Do You Hire People Who Care?

It Begins by Asking the Right Questions During the Job Interview

By David Cox, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | October 6, 2016

Do you hire employees who care beyond their own self-interests? It’s not difficult to find job candidates who want to advance their careers and make more money. The question is whether or not you hire employees who connect their personal and professional goals to how much they care for the mission of your company and service to your customers.

How do we go about hiring people who care? I suggest employers consider the following three interview questions to gain insight into a job candidate’s willingness and capacity to care about those whom they serve.

Why do you want this job?

High-character employees serve their customers, they serve their employers, and they help fulfill the mission of the organizations they serve. They are neither selfish nor self-serving and they truly care about serving others. As an employer, you want to hire people with a passion for service. It makes sense for employers to listen carefully when job candidates explain why they want a certain position.

Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.

I’ve personally experienced employees who have spent considerable time, traveled further distances and performed tasks above and below their pay grade just to provide the service I needed. A few days ago, I mentioned to a store cashier that I needed a particular item, but had been unable to find it. She walked around the cash register, headed down one of the aisles with me, pulled the item I needed off the shelf, and handed it to me.

The total time she spent on that bit of customer service couldn’t have taken more than a minute, but she went the extra mile to help me find what I needed. I will undoubtedly shop this store again.

I wonder how many employers bother to ask candidates to give such examples from their own work experience. In fact, I feel it would be appropriate to ask for a brief narrative answer about this topic on the job application. The people who demonstrate this type of care and willingness to go the extra mile inspire customer loyalty, which is clearly beneficial to any business.

As a supervisor, how would you deal with employees who come to work with the flu?

A couple of years ago, an area radio station employee, I’ll call Howard, went to bed one night feeling he was coming down with a cold and woke up the next morning with the flu. He called the station’s office, but his supervisor insisted that he had to report to work. Howard couldn’t do his job well, some of his colleagues including their most popular radio host got sick, and the flu impacted the workplace over the next three weeks.

A caring supervisor would have encouraged Howard to stay home, seek medical attention, get some rest, and return when he was feeling better. When a supervisor cares, he/she cares about the sick employee, the employee’s co-workers, and the company’s ability to serve its clients (in this case advertisers and their listening audience).

We should always endeavor to hire the best trained and most highly skilled employees available, throughout our organizations. Nevertheless, I believe employers need employees who care beyond their own self-interests. Just imagine what your business could accomplish if all of your employees were both highly skilled and cared about things beyond themselves.