How to know a potential employees drive and motivation

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While most prospective employees think that potential employers will mostly look at their attitude and experiences before considering giving them a job, results from a recent survey tell a different story. According to the study done by Futurestep, what matters most to employers when hiring is the potential employees’ drive and motivation.

In the poll that asked several executives what they thought was the most important factors to consider when hiring new staff, only 16 percent said attitude while only 24 percent suggested experience. This is contrary to what many people might believe, that employers mainly consider attitude and experience when hiring. 27 percent of the respondents said they would mostly consider a candidate’s skills while up to 33 percent of the respondents suggested the employee’s motivation and drive.

You are probably wondering what motivation and drive mean in this context. Consider, for example, a potential employer that wants to achieve bigger responsibilities and more status in the workplace. Such a kind of person is power-driven, and this would be a right kind of motivation especially if the workplace is competitive. They will want to work harder so they can out-compete the others to, say, a promotion. However, such an individual would not work well in a relaxed and collaborative environment with minimum competition.

However, finding out what is behind a person’s motivation is one of the biggest problems employers face. This is because unlike other qualities that you can just read off their application letters and resumes, drive and motivation aren’t written, they are intrinsic qualities. But the good news is, there are ways you can use to uncover an individual’s motivation.

1. While on the interview, asking the right question will help.

Besides the usual questions create and ask random questions that will you uncover motivations. For instance, ask them what accomplishments they achieved in their previous jobs, what motivated them into leaving their former jobs, what they expect in a workplace, what makes them happy in a job and why they had to acquire the particular skills they have.
You will get various answers, from “I felt unfulfilled,” to “I was curious about this new field,” and “I wanted more opportunity to unveil my full potential.’ Be sure to ask more intelligent follow-up questions, and this way, you will have an idea what motivates them.

2. Do some prior reference checking.

This is one of the easiest ways to know what drives an individual. Consider reaching out to their previous employers and ask them about the candidate. The information you get will undoubtedly be useful in figuring out what their motivation is.

3. Social media will come in handy.

Monitoring your potential employees’ social media persona can prove worthy. Social media networks such as LinkedIn can give you insights on a person’s drive and motivation. 

For instance, people who often post about their accomplishments can be considered highly competitive. Those that frequently share valuable information with others and readily guide others and answer questions can be the collaborative and helpful type. They can also be considered as status-driven. On the other hand, there are those that will show curiosity over new developments in, say, industry or new trends. These are probably innovators, and they can also be having the motivation to learn.

4. Look at their work history.

Naturally, you expect a self-driven and self- motivated person to have moved up the ranks if they have stayed in a job for a long time. Look to see whether they ever had any promotions. Also, find out whether they frequently changed jobs and if this is the case, whether it was for advancement. You don’t want to hire someone without any motivation, do you? 

5. Ask your friends or people that know them.

You probably have your professional network contacts, and perhaps they are the people that recommend a person to you when you have to fill a position. Consider asking them about what they think drives and motivates the individual they recommend. If they have worked with the proposed candidate before, they would be better placed to give you answers.
Also, there could be people that know them but are not in your professional contacts. Consider inquiring from them too.

6. Ask the candidate about their self-development.

Find out what the candidate is doing out there (especially if they have been unemployed for a while) to improve themselves. It could be a side hustle or just some charity work. Ask them what motivates them to do what they do. Try to know their outside interests. The information they give you can help you uncover what drives them.

7. Be sure to ask them about their challenges and failures.

People often face challenges in their workplace every other day. In most cases, those that have some innate drive and motivation will usually move faster to solve the problem and move forward. Asking the potential employee about the biggest challenges they have faced and how they pushed through them can give some insights. What significant obstacle did they overcome in their previous jobs? What steps did they take? 
Why did they choose to take such action?

8. On the general, while interviewing them, study their nonverbal communication.

While what the candidate tells you can be a key factor in determining whether they have any drive and motivation in the first place, their nonverbal communication is also as important. While they talk, look for a sense of enthusiasm and engagement. A motivated candidate will be confident, looking you in the eye as you speak and reminiscing with humor and very obvious involvement. Those with little or no motivation will show little or no enthusiasm. While it is possible they might be having a bad day or just discouraged; you don’t want to take chances.

Often as you keep working with people for some time, understanding motivation and drive comes just naturally. This knowledge has proven to be critical in developing new employees, retaining the good ones and getting rid of the non-performers. You would, for instance, know that a promotion would keep a good status-motivated employee while a salary increment will keep the one motivated by money. While motivation isn’t the only factor you should consider when getting new employees, be sure to include it among the major ones.

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