Hiring Employees With a High Sense of Urgency – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Learn how to identify applicants with a sense of urgency and responsiveness.

Instant Hiring Tip: Hire Employees with a High Sense of Urgency

A common trait of highly productive people and companies is a high sense of urgency. A high sense of urgency drives individuals and the organizations they work for to work harder than their peers but more importantly their competitors. Most employers realize the benefits of hiring employees with a high sense of urgency but how do you go about identifying those applicants with a high sense of urgency?

You can gain a lot of insight about how an employee will perform on the job and assess an employee’s sense of urgency during the application process. During the application process, one question you want to keep in the back of your mind is: how quickly does the applicant respond to your requests for information and other details?

For example, let’s say you call an applicant to schedule an initial interview and they aren’t available so you have to leave a message on their voicemail. How long does it take them to get back to you to set up an interview date? Does it take an hour or two? Does it take a day? Does it take multiple days???

Any hiring manager can probably relate to the frustration felt when dealing with an applicant who seemingly has all the time in the world and takes their sweet time in responding to requests. Unfortunately, this isn’t just frustrating but it’s also generally a future indicator of that applicant’s overall responsiveness and sense of urgency. And that can be a critical flaw if you’ve already concluded that a high sense of urgency is one of the necessary traits of your future employee.

The bottom line is that an applicant who does not display a high sense of urgency about getting a job (particularly in this job market) will most likely underwhelm you with their responsiveness should you choose to hire them. As the applicant takes their sweet time in responding to your requests, picture them working for your organization and being in charge of an important project with a looming deadline. How will you sleep the night before the project is due?

If you’re a hiring manager on the lookout for employees with a high sense of urgency and who get things done promptly, you’ll want to make a note of those applicants that respond quickly to your requests as they will have a higher probability of performing similarly on the job.

How Far Have We Fallen If Punctuality and Cleanliness Are Job Training Achievements?

Last month’s gain of 192,000 net new jobs indicated that job creation might finally be on the uptick. The unemployment rate -down to 8.9 percent – has now declined nearly a full percentage point since November 2010, the steepest drop over a three-month span since 1983.

While that’s good news, Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor, reminded participants attending the 2011 Human Capital Institute Summit, that we actually need 200,000 net new jobs per month just to keep up with our growing population. (That’s not so bad compared to China, where they need 25 million net new jobs per year just to keep up with their growing population.)

New jobs and a falling unemployment rate, despite what the press and political pundits might have you beleive, aren’t the only things that matters when we look toward an economic recovery.

The labor participation is still quite low. According to Chao, we’re only at 62.4 percent, the lowest it has been in 25 years. Chao describes the reason for the low participation as a general lack of confidence that people currently have around their ability to find new jobs.

Chao also confirmed her belief that American workers still have high education levels and strong skills sets. It’s just that we don’t have enough of these skilled, educated workers to fill jobs in the fastest growth areas – Nanotechnology, Geospacial Technology, Life Sciences, and Healthcare – that will plague employers for years to come.

Up until this point in her presentation, there wasn’t much to argue with – facts are facts.

Then the tide turned for me. It was her example of “one of the few great remaining training grounds” – the fast food industry. I’m not disputing that the industry isn’t doing a good job. But I find it depressing that she felt their efforts warranted such attention because the fast food training curriculum must cover these basics:

  • Punctuality is important.
  • Personal hygiene is important.
  • Anger management/conflict resolution.
  • When this boss tells you something, it isn’t a suggestion!

Is training workers to be punctual and clean something so compelling that a former Secretary of Labor feels it’s worthy of commendation? Has our education and training systems fallen so far that timeliness and cleanliness are significant achievements? When we’re talking about finding a way to ramp up the skills of workers so that we can compete effectively in a changing global marketplace, shouldn’t we be recognizing companies or industries that excel at training workers to think creativity, solve complex problems, manage virtual teams, or deliver outstanding customer service?

The state of our workforce may be improving but if training punctuality and personal hygiene is the best example of good job training we can offer, we will be seriously outmanned in our efforts to compete in a global economy.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.