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Ask Motivational Fit Questions in the Hiring Process

December 6, 2012

puzzle fitThe most commonly ignored interviewing questions are ones that measure a candidates "fit" within the organization. This is typically referred to as job fit, motivational fit or person-environment fit. The research on this topic is clear - candidates who possess similar values and interests of the organization are less likely to turnover, less likely to be absent and have higher job satisfaction.

This is not a groundbreaking revelation and most of you reading this might be saying, "no kidding - of course employees would be happier if they actually enjoy the culture and work!" However the bigger question is how to measure this factor in the hiring process?

Related: 5 Interview Questions You Must Ask to Assess Motivational Fit

Very few of the organizations I work with on interviewing techniques use motivational fit questions (before we recommend that they should of course). This is easily the lowest hanging fruit in the interviewing process. Adding two or three few motivational fit questions is easy and will pay dividends in the long run given what they help to predict and the different they can make.

A motivational fit question could be as simple as asking "Tell me about the best job you ever had. What were your responsibilities? Is there anything you didn't like about it?” Questions such as this are, on the face, only slightly different than asking the candidate "How do you feel about the job – can you see yourself doing this?"

However there is one very key difference. Asking the candidates about their likes and dislikes puts the onus on the interviewer to determine if there is a good fit. The second question puts the onus on the candidate - and of course every candidate is going to say they like the job. Let’s face it they want a job offer.

Every interview, regardless of job level or type, should include motivational fit questions. They are an easy addition to your current interview and they provide great value.

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Paul Glatzhofer Paul Glatzhofer is the VP of Talent Solutions based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI Services LLC. He works primarily with organizations that are implementing global assessment and development systems at the leadership level. Paul’s work includes leadership development, leadership skills training, coaching, leadership and executive selection, turnover and ROI analysis, and ongoing feedback development.