Why and How You Should be Hiring Self-Motivated Employees

Self-motivation by pure definition alone means having the initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without prodding or supervision. Nothing means more to a remote team manager in these unprecedented times than having employees who can work hard without the need for close supervision. Because once hired, these self-motivators will not only get the job done in a timely fashion, but will save a manager and teammates up to 20 hours each month by not having to cajole or remind them to complete their work. Imagine if the same could be said about our teenage children??

The importance of hiring a Self-Motivator

Quite simply, a self-motivated employee adds value by producing more output and meeting more deadlines. They look beyond the bare minimum of what is required. Since these individuals work consistently and relentlessly without any idle time, they help managers reduce hours devoting time to resolve work problems, having to remind them of upcoming deadlines or coaching them to produce greater effort. Self-motivators do not require hand holding or need constant recognition and praise. 

How to find and attract these candidates

Employee referrals can be the best way to target these potential hires. Proactively asking your own top performers and self-motivated employees to seek out and refer those with similar work ethics can be an easy approach.

You can also attract them by mentioning “self-motivated” specifically in the job posting. Smart candidates will make sure these types of identifying traits appear in their resume or cover letter. Recruiters can also request examples as part of the application process. 

Assessing the candidates

Being able to identify self-motivated applicants is as easy as searching for the right keywords and phrases when scanning LinkedIn profiles and online resumes. Words like “driven”, “self-starter”, “requires little supervision” and “conscientious” are good starts.

Once the interview process begins, have the candidate rank their qualifications. If self-motivated is not mentioned in the top five, they may not be.

During the interview, peel the onion back on their accomplishments. Ask them for specific examples of where they took initiative to do more than required without being asked. Hopefully, a pattern will emerge on how they went the extra mile.

Ask peers and references for key attributes about the prospects, again ranking these characteristics to see if self-motivation is at the top.

Self-motivation is engrained in a person’s core temperament. It is not taught and the candidate cannot be trained. This person is independent, persistent, and competitive. They approach work with a sense of urgency and thrive in an environment that allows for freedom. 

As the work environment continues to change and many being hired now are thrown directly into remote roles where working independently is the norm, this trait should be the most sought after.

Self-motivation is that inner drive pushing you to keep going on tasks because you want to, not because you were told to. Simply put, every manager’s dream employee.

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