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How to know in just One Question if a Candidate is Motivated

By Alex Huete | 18/01/17


Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When a person is motivated in the work environment, as a rule, he or she performs much better. In addition, on many occasions he/she is more committed to the organization.

Have you ever realized that a good recruiter can pave the way for a company that is seeking compromised workers? In his hands is to hire people who have a high level of motivation before entering the company.

An applicant with a high level of motivation for working in a company should start with advantage in the selection process over others. If that applicant is incorporated, most likely his degree of motivation will stay high once inside. In addition, the probability of having a committed employee is much greater if the employee is motivated from the start.


“Difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” — Jimmy Johnson, football coach

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The secret is to know what drives motivation

In a recruiting process it is possible to detect the causes that lead the applicant to be interested in joining the company. On the other hand, the recruiter can work out if these motives line up with the business intentions. This is critical in order to avoid future disagreements.

Therefore, on the interview to a possible employee, the recruiter should get an answer to the following two questions:

  • What reasons lead the candidate to change jobs?
  • What does he or she value the most from a job?

This information can be extracted in several ways. The most immediate one is to ask directly. In its defect it is possible to make a question that besides answering the previous two, gives us a quite complete insight of the candidate’s work history. The question would be: "why have you had X number of jobs in Y years?"

Keep in mind that there is nothing inherently positive or negative about changing jobs. Only the reasons behind those changes should be relevant when determining whether hiring is performed.


How can we detect the motivation level in just one question?

There are many ways to deduce the degree of motivation of an aspirant to a job. Each recruiter has his own quirks to find this out. Even so, we want to share a method that has caught our attention for being very complete.

This method has been extracted from a popular blog called "Ask the headhunter". Nick Corcodilos, author of the blog and headhunter, presents a very intelligent approach. His approach is to consider the candidate interview as the first day of the candidate's work. Nick suggests to ask candidates how do they plan to do the job; a question that many recruiters do not dare to ask.

In order to get a good response from the interviewee, it is highly advisable to give notice of this task well in advance. Likewise, it is desirable to be clear about what is expected of him or her. The ultimate goal is for the person to provide us with a series of steps - conveniently argued - that he or she would take to solve the company's problems. Although the data on which his proposals are based might be inaccurate, the candidate should defend them intelligently.

Thus, if the candidate demonstrates a remarkable understanding of the organizational culture and the competitors - and establishes a plan to solve the company's problems and add profits to the income statement - you already have many compelling reasons to hire him or her.

This question requires an exhaustive research and this will show us the candidate’s motivation level. Someone who really wants the available job will offer a complete answer. On the other hand, someone who is not really interested will be vaguer. Also the proposals given by the candidates are value information about their business knowledge and can help us to predict how well this person is going to line up with the organization.

Because the task of research is laborious, with this question it is possible to immediately distinguish those people with a high level of motivation from those who do not have it. In addition, the proposals offered by the applicants are valuable information to evaluate their knowledge and possible fit with the company.


What about you? Do you use any methodology for measuring candidates' motivation before hiring them?

Share your knowledge with us :)


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