Hiring Wisdom: Telling If a Potential Employee Will Go the Extra Mile

Illustration by istockphoto.com
Illustration by istockphoto.com

Here’s a great interview question from one of our readers, Dan Criswell, Assistant Security Shift Supervisor & Security Department Recruiter for the Surry Nuclear Power Station.

Dan finds the question gives him a deeper level of insight into the applicant, but cautions it has to be set up carefully or it’s likely to elicit a canned answer like, “I’m always available for overtime.”

THE QUESTION:I know in your job that you would work harder if asked or longer hours if needed, but, just in the normal course of your day, what do you do for your employer that is more than what is expected of you? Is there anything you do that, if you didn’t do it, no one would really notice or care?”

There is no right or wrong answer, of course. Dan looks for how the applicant has extended an extra effort to benefit the company, its clients, or other employees. Dan’s most memorable answer came from a young woman who was employed as an ice truck delivery driver.

One day her truck’s freezer unit failed and the load of ice was sure to melt. She would have been expected to return right back to her dock for repairs and her employer would have been satisfied with that response. What set her apart, however, is that she stopped at the businesses along the way back and gave the ice away to people who could use it.

Dan hired her on the spot and reports: “As predicted, her attitude has been great. She is a great worker and we are fortunate to have her here.”

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Add this insight question to your repertoire when you looking for employees you can count on to go the extra mile ? and let me know what happens.

Come see Mel Kleiman talk about how Great HR is Simple — It’s Just Not Easy at the TLNT Transform conference in Austin, TX Feb. 26-28, 2012. Click here for more information on attending this event. 

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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