What Is Your Intrinsic Motivator?

By: Matt Masters

Candidates become motivated to take a new step in their career because of either intrinsic or extrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators are rather straightforward: a position was eliminated within a company, it would be necessary to move to a different city to retain their position, the company has gone under, or any number of outside influences. Understanding intrinsic motivators requires a much more nuanced evaluation of a candidate and their progress within their career. Intrinsic motivators compel a candidate to make a change proactively, for a number of reasons we will elaborate on later. Because of the shift towards self-managed careers where employees are seen as stewards of their career rather than as strictly assets within a company, intrinsic motivators have become the prime motivating force behind job/company changes.

To fully understand the power of intrinsic motivators in compelling a candidate to change jobs, it is important to grasp the scope of intrinsic motivations. Examples include meaningfulness (is your current position worth the time and effort you put into it?), purpose (why are you here? Skills/certification/prestige), progress (prevalence of extrinsic motivators/resilience), choice (did they choose to hold this position, or is it a “chore”), challenge (this is particularly important to eHire’s IT recruiters), stability (this can be personal or corporate). It can be difficult to understand which intrinsic motivators are most compelling to a candidate, as different candidates will be motivated by certain motivators more than others. A good way to judge whether a candidate’s position is lacking certain intrinsic motivators is to find out whether they draw or expend energy at work. Energizing work gives a candidate more energy for life before and after the workday while encouraging the candidate to continue work at a high level.

There is no shortcut to understanding the specific motivators that drive a candidate the most, but this is why eHire strives to maintain meaningful relationships with each candidate, allowing us to achieve a greater understanding of what will allow us to place a candidate in a fulfilling position with a client. As a recruiter, we must strive to tactfully and prudently asses each individual candidate’s needs and desires while understanding that there are certain issues to be wary of. It is often in the candidate’s best interest to utilize a support group of trusted friends and to do diligent research on the company (although it is also our responsibility to provide them with this information). Most importantly, we should strive to help a candidate “Look for a Job without Getting Caught.” A solid understanding of intrinsic motivators is what will ensure that what they find is the right job.