“There is no future in any job. The future is in the way you do your job.”

I recall early in my career being taught the value of caring about the customer. My first job in industry was as a telecommunications technician where I was deployed to various customer locations daily. The owner of the organization shadowed me on one of my first jobs, insisting that I always appear neat, clean, and organized. This attitude transcended my physical appearance and had to be reflected in my work habits, my attentiveness to detail, the cleanliness of my vehicle, and the quality of my interactions with clients.

Today I read Mel Kleiman’s article entitled “Who Cares?” and it struck a chord within me. It reminded me of the lessons I learned so long ago and how relevant and important they still are today in all that I do. The theme of Mr. Kleiman’s article involves illustrating how we, as customers, immediately recognize poor service or unacceptable workmanship and how it demonstrates that someone in the value chain just does not care. He goes on to offer ideas for how to identify thoseindividuals that do care during the hiring process.

Mr. Kleiman offers the following interview questions to help better understand if a person cares:

1. Have you ever had bad service at a restaurant or store? What made the service bad and how did you deal with it?
2. When I say, “making an extra effort,” what does that mean to you?
3. Tell me about the best recognition you ever received at work. What was it for and how were you recognized?
4. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond what was expected of you at work (or in school).
5. Have you ever noticed a co-worker having difficulty learning a task or meeting a deadline? What did you do about it?

By using these simple questions and carefully assessing the responses, we will be better equipped to select the individuals who will care and subsequently build a highly functioning team that is driven to succeed. A high functioning team will demonstrate this caring attitude in everything they do if, as leaders, we exemplify those desired behaviors and reward those individuals for living up to the high standard we have created through sincere, frequent recognition.

Let’s face it.  Hiring the RIGHT person can be difficult.  Have you ever asked these questions before in your hiring process?  What has been successful for you in building a high functioning team that cares?  Let me know…I’d love to hear about it.

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