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job seeker motivations

If you asked a hundred people what they want most in a career and their next job, you’ll likely get one hundred answers. But you can group those hundred answers into eight major types of answers. These are the primary motivations for job seekers.

They aren’t mutually exclusive, so someone might be mostly motivated by Status and Performance. These motivations are somewhat related, so it isn’t surprising, but it would be unusual to find someone motivated by Career (which tends to focus on compensation and advancement) and Support (collaborative work styles and work/life balance).

What’s interesting is that these are also the eight core focuses of a brand or job. That is, Goldman Sachs would want you to know that they are all about status. Yes, they have salary and benefits, but the reason one might choose their firm over others is that GS is usually consider “the top.” At the same time, someone might work for a B Corporation because of their focus on values. Again, there might be status and salary involved, but the primary reasons someone chooses a B Corp is because it is a company that has values baked into its charter.

Within a company, different departments and roles may attract differently motivated people. For example, few people join sales teams for the values and few people join HR teams for the innovation.

A good fit starts where an applicant’s motivations and the company’s reason for being match up.

Sadly, companies, because they hate the idea that a talented prospect walk away despite being a poor match, will attempt to appear to all motivations. Imagine a non-profit that touts its salaries and you can see how trying to appeal to all motivations can’t work.

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  1. […] next section is the situation space. This starts with the intersection of career stage and motivation. TMP Worldwide’s own brand research has stated with confidence that the single factor that […]

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