In order to be successful not only at your workplace, but also in life, there are certain qualities a person should possess. These qualities can vary from patience, empathy, understanding, loyalty, and now added to the list- grit. So what is grit, and how do you know if you possess it?

Interview Questions to Assess Grit

Grit can be defined as the grit perseverance and passion for long term goals.

When you are looking to hire employees in your company, there are a few characteristics you are looking for in them. As important as it is for your potential employees to be tenacious, loyal and hard-working, these employees must also possess the quality of Grit. Many people seem to have goals, dreams and aspirations in life, but hardly a handful of these people will actually do what it takes to achieve these goals. You will have to exercise qualities of patience, motivation, resilience, and perseverance. These qualities make up what we call “Grit”.

Now you can understand why it is important for people to possess the quality of grit. The main motto of these people should be “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. So what should you look out for in a person, who you want to hire in your company, who you wish to possess the quality of grit?

The Main Characteristics of People with Grit:

1. Courage:

While it is not physically possible to measure courage, it is infact directly proportional to a person’s grit. Courage, rather a person’s ability to accept and manage losses is one of the characteristics of grit. A person with true grit and determination is not afraid of failure; rather, they embrace it as part of their learning process. While success and failure and two sides of the same coin; only those people who can be comfortable with the idea of facing some failures in life are the ones who end up succeeding.

When you are looking to hire a new employee into your company, courage is a trait you should be looking out for. While it may be true that you wish the best for your company; a certain amount of hard work, profits, success and stability. That being said, it is not unnatural for a company to take a few losses here and there. The employee you would like to hire in your company must showcase traits of courage, as this is directly proportionate to the persons level of grit. Courage to take risks, courage to lead the show every once in a while, courage to accept and embrace and unforeseen losses, and courage to learn from it and move on. Fortunately, grit and courage are traits which can be built, or learnt. The more courage you exercise, the more courage you built in you than when you first started off.

2. Conscientiousness: 

In simple words, conscientiousness means the ability to be meticulous, painstaking and careful. This too, is directly related to grit. In order to commit to long term goals, a person must be meticulous in his work. Attention to detail is a must, and this is a quality most people with grit easily possess. Thinking of dreams and goals are easy, everyone does it. But in order to actually follow through, it takes much more than the common crowd to actually do it. A person who plans on achieving long term goals must be careful in his steps. Risk taking is a part of any endeavour, but that too, must be well thought out. When hiring an employee into your company, he must possess the quality of conscientiousness. And you will find this quality to shine through in everyday, mundane tasks. You want to hire someone dependable, someone not only hard working but who can also be hard working under trying circumstances. This person, will possess the quality of grit.

3. Long term goals and Endurance:

Once again, a very simple concept to understand; just having long term goals in mind is not enough. You must follow through. And for this, you need endurance. Endurance to make it through the tough times and endurance to be focused, no matter how long it takes, to reach your goal. It is not necessary for a person to showcase their grit by showing resilience for goals set by other people for them. Set your own goals, and achieve them. Achieving short term goals too has its own rewards, but in order to achieve long term goals, a person requires patience and endurance. Both these qualities are extremely important in any company, and if your employee showcases these qualities, it will only be an asset for your company in the long run.

Interview Questions to Assess Grit in Employees:

1. Have you turned any of your dreams into reality?

As mentioned earlier, the main motto for a person with grit should be “ If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. Sometimes, the only thing keeping us from reaching our goals, is us. By asking this question to your candidates, you will be able to assess the person’s outlook towards life, whether they lean towards hard work and positivity or whether they are more of a pessimist or a realist. It is not enough to just have big dreams, you have to follow through your dreams and turn them into reality. In order to do this, you must be able to accept losses and take risks. In any business venture, you will be required to take calculated risks. The same goes for quests in your life as well. Whether your candidate was able to turn any of their dreams into reality is a true example of the level of grit they possess.

