Assess Motivational Fit With Just Three Essential Interview Questions

How important is it to assess motivational fit properly in the interview? Employees who are intrinsically motivated are three times as engaged as their counterparts.

Motivational fit is the degree of similarity between an employee’s expectations of what they’ll get from a job and what your company provides. Many companies have found motivational fit is the best indication of absenteeism, turnover and overall employee satisfaction. Determining motivational fit begins during your initial interview with a candidate, when you try to answer the ultimate question, “Will this person be satisfied, happy, and motivated working at my company?”

A strong motivational fit can be sorted into two categories: extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators include salary, benefits, schedule and work environment. Intrinsic motivators are less linear. They include the level of interaction between co-workers and the levels of intensity and autonomy inherent in the job.

How can you judge the motivations of your interviewees? These three questions will help you get there.

1. What was the best job you ever had?

According to a recent study, only 31.5 percent of employees in the United States describe themselves as actively engaged in the workplace. The same percentage of workers describe themselves as actively disengaged, leading to anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity each year.

Learning about the history of your candidate is essential. The more your company culture matches positive experiences in the candidate’s past, the more likely a successful interview will lead to an engaged employee.

Follow-up questions: What were your responsibilities? Was there anything you didn’t like? What made this particular job so enjoyable?

2. What was the worst job you ever had?

Money is an important motivator, but it isn’t what strongly motivates employees. After salaries reach $75,000 per year, improved engagement and happiness are shown to plateau. With so many companies turning to tuition reimbursement, affordable healthcare and paid maternity leave, employees expect more from their employers than a paycheck.

A negative experience at another company may land a candidate on your doorstep. If you can vastly improve their workplace experience at your company, you’ll have an actively engaged employee.

Follow-up questions: Was there anything you enjoyed about the position? What made the environment intolerable for you?

3. Can you describe your ideal management style?

Successful management is the key to intrinsic motivation. Since employees who are intrinsically motivated are three times more engaged in the workplace than employees who are extrinsically motivated, management style matters a great deal.

Managers with engaged employees care as much about their team members as they do about performance. They value and invest in talent. They also show genuine concern and care for their employees.

Follow-up questions: What qualities do you appreciate in a supervisor? What qualities do you avoid in a supervisor?

If your company can successfully deliver these qualities and match the candidate’s expectations for management, you can make a beneficial hire. The need for a strong motivational fit is inherent in the nature of hiring. You need an employee who will support, appreciate and improve your company.

At PMO Partners, we understand the importance of bringing the right candidate to your office. Contact our team today to learn how we can assist with your hiring needs.