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The Trick to Measuring Motivational Fit During an Interview

November 7, 2017

measuring motivational fit

Your recent hire checked all the boxes. She or he had just the right amount of experience, you had a great conversation during the interview, and she or he passed all the background tests and was able to start just in time. But now, three months into the job, your new hire's performance is failing and she or he seems extremely unmotivated and you're wracking your brain to figure out how you didn't see this coming.

When making a hiring decision, one critical aspect to consider is the candidate’s motivational fit, which is the congruence between the candidate’s traits, beliefs, and values with that of the organization’s culture, norms, and values. Employees with high motivational fit will likely have higher organizational commitment and job satisfaction. However, measuring motivational fit can be a difficult task, so it must be done correctly. Read more on what motivational fit is and how it is important in hiring.

How Do You Measure Motivational Fit?

Motivational fit is commonly measured during the interview process: while the applicant and the interviewer are interacting, the interviewer can determine if the candidate demonstrates congruent values with that of the organization. 

However, here's the tricky part: measuring motivational fit during the interview process can be difficult due to its subjectivity. Accurate measurement depends on the interviewer’s perception of the organization’s values, goals, and characteristics. Interviewers may base their candidate fit judgments on their own personal attributes and experiences, meaning the interviewer might have an inaccurate understanding of the organization’s culture and values.

Competency Models Can Help!

In order to ensure an interviewer has an accurate perception of the organization’s culture, the organization can develop a competency model. A competency model is a collection of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that are needed for effective performance on the job. Other characteristics can include the individual attributes and values that are necessary to be successful in the role and the organization. Competencies related to motivational fit can be linked to an organization's values, goals, and strategies. To help you get started, here are 5 tips for implementing competency models.

Once the organization’s culture and values have been clearly defined, interview questions can be developed to measure those specific characteristics. Based on our research, we've suggested interview questions you must ask to assess motivational fit. If your interviewer is aligned with the competencies your organization has agreed upon, these questions will prove even more effective to your hiring strategy.

It is important that as an organization you do not just assume that every person has the same perception of the organization’s culture. Every department, job, and person may see things a little differently. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that interviewers have a clear and accurate understanding of what motivational fit factors are important within the organization so that they may accurately assess a candidate and make the right hiring decision.

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Cassandra Walter Cassandra Walter is a Consulting Associate located at PSI's Pittsburgh office. She holds a Master's degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. She works with clients across many different industries, including manufacturing, retail, customer service, and healthcare. Her areas of expertise include providing training and support for PSI’s applicant tracking system, as well as assisting clients with requests and questions regarding tools and processes.