Bridge Insights

You Can Count on These 5 Interview Questions to Find Dependable Professionals

Feb 9, 2021

Employee turnover comes at a very high cost to an organization. A lack of dependable, long-term employees can affect the integrity of institutional knowledge, lower employee morale, and dramatically increase operational costs.

If your workforce is suffering from a lack of reliability, the best thing you can do is address the issue before it becomes an issue–by screening for dependable employees in the interview.

Incorporating these 5 questions into your interview process will help you decide if your top candidate will be a reliable long-term asset to your team.

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1. Tell me about a time you had more work to do than the time allotted. What did you do?

Asking this question helps you understand how your candidate manages their time and resources. If they talk about prioritization and how they organize their day, this is someone you can depend on to regularly complete their work on time.

If a candidate’s answer is more in-line with doing as much as they can before 5:00, this might be a sign that their idea of a “job well done” focuses more on the hours they put in, and not the quality they put out.

Top performers have a strong sense of time-management and will see their tasks through with the same level of integrity from start to finish. They’re also not afraid to ask for help when they need it. You do not want an employee who is only going to complete a task halfway and regularly saddles their teammates with carrying their baton over the finish line.

2. Tell me about a time you made a mistake and how you fixed it.

This question allows you to understand how a candidate works through difficult situations. If they took responsibility, resolved their mistake, and took steps to prevent it from happening in the future, this is someone you can count on when faced with a tough task.

On the other hand, if they swept the situation under the rug, pointed fingers, and/or didn’t try to professionally grow from the situation, you may want to think twice before extending an offer.

3. When do you feel it is acceptable to make a last-minute call-off from work?

Life happens. Everyone must make an 11th-hour call into work from time-to-time. But calling off last minute is not something you want your employees to make a habit of.

A candidate’s response to this question will provide insight into how much value they put in their personal professionalism. Being able to rely on someone to physically show up to work also translates to how much you can rely on them to show up for their teammates in terms of workload.

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4. What are your long-term career goals?

When interviewing, it is important to determine if this role will be a long-term fit for the candidate or if they are using it as a placeholder until the next best thing comes along.  Of course, no one can force anyone to stay at a company for a decade, but if your new position doesn’t make sense in the context of their larger career goals, this is a big red flag your candidate is likely to jump ship when an opportunity that does make sense comes along.

5. Tell me about your work history.

When asking this question, try to drill down into what a candidate liked and disliked about each of their positions. Ask them what motivated them to leave and how they left. Was it a decision made in emotion? Did they provide notice? If it was over a specific issue, did they try to resolve the issue with their supervisor or management first?

Understanding their thought process while making the decision to begin a new job search will help you grasp how they handle themselves in times of conflict or when they’re facing challenges at work.

Additionally, from this answer, you can infer what they are looking for in their next role. Think about your company culture and what you have to offer. Does this match what the candidate is looking for? If you can provide what they need, they will feel fulfilled in their role which promotes longevity.


Hiring the right employees is crucial to your business.  It is important to figure out if your candidate will be a reliable and dependable worker, and if career advancement is the goal of their current job search.  Using these 5 interview questions will help you identify the professionals who will be dependable, contributing members to your team –and that’s something you can count on.