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How to Screen Out Candidates With Attendance Problems

How to Screen Out Candidates With Attendance Problems

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

In response to a previous post from someone frustrated that her co-worker is chronically absent, one commenter asked:

If anyone has suggestions on how to screen for this issue of not-showing up for work, please let me know.

I work in a call center, most of the folks we hire know what that type of environment is. And yet we still end up terminating people on a regular basis for not showing up for work. Extremely frustrating!

As a side note, we do everything we can to make it a fun place to work and whenever we do hire we have people recommending their friends to apply so I like to think it’s not the environment.

The fabulous Jamie responded:

If there is a way to screen for those who are internally rather than externally driven, I am sure AAM knows it (I certainly do not).

I do think most performance problems, including going AWOL, come down to how people approach their jobs far more than the job itself. I temped for quite a while when I was starting out – and some of those jobs were awful. But I showed up on time and did the best job I could because I wasn’t doing it for them – I was doing it for me. I couldn’t abide people thinking I was a slacker or incompetent, even though I would never see them again. Hire someone who will do a good job because of their own ego, and not as a favor to the company, and then at least there will be consistency.

For what it’s worth, when I was on the market I would never apply to a place that claimed to be a fun place to work. I interpreted that (rightly or wrongly) as being lax and not performance oriented – and I personally have to be in a performance oriented environment to find any job satisfaction. I’m not implying that your workplace is lax – just that the wording might be a red flag to those of us who love the days the metrics are published and loathe the birthday cakes and company picnics.

Here are my thoughts on this:

First, no hiring process is perfect. No matter how thorough your screening processes, you can’t screen out attendance problems with 100% accuracy. However, there are a lot of things that you can do to minimize it:

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