Screening Candidates: Are they loyal?

When screening or interviewing a candidate, you probably have your list of go-to questions to identify people who are best suited to the job. It might sound something like this: Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to work for us? Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to contribute to a team project. And so on. You will likely gather pertinent information to help you make your hiring decision but will it be enough to truly identify the stand-out candidates?


Outside of the candidate’s education and work experience, consider what is most important to you in an employee. Loyalty is often a consideration, which can be probed in various ways. Longevity at a company can definitely be a sign of loyalty however alternatively, it could also identify a lack of drive or complacency.

In general, 2+ years at a role shows that the candidate has some staying power. Gently probing why they left each role will confirm whether they left roles due to a lack of future advancement opportunities, conflicts with other employees/management or perhaps boredom.

Leaving a role isn’t always a bad thing, as it can show that an employee enjoys learning and wants to advance to a role with more responsibility. If after a couple of years the current employer cannot offer opportunities for growth, it may be time to move on. Lack of advancement is the number one reason that employees leave companies so can you really fault an employee for leaving for a new challenge? Not really.

How to Evaluate

Other ways to evaluate loyalty and values can be how they leave an employer. How much notice did they give? Two weeks is the norm for non-management roles, however, more notice if often given if they have a higher level of responsibility for the operation. It can show a candidate’s dedication to their soon-to-be former employer if they wish to give 3-4 weeks notice for their Head Brewer role. Even though you as the new employer will have to wait a bit longer for their start date, you too would appreciate that extra notice if he/she left your employ.

Notice Period

A question surrounding how they spent their notice period can also be insightful. Did they spend time transferring knowledge to other employees? Did they document the idiosyncrasies of the role that only they know? Those gems that are locked in their head and need to get transferred to paper or another human. If this isn’t done, it could be a sign of a less than amicable split if he/she isn’t concerned about how things will function properly when they depart.

Of course, each scenario is unique and not black and white. Asking a few questions to find out why they left, how they left and what the relationship is currently with former employers can tell you a lot about your future employee. The main goal is to ensure that he/she displayed professionalism in the departure, regardless of why they left past employers.


Post by: Lynn McIlwee