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Is your job candidate willing?

October 1, 2005 By    

As we continue our series on hiring the best in the propane industry, let’s review the three questions you should always address:

  • Does the candidate have the ability to do the job?
  • Is the able candidate willing to do the job?
  • Is the able and willing candidate manageable within your organization?

In our previous column, we addressed the first question about ability. Now we should begin to determine the candidate’s willingness to do the job. Along with willingness, we will search for the positive traits of individual desire and a “want to” attitude. As with many matters of judging individuals, selecting for their willingness is more of an art than a science.

 Carl Hughes
Carl Hughes

Administrative individuals should show eagerness. Employees who enjoy the productive output of their tasks add positive energy to the team. Those who drag themselves to work and complain, drain energy from co-workers.

Tasks required of individuals in these roles may not appear exciting to some, but the individual with the right frame of mind will have the desire to take them on.

As you assess a candidate’s willingness, address these questions:

  • Do they desire to take on new tasks?
  • Are they eager learners?
  • Do they complete their tasks with enthusiasm and confidence?
  • Do they set their own goals?
  • How have they worked with office teams in the past?

Employees, especially drivers and service technicians, should demonstrate a desire to go the extra mile. I believe there is a direct connection between incidences of non-sanctioned idle driver time, which is costly and non-productive, and the driver’s desire to make deliveries.

How do you screen for those candidates who have the good attributes of desire and willingness? If you look for these traits in both the interview process and while checking employment history, you will eliminate those who are clearly not excited about the job you have available.

I do believe that there are people in these roles who have experienced bad work environments under poor leadership. Often, when given the opportunity to work under steady, solid leadership, many with bad records can respond to good direction and regain excitement and desire for their particular roles.

However, for the most part, if a driver does not have a good history of performance in his past two or three jobs, you are fooling yourself thinking he will change into a strong performer.

Look for those individuals who seek to take on new work. Search for those drivers and service people who go above and beyond their scope of job requirements. Those who have a history of doing so will bring with them an additional value of desire. Those who don’t are just going through the motions.

Since managers and leaders set tempos of the work groups, the desire factor may be the most important thing to screen for in this role. Assume that managers who demonstrate a very positive energy – because it is clear to all they enjoy what they are doing – will have a positive effect on subordinates. Conversely, those managers who go through the motions will drain energy and dampen desire.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does this manager show a willingness to stay on the job until the work is done?
  • Does he or she demonstrate a willingness to work smoothly with other departments and teams?
  • Does the individual show a desire to problem solve – maybe one of the more important requirements of a manager?

Search for a history of how the manager operated under pressure situations. Managers who are capable but don’t overcome the obstacles, often simply don’t have the desire to push through the tough times.

Screening for the candidate’s willingness is often overlooked in hiring criteria. It can be more challenging to get a handle on this than on judging the capabilities of prospective employees. I believe this is the one place that searching for pride in a candidate’s work is appropriate.

Look out for the “has great potential but never performed at a high level” individual. Often it is their lack of desire that prevents them from being productive.

Finally, while we all feel we can challenge, motivate and rejuvenate any prospective employee because of our superior managerial skills, it is best to first select those whose traits will give them and your company the highest degree of success.

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