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BY CAROL QUINN
There are two schools of thought. The first and more traditional one is that the interview comes first, the unmotivated employees are screened out, and only highly motivated employees are extended job offers. At least, they seemed highly motivated at the time of the offer. Once on board, many of these ‘good hires’ seem to go bad. Their motivation flails, they become disillusioned with the job and/or employer, and their job performance wanes as a result.
A second, emerging school of thought, is based on the concept that employers are not creating under performers, they are hiring them. Of course these new hires were impressive during the job interview and for a short time after they were hired. As on-the-job challenges and corporate imperfections come into play, the employee’s motivation seems to evaporate. The question that begs to be asked is “Are we really taking the wind out of the employee’s sail or did they have as much wind in their sail as we had thought when we hired them?”
This is an important distinction. The answer determines what we fix. Get this wrong and our fix offers little gain. After decades of taking the approach of motivating the unmotivated, how far have we come? Some Thought Leaders believe this approach has backfired by tolerating and even rewarding ineffective behavior. They go on to say that by shifting responsibility for employee motivation onto management there is little reason for employees to change.
Let’s take a look at the assumption that we are already hiring highly-motivated employees. First of all, approximately 80% of all interviewers have received no formal training. Regardless, most employers allow anyone with an appropriate job title to make hiring decisions. Does anyone else see the enormous potential for avoidable hiring mistakes in this scenario?
Next, let’s make sure we understand who the High Performers really are so we don’t misclassify anyone. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they are great at selecting employees then continue to share with me all of the problems they are currently having with getting their staff to do their jobs. The employees they’re calling High Performers need almost constant micro-managing to meet performance expectations. Hello? These aren’t the High Performers. That means you may not be as good at hiring as you think you are!!!
High Performers consistently go above and beyond while others can’t or don’t for whatever the reason. High Performers have an innate passion for the work they do so you don’t have to talk them into doing it. They already want to do it without you saying a word. This means someone did a great job hiring an applicant to do a job that’s right for them. High Performers also have an attitude that’s conducive to overcoming tough challenges and real-life, on-the-job obstacles. This translates into being more effective at achieving the desired outcome. Here’s something they don’t do. They don’t make excuses or place blame when their results fall short. They take ownership and learn from their experience so they can do better next time. These people are “internally” (or “self”) motivated. This means nobody has to light a fire under them.
When we say “hire the attitude”, it’s all about hiring people with an attitude that relentlessly pursues solutions. It’s an attitude that believes a good outcome is possible despite appearances to the contrary. To be clear, these aren’t the people who offer up a laundry list of reasons for why a goal can’t be achieved in advance of trying.
Here’s some essential insight about attitude: It forms early in childhood. As adults, employees don’t leave their attitude (good or bad) at home when they come to work - it comes with them. Employers don’t cause their employees to have a bad attitude even if they unwittingly accept blame for it. We don’t have the power to change another person’s attitude. It’s a popular misconception that bad management can alter an employee’s attitude (for the worse) when in fact it’s the employee who chooses their own attitude. True High Performers refuse to adopt an attitude that’s detrimental to their success despite the adversity. The bottom line is we only have the power to change our own…if we so choose. Here’s one more big bullet point: interviewers typically don’t know how to correctly assess an applicant’s attitude during the interview. Consequently, the employer never really knows if people with effective attitudes are being hired. It’s hit and miss. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the customer service industry. It’s a prime example.
Hiring highly motivated employees requires more than just sitting across the desk asking random interview questions. Interviewers need to be trained to be effective. Not just any training program will do. For example, motivation-based interviewing, or “MBI” for short, is a highly effective interviewing method because it enables the interviewer to assess all three of the components necessary to recognize a High Performer. Those three components are skill, passion, and attitude. MBI is not a complicated interviewing process. It also takes no extra interviewing time and it can be used to fill any job opening from entry-level to CEO. Once you learn it, you’ll never go back.
Imagine for a moment if more interviewers knew how to hire effectively. The initial school of thought - that we are already hiring High Performers and to create a maximum performance organization we must motivate those employees who have become unmotivated - would fall by the wayside. By continuing to believe that employers control their employee’s motivation by inadvertently taking it away and then giving it back again, we make employees ‘not responsible’ for their own successes and failures. By refusing to believe that unmotivated employees were hired, we make organizations dependent on advances in external motivational tactics as their only way to achieve greater success. Shifting our answer to this one simple question “Which comes first - The Job Offer or The Unmotivated Employee?” could be the catalyst that moves us a quantum leap forward. Foremost, organizations would reevaluate how well they are doing at hiring. They would evolve beyond selecting applicants based on their skill level alone. They would incorporate those additional components that enable all High Performers to achieve above-average results into their interviewing process. Not only would organizations hire more High Performers, their new hiring strategy would likely spill over to those already on board. Existing employees would be urged to look at the role their own attitude is playing in their ability to achieve. Both employee and employer would comprehend how an ‘ineffective’ attitude stifles problem-solving and undermines self-motivation, ultimately sabotaging both personal and corporate success. By encouraging the reality that power to create always resides within, rather than elsewhere, we inevitably help the unmotivated to become motivated.
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: LEARN MORE ABOUT MOTIVATION-BASED INTERVIEWING
YouTube video: What is MBI?
YouTube video: The Incredible Expanding Attitude
YouTube video: 5 Reasons Behavior-based Interviewing DOESN’T Work
YouTube video: Stop Asking BAD Interview Questions
Additional information, purchase MBI products & services: www.Hire Authority.com.
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Click here to learn more about the author CAROL QUINN.