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How to Figure out a Person’s Work Ethic Before You Hire Them


How to Figure out a Person's Work Ethic Before You Hire Them

Sales is undergoing a data-backed hiring revolution. What does that mean for you?

It means that sales hiring, where decisions have always been dubiously based on “intuition” and “gut-feel,” is stepping up to the big-data plate and looking for a home run.

Remember the movie Moneyball? Brad Pitt, general manager of the Oakland A’s outsmarts the richer ball clubs using data science, effectively building the dream team based on analytics alone. It’s time to Moneyball your sales team.

With more data than ever before, we are able to assess salespeople with shocking accuracy and evaluate traits we would have never been able to before. 

Case in point: Work ethic. The ability to assess work ethic can change your team forever. This is how to do it.

What Is Work Ethic Anyways?

First, let’s define work ethic. A somewhat soft term, “work ethic” is a personality domain associated with hard work and diligence. This domain is very closely related to and can be used in place of the personality trait, “conscientiousness.”

What Is Conscientiousness Anyways?

Conscientiousness is one of the Big Five personality traits. Conscientiousness is then divided into two subdomains: achievement drive and dependability.

Both of these subdomains are beneficial values to have when looking to hire. However, the research shows us that achievement drive tends to relate to work ethic more than dependability.

In summary:

Work Ethic = Conscientiousness. Conscientiousness = Achievement Drive + Dependability. (Primarily Achievement Drive).

A Look at the Data

Professors Vinchur and colleagues recently did some research and found that people’s self-ratings of their Achievement Drive compare:

  • .25 with supervisor ratings of sales performance
  • .41 with objective sales outcomes (e.g., sales revenue)

Here are two tables examining how Big Five personality traits factor into sales hiring success.

Ji-A Min, Ideal’s Head Data Scientist Explains, “These statistics show that work ethic explains approximately 6% of the variance among salespeople as measured by supervisor ratings and approximately 17% of the variance in performance among salespeople as measured by objective sales outcomes.”

In Plain English

Basically, these results show that both candidates and supervisors can determine a variance in sales performance by assessing achievement drive.

Measuring Achievement Drive

Achievement drive in a job candidate is best measured through a psychometric assessment.

Psychometric testing is the process of measuring a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses based on their self-reported assessments answers. An assessment of this nature allows recruiters and employers to predict, based on objective data, which candidates will be most suitable for a certain role.

The data speaks for itself on measuring work ethic and demonstrates that if you want the best sales people for your role, you need to make sure you know what to measure and how to measure it properly. One without the other will not do.

By measuring these domains objectively, you can actually determine which candidate is statistically more likely to thrive in your organization.

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