Best Practices in HR

Follow Us:
Rachel Stones
  November 28, 2018

Finding Dedicated Employees: Four Questions You Don’t Ask, But Should

Finding hardworking, dedicated employees is challenging. You collect resumes, perform screening interviews, and conduct in-person interviews. Still, you may sometimes feel disappointment in the candidate you hire.

Nowadays, many employees simply lack staying power. Whether it’s seeing a difficult project through, or navigating those initial first few months on the job, some just aren’t able to overcome bumps along the way. No organization wants to waste time hiring and training one employee only to soon realize a replacement is required.

Of course, you can easily eliminate some candidates based on their resume alone. If a potential hire has jumped from job to job over the last year, you can probably safely pass.

Beyond the resume phase, the first interview can be very telling – if you know what to look for. The best way to select the right candidate for your organization is to ask the right questions.

Identifying Dedicated Employees During the Interview

Whether it be over the phone or in person, the first interview will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to stability, work ethic and dedication. Below are four topics you should cover, along with interview questions you may not have asked before, but should.


1. Considering your skills and experience, how would you best be able to contribute to our company?

This question accomplishes two goals. First, it shows whether the candidate has taken time to review and study the content on your website. Job seekers have been counseled repeatedly to learn about the company they’re applying for and this is an effective way to discover if a candidate has taken the initiative to research and learn about the company with whom they’re interviewing.

If they’ve done so, you can be confident in their interest in working for your company. If they haven’t, they won’t necessarily be a poor employee, but you can expect they might not be as eager or as serious about the opportunity as their fellow applicants.

This question also gives potential hires an opportunity to tell you how they see themselves contributing to the company goals and vision.


2. We understand challenges occur regularly in the workplace. Tell us about a time when you were faced with a challenge that prevented you from completing a goal or meeting a deadline? What was the result?

Stressful situations inevitably arise in the workplace. How employees handle those situations can indicate whether they can handle the stress and still work to find solutions. If a candidate explains a situation, then details why it wasn’t their fault or places blame elsewhere, they might not be a good fit.

Look for answers that show that employees worked individually or with others to actively find a solution. Or if a solution was not found, it can still demonstrate what actions they took in response to a challenging situation and you can expect them to respond in a similar way if encountering a comparable situation at your company.

This question also helps you understand which situations a candidate would consider challenging. If you work in a fast-paced environment and a candidate tells you about a situation where they were expected to work quickly and felt overwhelmed, then that can signal to you that they may not be the best option to fill the position.

Personality & Culture

3. In what type of work environment do you best function?

This question can help you determine how the candidate will fit within your current office environment. Regular employees become dedicated employees when placed in an environment that allows them to thrive. If they work best in a quiet office, but your open position calls for them to operate amid a busy call center, then obviously aren’t the best fit. Do they thrive on co-worker interaction and collaboration? This kind of new hire may excel in that shared cubicle space they’ll be filling.

Whatever their answer, you can compare it to your current office space, culture and environment to see how they may fit.

And lastly:


4. Why did you leave each of your last four jobs?

This may tell you everything you need to know.

Asking Quality Questions

The suggested questions above are referrred to as ‘probing questions’ or ‘open-ended questions’. ‘Leading questions’ are on the other end of the spectrum. Leading questions can indicate to the candidate what type of answer you’re looking for in a response, making it easy for them to say what you want to hear. Alternatively, a probing question will generate a more truthful and organic answer. Beyond our suggested questions, you should utilize as many probing questions as possible during the rest of the interview.

If you find yourself doing most of the talking during the interview, you’re doing it wrong!

The Takeaway

Asking smart questions and following up with even better questions will help ensure you find dedicated employees for your organization. You’ll better understand the candidate’s working style, drive, work ethic and dedication right off the bat. This will help you to select a candidate that will thrive and excel within your company culture and atmosphere.