How to nail motivational fit in an interview

Setting your sights on the right roles in the right companies

4 min read

October 2021

Woman with clasped hands in a video interview

In a very competitive job market, employers aren’t just looking for someone who can do the job, but someone who wants to do the job. Motivated employees perform better and stay in a role longer, which is why it’s so important to employers.

So, what exactly is motivational fit? Think of it along the lines of what you expect to get out of a job aligning with what the organization (or role) provides. As Talent Advisors, we spend a significant amount of time exploring this topic in the hopes that we can set candidates up for success. We understand that determining the degree to which those two things match will play a big part in whether or not an employee will stay in any given job.

How can you show that this job provides that motivation for you? I would encourage you to spend time thinking about how you would answer questions regarding what motivates you, what your career goals are – short and long term and why you chose to apply for a particular role. The Talent Advisor and Hiring Managers want to learn more about you, how this role fits into your plan and assess if you are sincerely interested in the job. We make every effort to coach our candidates to do their research on Progressive and the role before their interview. Extra prep is one of the ways you can improve your chances for a second round of interviews, or a job offer with Progressive.

To put the polish on your interview prep, I think it’s important to spend some time thinking about fit from more than one angle. Making a career change isn’t just about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role and the opportunities it can provide short and long term. It’s also about the culture of the organization as well as ensuring you’re positioned in a place that offers you a level of personal satisfaction. Here are three ways to approach motivational fit and how it can relate to your next “potential” career move.

Job fit

I’ve found that thinking about your career accomplishments can not only help you prepare for an interview but can also help you judge whether the job fit is right for you. Ask yourself questions like, “Do similar opportunities exist in the role I’m considering? How does the company reward success and does that resonate with me?” Without the right job fit, you won’t experience as much happiness and success as you deserve nor will you achieve your true potential.

Organization fit

At Progressive, I often coach candidates to ask members of the interview team how they would describe the culture here. Reason being, you’ll likely get different answers with a lot of underlying themes that provide a great window into our culture. At Progressive, you’ll get to learn about the culture through the eyes of employees who have been around for less than five years and those who have spent more than two decades here. At that point, it’s my sincerest hope that candidates have enough information to make an informed decision about our culture and whether it’s right for them. I would encourage you to spend some time ahead of interviews thinking about the kind of culture that motivates you because you want to make sure it’s one you’ll enjoy.

Location fit

If the role you’re considering is based in a specific location (versus being virtual or remote), making sure it’s a fit geographically is just as important—if not more important—than culture and job fit. I’m going to make the argument that if you don’t like the area that you’re living and working in, you’re not going to stick around. Do your research ahead of time to ensure it’s a place that you think you and your family will enjoy. Showing the enthusiasm for the city as much as the job will help the interviewer see that you’ve not only done your research, but you’re passionate about the role enough to do that research.

These are all questions that will help you show your motivation for a role and company during an interview. It will also help you gut-check your choice to move forward and if you’re setting your sights on the right roles in the right companies. Making a career change is a lot of work and you want to make sure that you’re spending your time focusing on those opportunities that offer the right fit—whatever your definition.

Alexandra Russ is a Senior Talent Advisor at Progressive Insurance. She is a highly motivated recruiting professional with more than a decade of experience identifying the best and brightest talent to join our team.

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