The best employees are self-motivated—those who are driven and passionate about what they do. An organization with motivated workers is better placed to improve its operations and reach its goals.

While the manager is responsible for motivating and training employees, it also falls upon the employee to stay driven and passionate, right from the get-go. It’s a plus, therefore, if the recruitment team lands candidates who are self-motivated in the first place. In fact, 17% of new hire failures are related to issues of motivation.

Here are some ways to identify driven individuals from a huge pool of applicants.

Use the Interview Questions that Reveal Motivation

The candidate interview is a straightforward way of finding out a person’s level of motivation. So, ask the candidate the things that motivate them to work hard and ask them to illustrate examples.

Exploring an applicant’s past work experience can offer insight into how driven he or she is. Keep an eye out for instances where he or she took on responsibilities outside their job description, like putting in extra hours just to meet the deadline. Look out, too, for instances where he or she had the greatest feeling of accomplishment. Was the candidate happy for just meeting the deadline, or was he or she happy about creating an impact for the stakeholders?

You could also look into the future that the candidate sees in your company. For instance, you can ask him or her what they would do on the first day of work. The applicant’s answer is a goldmine for insight.

It will show how keen and eager he or she is to work, how much initiative he or she has, and how he or she visualizes themselves on the job. If you get an enthusiastic response, there’s a high chance that the candidate is motivated.

Pay Attention to Body Language as Much as Spoken Words


If what the candidate says is positive, but he or she looks uncomfortable and ill at ease, they might not be as motivated as they claim to be. The actions and the statements of a truly driven individual are in sync. So, on top of listening to what an applicant says, you must decode what their body language is trying to say, too.

Recruiters swear by a certain “sparkle” in the eyes of the candidate. As visual beings, people are wired to lock eyes with others and establish a connection with eye contact. The “sparkle” can’t be measured or described, but people—recruiters, most of all—see it. It shows that the person is eager to be part of the company. Moreover, the whole body is immersed in the conversation, too. Their torso and head face you, and the candidate brings his or her body and feet closer to you to demonstrate that they are fully present in the moment.

Related post: How to Confidently Navigate a Career Change

Skill and experience are formidable credentials, but without motivation, a promising candidate might not be as promising as he or she seems. Click To Tweet

Skill and experience are formidable credentials, but without motivation, a promising candidate might not be as promising as he or she seems. So, on top of a glowing resume and recommendations, watch out for the signs that he or she is driven and willing to do what it takes to succeed.