Manager? Recruiter? Stop Hiring For a Motivated Mindset

3 motivation myths that are costing you great candidates.

Hannah Kuspira


Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Have you been let down by the self-proclaimed “driven” employee that starts at your company and doesn’t perform well? You know, the ones who are “highly motivated”.

I bet you believe that the “motivated” candidates are the only ones worth hiring… but let me guess, this isn’t working for you, right?

So help me understand, why are North Americans obsessed with motivation?

Barely a day goes by when we don’t use motivation (or lack thereof) as a reason or excuse for our behaviours.

“I’m just not motivated to work out today”

“I’m not going to make that sales call”

“I just don’t feel like it”

You’ve said those things before. I have too. But why do we care so much about if we want to do something? Why don’t we focus more on why we want to do something?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines motivation as the condition of being eager to act or work. I define it as acting from a place of desire. But the belief that you need to have a motivated mindset to act, leaves you dependent on surface-level whims. Instead, you could be rooted in a deeper understanding of what is important to you, and follow through accordingly. When we wait for motivation, we undermine our self-trust.

Dear hiring managers, please hire for skills over motivation!

As an IT recruiter, I expect to hear a variety of programming languages, technical skills, and a propensity for problem-solving at the top of the “must-have” list. But without a doubt, a “motivated mindset” is a higher priority than skills to most hiring managers.

But it’s a terrible hiring criterion if you want low turnover and sustained growth. Surface-level motivation is a non-reliable metric that is unstable in all people.

Before you disagree with me and say that there are people who are motivated 24/7, try to name one. Many of you named yourself (don’t worry, I did too). Now ask yourself if you are motivated to complete…



Hannah Kuspira

I write to empower career-minded young people to live a life of prosperity through the pursuit of meaningful work.