The Interview: How to Recognize Office Hero Traits

You’re on a mission to find that next office hero. You’ve put out the call and scoured through resumes. Maybe you’ve worked with a recruiter to narrow down the field and are at the short list stage. It’s time for the face-to- face interview.

Your next office hero won’t walk into your office in a cape and tights. (And if they do, you might want to rethink your short listing process.)

So, how do you recognize the traits that let you know that you’ve found that office hero?

You can start out by looking at some common traits in heroes:

    • Heroes keep a positive, can-do attitude, even when the going gets tough.
      You can learn more about your candidate’s attitude by asking, “Tell me about a time when something went wrong in your job. What did you do about it? And how did that make you feel?” If they can provide an example or two of how they problem-solved and kept a positive outlook throughout some tough time, you’ve got a good indication of a positive, can-do attitude. If however, they complain about others and shift blame elsewhere, your Spidey-sense should set off alarm bells of caution.
    • Heroes love their work and want to make a difference. You can find out more about how engaged a candidate will be by asking either (or both) of these questions: “What do you love most about the work you’ve done?” “Give me an example of where you feel you’ve made a meaningful difference in your work.” The answers you get will give you a glimpse into the candidate’s motivations and personality. They’ll also give you an idea if they are in line with your company’s culture and the requirements of the role. For example: Let’s say you’re looking for a super person to be your front-line contact with your customers. A candidate who confesses that they love to help people and make them smile has the right kind of heroic traits for the role.
    • Heroes find satisfaction in doing their work well. Pride in work and work ethics are highly desirable traits. You can find out more about these traits by asking questions like, “Give me an example of when you’ve done more thanrequired in your job, or made a change that improved it.” Again, you’re looking for a positive approach and the kind of body language that tells you that the candidate was interested and engaged in doing their work well.

Remember that quality doesn’t just happen on the job. You can also get your first clue about your candidate’s approach to quality work by skimming through their resume or correspondence with you. Especially if you’re hiring for an administrative position where attention to detail and written communications are an important part of the job. Are there typos? Do they look professional?

In addition to making sure that the candidates you interview have the right technical skills for the job, be sure to ask the sorts of questions that bring out the heroic traits that will make your next hire an office hero.

About the author
(Voted Barrie’s Best Employment Agency 6 years running, ESS Direct offers recruitment and temporary placement services throughout Barrie and South Simcoe County, specializing in helping companies identify, attract and hire administrative and office heroes.)