Work has the ability to suck the life out of you! This is especially so when the work involves significant physical or mental demands or takes place in a complex, challenging environment. Now, does the position you’re looking to fill fall into any of these categories? If so then aside from the usual qualities you want in a candidate, you need to assess one more—one that determines their ability to handle the pressures for their work. This quality is called tenacity or grit and here’s how hiring for grit can help you!


Hiring for Grit: What is “Grit”?

According to Angela Duckworth, a psychologist, and author of the best-seller “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance“, grit is passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, combining resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years, or even decades.

Simply put, grit is a person’s ability to persevere despite the presence of adversity. The road to success is never a straight line. It’s full of roadblocks and detours. A “gritty” person can pursue despite these and succeed.

More than that though, grit is also a key ingredient for innovation and creativity. These skills also need persistence, and people often underestimate the hard work that they require. After all, to turn an idea to an actual thing or concept needs tremendous research, multiple failed experiments, and countless improvements. Because of this, “grittier” persons are most likely to think outside the box and consider multiple solutions than just go through with their first idea and run with it.

Employees with grit are also more likely to develop themselves. They know that mastery of a skill doesn’t happen instantly. So, they will seek to improve their abilities, learn new skills, and grow in their role, especially if it aids them in achieving their goals.


Hiring For Grit: How to Identify and Measure It

Grit can be a strong predictor for success but it’s not easily identifiable and measurable. Past work experiences and technical skills are easier to discuss and assess, but soft skills such as hiring for grit gets tricky. Here are some strategies when hiring for grit:


Conduct a Behavioral Event Interview

Behavioral event interviewing (BEI) is a technique where the interviewer asks the candidate to describe a situation or an experience they had in a previous job. Conducting a BEI can help you avoid misleading interviews due to premature impressions since they may not be as polished as the traditional questions and answers are unrehearsed.

Ask a candidate how they acted when they experienced a challenge during their previous job. Then, get insights from their answers. If you’re interviewing a freshly-graduated talent with no experience, ask them regarding the problems they experienced in school.


Use an assessment that measures grit

The numerous research on grit has also given birth to scales that can be used for hiring like employment or prescreening assessments. In fact, People Dynamics just recently launched our very own Profiles Tenacity Assessment, an assessment that measures a person’s ability to persevere despite the presence of adversity and takes a closer look to other factors essential to an individual’s capacity to strive and succeed at long-term goals; including questions related to resilience, perseverance, and optimism. To learn more, please contact us

Measuring grit through assessments can:

  • Offer you a more objective view of a candidate through data-based reports.
  • Get and issue results faster with their automated scoring.
  • Save your time and labor since you don’t have to interview each applicant.


In her book, Angela Duckworth says, “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” Success can only be achieved through continuous perseverance and commitment. This is why grit should be carefully considered when hiring.