We’re all aware that our industry knowledge, skills, abilities and accomplishments are critically important during a job interview. However, many of us don’t consider that there is one other variable in the mix that might keep a candidate from being hired.
What are Your Aspirations? What Motivates You?
Recently, I conducted a focus group with hiring managers and recruiters to determine what they most want to know about a candidate once they’ve determined that individual has the required skills. The majority of the group said they wanted to know what motivated the job seeker. What their aspirations might be.
This might seem a bit unusual to someone who isn’t in Human Resources and has never recruited talent. After all, if candidates have the required expertise and skills, what does it matter what excites them? If you look at it from a hiring manager’s perspective, the question makes perfect sense. After all, you may be a competent accountant, very detail-oriented. However, if you’re hired for a position that you feel is too demanding or boring, you won’t stay with the company for very long. If you’re the type of employee who is content to do the same job year after year, but the position you’re applying for is on a fast track to an upper management position, you will probably become frustrated at the demands made upon you, or outright overwhelmed.
Employee goals are as important to a well run company as candidate core skills.
Employers Want the Full Picture
- Self Motivation - To illustrate this trait, let’s go back to the employee who prefers to do the same tasks day after day, year after year. That individual is not self-motivated. He or she wants a set list of responsibilities. Once they’re complete, that’s it. There’s no thought given to how a task might be simplified or replaced with another, more efficient system. This kind of individual would never be good in a management position where action must be taken constantly to keep the business running smoothly, and change is ever-present.
That’s why a recruiter will ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “What makes you happiest at a job?”
- Positive Attitude - Someone who is simply getting through the day, collecting a paycheck and dreams about time off isn’t going to be fired up at work. These are the individuals who usually complain about additional responsibilities, any kind of change (unless it makes the job easier) or anything that upsets the status quo. Again, this type of employee would not be good in a management position.
Clearly, it’s important that you know what you want – and what you are comfortable with – before you go into the interview or even apply for the position.
You Need to Be Honest with the Hiring Manager and Yourself
If you’re not excited about climbing the corporate ladder, then don’t apply for positions that will lead to advancement, even if you are qualified. It won’t work out in the end. Either you, or the company, will realize it’s a poor fit. Don’t lie during your interview, stating that you’re a self-starter if you’re not. Or that you’re highly motivated to see the company succeed if all that you really want is a paycheck. The truth will come out with your performance. And a poor review will hurt your chances for the next position.
To succeed in a job or a career, you need to know what excites you, what you can live with and what you cannot. Use that as your guide in applying for positions and in answering the question of what truly motivates you.
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