2. How have you dealt with failure? Have you been able to bounce back from it? If so, tell me how.

Failure and success are two sides of one coin. Nothing in life is fool proof, and in business ventures, you must be ready to take risks and follow through losses. If you are unable to accept a loss, you will find yourself stuck in the same place- no growth and no development.
When hiring someone as an employee in your company, be sure to ask about not only examples of success stories but also stories of failure from your candidates. How they were able to deal with their losses, if they had the endurance in them to continue, or did they abandon the project all together? Everyone has to be ready to suffer a few losses to take a few wins. If you are unable to bounce back from a loss, you are incapable of learning and adapting.

3. Tell me about a time you had a new idea at work, and how you implemented this idea. Did it work well with the other team members?

You want to hire someone in your company who is full of innovation, full of dynamism and always ready to accept changes. This question will help you assess an important quality in your candidate- are they silent workers who prefer to play by the rules? Or are they the creative ones, the ones who think outside the box, the ones who hate monotony?
How they were able to implement this new idea in their workplace will allow you to determine the leadership skills of that person. Are they the type to command others and ask them to follow instructions? Or are they able to manage a team harmoniously? Teamwork is the key  to success for any organisation, and just because a good idea came out of your head does not mean you will have an upper hand in the company. If your candidate is aware of this, he will make a better team player, and be a good fit in your company.

4. Describe a project that you had to work on for an extended period of time and how you stayed engaged?

This question will allow your candidates to tell you about the various projects they have worked on. It will also highlight a very important aspect of grit- patience and perseverance. Were these people able to engage themselves in a project that required extended periods of time and attention? Most people these days run after instant gratification, but to find those hand picked people who would actually go through an entire project of considerable length, just to see the end result, is rare. You want to hire a person who exhibits this quality. Your company will have to deal with all kinds of projects, some will be short and sweet and some will be a big ordeal. Does your new employee have what it takes to keep himself not only engaged but also an active member of this project? Find out before hiring your candidate to avoid any future surprises.

5. Do you keep a positive attitude during difficult situations?

Positivity is one of the most important characteristics of grit. It is essential to always maintain a positive outlook, even if situations tend to look bleak. Having grit means having the resilience and positivity inside you to know that after a little bit of rain, there will be a rainbow. Maintaining a positive attitude is one of the important traits of a good person you want to hire in your company. They will have to be ready to face challenges and even face bad days at work, but have the grit to be strong and move ahead, always keeping the main goal right in front of their eyes like a carrot on a stick.

6. Do you keep your eyes on the bigger picture even in challenging situations?

For most people, it is very easy to assume that one bad chapter means the end of the story. Grit and resilience means that you are aware of the bigger picture and do not get side tracked by losses, no matter how big they are. Even if you have to go backwards to take a loss, it is essential to be able to get yourself to continue moving forward, in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

7. Are you aware of what your priorities are? What action do you take to achieve them?

When your vision is clear, is it easy to reach your goals. In the face of adversity and setbacks, it is very easy to lose sight of what is actually important. Being in touch with yourself and your goals is important here. This is of utmost importance to your organisation as well. Your employee should be aware of his priorities, and keeping those priorities in mind, only then take any decisions or any step forward. After all, every step that they take is a direct reflection on your company.

8. Do you have the skills to help you manage your stress?

It would be unrealistic for anyone to think that any job would not have a certain amount of stress. While stress levels can vary depending on job to job, having some amount of stress can actually be good for your employees. It serves as a motivating factor, and can push employees to work harder and achieve targets. That being said, as important as it is to have a certain amount of stress at the workplace, it is even more important to be able to manage that stress. There are certain people who can be seen to give up at the slightest amount of stress. This is not a good quality to have. While your employers are aware of the stress levels present in the organisation, they also want you to be able to manage your stress properly. Healthy living habits, proper routine in life, exercises, and eating well can help alleviate stress. Other than that, is it always good to have a few hobbies in hand to practice outside the workplace.

When hiring employees into your company, it is important for grit assessment, it is also important to periodically provide positive reinforcements to cultivate that grit in your employees. After all, with great grit, comes great responsibility!