By talking to several HR managers and studying hiring processes for Meritocracy, we are progressively learning how motivation is an overwhelmingly strong driver of hiring decisions. We thought it was important, we didn’t think it was THAT important. We daily observe very motivated “normal” people succeeding in “target companies”, because their strong motivation led them to do anything they could to get hired.
However, candidates’ application behavior, especially among newly graduates, seems to be more like “spray and pray”, that is, apply to anything possible. This is a very counterproductive approach, even in terms of statistics.
Even I started very soon to apply to many jobs, when I looked for a job for the first time and with little motivation to embrace a specific company vision. I didn’t know anything about the companies I was applying to, nor their history, nor their goals, nor their culture; I was just applying. I didn’t have strong motivation for every single one of them, and I was right not having it: so right that when a couple of them interviewed me I didn’t liked them. In a nutshell, I could have done a more profitable use of my time.
In our opinion there are two reasons why motivation matters that much. The first is that “true”motivation is always intimate. It comes from the great effort of listening to yourself and understanding what you are really interested in, without caring anymore about what people/your family/your boyfriend/girlfriend expect from you. This clarifies your view and leads you to choose the right companies to apply for, the ones for which you know you can make the difference. If you listen to your heart, I bet you’ll be surprised by the results, and I bet getting a job will become easier than you think. If I would have only asked myself clearly what I wanted from my job, and listened to my own answer, probably the list of companies I applied to would have been different, and definitely shorter.
The second reason is that when this kind of motivation exists, HR managers will feel it, and they will feel it because you will do anything in your power to let them notice it. Believe me, when you receive a job application from someone deeply and intimately motivated, you feel like you just solved your hiring problem.
Especially if you recently graduated, nobody expects you to exactly know how to do your job in advance. An hiring manager, in order to make a decision, will just forecast your ability to deal with unforeseen situations. In doing that, obviously there is a part of skills that you shall have acquired in the past, but the fuel that will make you commit the 110% of what you have is just motivation. There’s no acquired skill that can substitute to motivation.
Please, be sure to avoid my (and many people’s) mistake: motivation comes much before application.
At Meritocracy we let you free to “spray and pray” if you so wish; you can do your first application with just two clicks, and all the following ones with one more click. However, we created extremely insightful “company pages” exactly to allow people to study companies “at an intimate level” before they send an application. Our goal was to “smooth” the application process: put people inside the company before they even applied to the job, let them understand a company’s vision, encourage them to ask themselves whether that was the place for them to be or not. In essence, help them getting a deep-rooted motivation.
Being choosy, actually, is not just an approach, it is the way to get the job you will not want to leave, and for which you will become so good that it will not want to let you go.