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Employee Loyalty: The Equation to Assess Whether a Candidate will be Loyal When Hired

Like trying to solve a difficult math equation, HR leaders have invested ample resources trying to discover loyalty before hiring an individual. Fortunately, there is a solution to this formula.

First, we need to identify the three most important core competencies that relate to loyalty when assessing a candidate:

  • Candidate Competency: Self-Awareness

  • Candidate Competency: Self-Expectations

  • Company Competency: Build Trust

Yes, your company plays an important role in the equation. Now consider the process for discovering whether a candidate is strong in the core competencies related to loyalty and whether your company is the right fit for the candidate.

1. How Do You Discover Self-Awareness When Assessing Loyalty?

The competency of self-awareness ties to whether a candidate is truly a good fit for the job they are applying for. There are several questions that need to be addressed:

  • Does the candidate know what they enjoy doing?

  • Is the candidate capable of performing tasks for the role?

  • What culture and leadership style does the candidate prefer?

  • What compensation is the candidate expecting from the company?

  • Is the candidate expecting the opportunity for promotion and advancement?

  • Does the candidate need to be recognized to satisfy internal motivations?

It is important to find the answers before hiring a candidate. Otherwise, there is a risk of unmet expectations, which leads to dissatisfaction and disengagement. In order to assess a candidate's motivators, your hiring managers need to understand the behavioral interview questions they should be asking during a behavioral interview.

Consider these two important questions to ask during a behavioral interview that unlock self-awareness:

- What is one of your core motivators? Please give an example of how that motivation was satisfied and motivated you in one of your previous roles, and then give an example of a time when it was not satisfied and caused you to be demotivated.

This question reveals loyalty in two ways. First, when the individual's core motivator was satisfied, did that increase engagement and satisfaction in their role? Secondly, if the candidate's motivator was not satisfied, did the individual shut down and become unproductive? Along those lines, is that the reason why the candidate is interviewing for your job opening?

Your company needs to understand how a candidate's motivation affects loyalty because it will impact productivity. Some candidates will continue producing at a high level even if their core motivator is unmet. However, other candidates will disengage and start looking for other work.

- In your former position, what were your long- and short-term goals? Describe what you did to achieve those goals and the overall result of working towards those goals.

This question ties to whether a candidate is strongly motivated by the opportunity for advancement.

Candidates have a formula in their head that if they work hard, are reliable, develop their skills, and display loyalty to the company, they will have opportunities for promotion and salary raises. That is a strong motivator for continuing to be productive for the company. However, if the candidate completes that formula and is not rewarded with the expected result, that could lead to dissatisfaction and a gradual reduction in productivity.

By asking this question, you will understand what the candidate's goals were in a previous role, what they did to reach these goals, and what the result was when they reached the goals.

- Putting together these two questions, you will discover whether the candidate ranks highly in self-awareness and aligns with what your company is capable of providing both in the role and as a company overall.

ZERORISK HR has worked with many companies who were experiencing lack of loyalty from employees, especially younger workers who have a reputation for job-hopping, which creates a cycle of turnover.

To break this cycle, employers need to focus on the self-awareness of candidates, ask the right behavioral interview questions to assess loyalty, and understand that many candidates see work as an opportunity to advance, learn, grow, and achieve something great, not just receive a paycheck every two weeks. This ties in with the next important core competency of self-expectations.

2. How Do You Discover Self-Expectations When Assessing Loyalty?

Hiring managers need to assess whether the candidate has a realistic and clear idea of their ideal self-concept. In other words, what is the vision for themselves as an employee in your company and is that vision realistic with what the company can offer them?

Many candidates walk into an interview thinking of a four-step formula for success: hit a home run with the job interview, be successful in a role they are comfortable with while eyeing the position above them, get a raise in four months, and be promoted to team leader in 12 months.

Conversely, many employers sit down with a candidate thinking they just need to fill a position or role, they hope the candidate works out as an employee, they'll complete a job evaluation in four months, and then see if they should keep the employee after 12 months.

This could create a significant disconnect between the candidate having expectations of a raise and promotion as a reward for their hard work and the employer merely looking to increase productivity.

During the behavioral interview with the candidate, a question to ask that relates to self-expectations is the following:

Describe the most motivating manager you ever worked with and the best culture you ever worked in. How long did you work for that manager and in that culture?

Importantly, your hiring managers are not asking a hypothetical question of what the ideal culture or manager looks like in their eyes. Rather, they should ask what the ideal culture was in a previous work experience. This helps you unlock details about the candidate's previous work experience to see if the person is motivated by loyalty.

Additionally, you will unlock the candidate's relationship with a manager or superior to assess their expected behavior in your company, providing insight on their core motivators to determine if this person will fit your culture.

3. Take an Inventory: Is Your Company Loyal to Employees?

The final part of the formula is your company. The question to ask is: do your leaders build trust? This increases the likelihood of employees remaining loyal because they believe they are valued by the company.

To hire and retain these individuals, you need to ensure that leaders and managers are capable of building trust with individuals once they become part of the company.

Many organizations create self-inflicted damage because they do not have competent managers that build trust and leads their teams effectively. You could hire the most loyal employee available, but if that individual does not trust their superior, it could lead to a decline in productivity, discontent, and eventually turnover.

Remember that many employees leave bosses, not jobs. These individuals will seek out the same work in the same industry, just at a different company looking for a better work environment, culture, or manager.

If your company is experiencing regular or unusual turnover, then you need to assess whether your team leaders are cultivating positive, productive relationships with employees to maximize their loyalty.

Complete the Formula to Solve Loyalty

The method for solving loyalty is a behavioral interview. Asking the right questions will reveal a candidate's self-awareness and self-expectations, plus whether your company is the right fit with a culture of building trust.

The behavioral interview process will get candidates to give specific and real examples of their thinking and decision-making. The process will also unlock their core competencies and assess loyalty as a predictor of how they will perform in your company.

Assessing loyalty is vital for your company when filling an important position. Understanding how to solve the formula of discovering loyalty in candidates should be your next step.

You can gain this understanding through our Behavioral Interview Training Program. This two-hour online course will give your hiring managers the tools to conduct a proper and effective behavioral interview to ask the right questions that assess loyalty in candidates before making an important hiring decision.


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