Insights to help you build an extraordinary team.
Early in the conversation with a prospective candidate, I want to get to the heart of what drives them.
Of course, I ask the question “What motivates you?” at some point in the interview (I also corroborate this with a candidate’s references), but throughout the interview I am listening carefully to their answers to other questions – and to their questions – to gain insight into what makes this person tick. I compare all the other information against the response to the “motivation” question to see if it all matches up.
The best way to find out what really motivates someone is to take a look at the factors that influence how they make decisions and choices.
Here are the questions that I ask BEFORE I ask “What motivates you?”
Finding out the reasons for leaving jobs is standard in interviewing, but in this case, the purpose is to gain insight into motivations. In walking through the resume, find out what attracted the candidate to each job – and why he or she left – with your antennae up for what this tells you about the factors that influence important career-related decisions for this individual. Find out what happened (or didn’t happen) between the time they started and the time that they left that caused them to part ways.
If you see discrepancies between the responses, then try to find out if something happened to change their motivations — such as personal or professional growth or some sort of significant life change, however, note that base motivations don’t change as often. If a person is motivated by achievement, or by making a difference, or solving big problems, or by a sense of security, this may take on variations, but you will see a common thread that highlights this. On the other hand, discrepancies may point out that the person just isn’t very self-aware, or they are saying the things they think you want to hear. This does happen in interviews.
What do you do with this understanding of the person’s motivations?
I am not encouraging you to become an amateur psychologist, but rather to ask the right questions and to pay attention to the implications of what an interview reveals. For each of us, our motivations influence how well we perform in our work and the strength of our commitment. Building a winning team requires hiring people who are firing on all cylinders and who have the greatest potential for thriving in your company. Thriving people build a thriving company. Right?