In my book, 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, I write about hiring individuals with a great attitude, great work ethic, and high integrity. This week, I had a conversation that made me think more about the work ethic characteristic.
The individual with whom I was speaking, talked about finding employees who have that “fire” to get things done. She was referring to that ability some individuals have to crank through work with a sense of urgency to get results. (A former boss I worked for used to call it finishing; she said organizations need more finishers.) This “fire” that some employees have really is the work ethic we are looking for. It’s not simply working hard, but it’s getting the job done; it’s getting results; it’s a burning desire, a fire, to see things through to completion.
So when hiring, how do we identify this “fire” in prospective candidates? We can start by asking simple questions such as, “What hours do you typically work?” If the answer is, “I work until the job is done,” then that’s a pretty good sign that the “fire” is burning within. It is also helpful to ask about results on specific projects. Candidates should be able to tell you what they accomplished on projects where they took the lead. Talking about specific project deadlines and timelines is a way to learn about a candidate’s sense of urgency. Employees with “fire” get things done ahead of deadlines and due dates, so ask about project schedules and completion in relation to the schedule.
As leaders, we should be looking for individuals who fit our culture and who also have a “fire” to get things done. Be sure your interview process allows you to effectively identify these people. When your new employees fit your culture and have a sense of urgency to get results, they’ll make your team more effective and they’ll make your life easier!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. – Follow me on Twitter, @jvearle, and share my blog with others who love leadership!