Locus of control is a personality trait, and it's one of the most important things I listen for when I begin working closely with people. In a nutshell, people with an internal locus of control (LOC) accept responsibility for the things that happen to them at work. Internals can see the systemic influences on their behavior (e.g. poor policies, broken equipment, improper training) but they accept responsibility for helping to make things better. People with an external locus of control never accept responsibility for the bad things that happen to them or for overcoming the challenges they face. Any problem is always someone's fault, and any challenge is not their responsibility.
I got an e-mail from a reader of this website that asked for suggestions on how to assess LOC in a job interview. I have to admit that I am not an HR type, so I am not an expert on the hiring process. But I did some research and found a method I liked in a slick little book by Carol Quinn called "Don't Hire Anyone Without Me." In her book she has specific suggestions on how to assess locus of control, and the video above is my summary of her suggestions.
If this is something you are interested in, please take 4 minutes to view my video, or better yet, buy Carol's book. If you want to learn a little more about my thoughts on LOC, check out the links below. And as always, please leave a comment!