers hands-on or hands-off? Are these clients easy-going or edgy and demanding? Are these coworkers collaborative or competitive? No matter what the answers may be, here are some tips that can help you spot a promising match.

First, know what you’re working with.

Before you can find a cultural fit, you’ll need to understand the psychological and social fabric of your workplace. Look around, conduct surveys, and gather data points before you begin the sourcing process for an open position. Collect some statements that seem reasonable and plausible, like: “This is a fast-paced environment”, “Employees here are reserved and can seem cold at first”, “Mistakes and risks are not only tolerated here, they’re encouraged.”

Evaluate your candidate sources.

If you’d like to find seasoned employees who are experienced, level-headed and worldy, don’t recruit on a college campus. If you’re looking for young, ambitious dreamers and experience levels don’t matter so much, that’s a different story. Go where your cultural matches live, play, and search for work.

Explain your cultural challenges and watch what happens.

During your interview process, explain some of the challenges your candidate will face here and watch how he or she reacts. You might say, “We prioritize deadlines over everything else”. Or you might say, “Some of our clients can seem rude and unreasonable at times”, or: “We wear multiple hats here, which means you might find yourself sweeping or taking out the trash sometimes,” or “Our culture is demanding and rigid.” Ask how your candidate feels about these things and when as responds, read between the lines.

Rely on behavioral questions.

If your workplace is deadline driven, as your candidate to describe the most difficult deadline challenge she’s ever faced. If your workplace is collaborative, ask your candidate about the last time he had to work together with a team. Again, read between the lines. You’ll learn more if you keep your questions open-ended and encourage your candidates to answer by telling a story.

For more on how to use your screening process to find cultural matches, not just skilled employees, turn to the professional Charlotte recruiting team at PSU.

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