Will you love the job? Motivation.

There are only three questions in a job interview, getting at strengths, motivation, and fit. See The Only Three Job Interview Questions, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan or the companion posts on strengths and fit.

Interviewing for Motivation

Interviewing for motivation is much less straightforward than interviewing for strengths. Part of the problem is that it's hard to put your finger on what really motivates someone. The other part of the problem is that interviewee's will have a bias to come across as motivated even if they aren't sure. While they may not be sure they want to do the job, they are generally motivated to get you to offer them the job.

On one level, motivation is born of

  • How activities match a person's likes/dislikes/ideal job critera and
  • How the job will help them progress towards their long-term goal.

On another level, people strive for happiness. My working theory of happiness, born out by deep analysis of a very sophisticated Harvard survey, is that happiness is good. Actually, it's three goods: Good for others, good for me, good at it.

Good for others: This is about finding meaning in the work (impact on others, match with values). People that care about this want a share in shaping the destiny of the firm (influence, being informed)

Good at it: This is about the match of activities with strengths, and resources (support and time). Over time, some people care about employability (learning, development, resume builder)

Good for me: This is about near term pleasure (enjoyable work/activities, fit with life interest). Compensation is also a factor (monetary, non-monetary rewards, recognition, respect)

Advice for Interviewers

Heidrick & Struggles' Kevin Kelly had some helpful perspective on this. He told me that he likes to ask two questions to get at motivation:

1) "What gets you out of bed in the morning (other than your alarm clock)?".  This helps him get at what's important to people now.

2) "Talk about some of the most significant memories you have had throughout your career and what it is that got you through those times either good or bad."  This helps him get at patterns and trends.

Advice for Interviewees

Figure out what makes you happy. Then look to find and explain matches between what you would be doing in the role and those things.

Be ready to deal with concerns that you may be over-qualified for the job. This requires an interview judo response:

I'm concerned that you may be over-qualified for this job.

I am – if you want the organization to stay the way it is. You'd be hiring me to take it to the next level. I'm not interested in the job the way it is. I'm interested in the job the way it's going to be.

See Rich Boughram's review of his top 5 books for interview prep

Comments

  1. Hi
    Just to say I really enjoyed the post and You Tube Clip. I couldn't agree more lets cut out the games and get to the nub of what's going to secure a great candidate for the organisation and a great job for the candidate
    Many thanks
    Yours
    Charlie

  2. Benedita Trigo says:

    Very interesting. It´s true. You are only good for the job if you breath it, you are really in it. Love it.
    BGT

  3. michelle says:

    This is the best articles I've ever read before. I really enjoy it.  Thanks so much!
     
    Michelle

  4. Tushar Nanda says:

    This is indeed a great information which notonly will reduce nervousness in the interview butalso play a vital role in accomplishing the interview.

  5. Sharon Dyer says:

    I agree with Michelle (February 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm), its a fantastic article.  I will be sharing it with colleagues.
    Thanks  - and more please.
    Regards,
    Sharon, London

  6. Sharon Dyer says:

    PS:  I've been asking myself  in the context of my own job and jobs I've done in the past  "would I hire me?".  Londoners would call this self-analysi as "having a word with yourself", and people who really care about what they do and thier impact on others regularly "have words with themselves" to improve and refine their skills – whether your hiring, coaching and mentoring particularly young people.

  7. Anna says:

    This is the best articles I've ever read before - The same from me. Thanks a lot.

  8. don says:

    Hi
    The one thing we seem to forget is that Gen Y sees an interview as very much a two way process. If you, as an employer, want to hire a candidate you'll have to sell your business to him/ her as much as they will need to sell themselves to you if they want your job – so be ready to answer some probing questions too! Don

  9. Agula Joseph Ogoror says:

    Simply amazing writing. 

  10. Joan says:

    This is a great reading as well as a good tips. Thank you very much.

  11. Luisa says:

    Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Only Three Interview Questions, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan or the companion posts on motivation and [...]

  2. [...] There are only three questions in a job interview, getting at strengths, motivation, and fit.  See The Only Three Job Interview Questions, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan or the companion posts on strengths and motivation. [...]

  3. [...] can’t find anything to love about the job, it’s best not to fake it, but as Bradt points out, motivation doesn’t have to come from loving the impact of the work. You might be motivated [...]

  4. [...] Will you love the job? Motivation. [...]

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