Moving motivators in job interview.


Moving motivators is an excellent exercise to go over what drives your colleges/employees/team members. It is about the individuals, about their aspirations, their goals, and whatever really matters to them. Out of several models and characteristics, Jürgen Appelo selected ten crucial traits which form the Moving Motivators model. By applying this model within our organizations, we have the opportunity to set up the conditions to increase the chance of people being motivated.

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Now, what gives Moving Motivators a completely new dimension, is the fact that several companies began applying them at job interviews!

When hiring a new member of the crew, it surely helps to know what are the factors, within a business context, which drive this potential college to give his best at work.


Some aspects to consider when applying Moving Motivators at job interviews:


    Involve the future employee in an easy going conversation, before bringing Moving Motivators on the table. Maybe the very first interview is not the best moment for this exercise! At the second interview, the potential employee may feel already familiar with the environment and there is a higher possibility that he lays back.


    Create a safe environment for the Moving Motivator exercise. During the interview, honesty is key, but the ‘new kid on the block’ has to get the feeling ‘I can be myself at this place’.


    As an interviewer, be the first to do the Moving Motivator exercise. This will allow the potential employee to see how it works, and, by sharing some insights about yourself, makes it easier for the would-be college to imitate you!


    Try different set ups for the Moving Motivators, so that there is a chance to play them from different perspectives: the future college can set them up considering the priorities of his private life, or maybe present them in order of relevance regarding his current job, or even highlighting the modifications what moving to a new company would bring into the actual order.



In interviews, at some point we pull out the moving motivators cards and ask candidates what their motivators are.

At the beginning we ask everyone if they know the dynamics, and if so, what do they know, how have they applied it and in what contexts have they done it. Later we explain again the dynamic and above all what is the purpose of the dynamic: Help them identify their motivators. We do not judge or draw conclusions based on their motivators, we just want to get to know them better through the dynamics.

We then challenged candidates by moving or removing motivators and asking how it would affect them on a specific project they were involved in. You contemplate their reactions, talk with them, help, strengthen ties in case they finally join.

It gives you a prism of colors and reactions where you deepen not only in technical knowledge but also in what soft skills and motivations you have for change.

We explain the purpose of moving a motivator or removing it from a resilient point of view, discussing it with the person. What happens if, due to project needs, for a period of time, motivator X does not apply in the context? Or did you not have that motivator? What would it mean to you? What feelings would it provoke in you? Could you control or mitigate them? What would that do to you? We simulate limited scenarios that can happen in a context, that have happened in the past. By hand we say that a judgment is not made nor will it be, because what we want is to learn with them how to deal with possible future situations, anticipating as much as possible creating the best possible contexts.



The main advantage of the dynamic is to get to know each other and to get to know people from the point of view of their motivators, their desires, dreams, where they come from and how to help achieve them. Very rarely is it dealt with in such a clear way as in the dynamic, simply with very closed questions such as "What motivates you to change? or Why would you want to work with us? In this way, both parties see the pros / cons with the motivators and it is easier to see if they fit or not and how to help in all cases if the candidate is the right one for the position being interviewed Many times he may not be the right one for one position but for another in the same company and this technique can allow you to identify those skills or motivators necessary for that hidden job in the organization that has not been brought to light with the candidate.



The problem can arise when the answers are not as expected by the interviewer and can "take advantage" to attack. It must be carried out from an impartial perspective, of collaboration and co-creation, not judging the person. Any judgment that has to be made will be made in conjunction with all the information gathered from the interview, not because of the dynamics.



Moving Motivators is a great technique, which can be apply both in your daily work, team improvement or as a hiring tool. It is crucial though, for people to be honest and transparent, to secure a safe environment.

The application in our selection processes has served for managers to see how the candidate fits in with their teams, not only on a technical level but also on a personal and motivational level.



 As a facilitator, every time I perform the dynamic with someone I discover nuances, on many occasions in the person who performs the dynamic, it initially provokes a feeling of surprise by being aware of their intrinsic motivators, many times for the first time. I try to accompany with coaching in some moments with questions, what do you feel before this motivator in this order? What makes it so important to you? On several occasions there have been candidates who have ruled themselves out of the interview for that position after seeing their own motivators.

Feeling both interviewee and interviewer that this is not the right position for him even though he may fit into the organization. This has helped to detect potential candidates for other positions or other contexts in the organization. On one occasion an Agile Coach candidate was identified in the interview itself for another position on the fly based on his motivators, curiosity & freedom served to incorporate him into the organization but in another project, related to an innovative product and not the initial client. to which it was destined.

In me as a facilitator it causes admiration and happiness to be able to help people to discover their motivators in a conscious way with the dynamics. and it challenges me to generate powerful questions that can help more and more with people's motivators. How do you feel about this motivator at work? What does it provoke in you? What goal or purpose do you pursue with this motivator?

When sometimes the candidate does not feel comfortable with the motivators or cannot place them, we open the conversation to: "Do you think that a motivator closer to you is missing?" That way you can put your motivator on a blank card. It is not designed for them to discover a new intrinsic motivator, it is designed to generate a new conversation space, an aid in the current conversation, which enriches learning and generates experiments based on how that card helps to order the rest of the existing motivators, with what ease or difficulty influences them to give the person a form to their motivators.

We have carried out blank card experiments for them to place their own motivators. Learning based on them to promote a new organizational "culture" with behaviors that allow the appearance of said motivators when there is a clustering. Open questions about how comfortable the person feels with one motivator or another, how it influences their work and life. What motivator do you consider impressible? Something very important that I have experienced and helped is "How does my motivator help the team that I will collaborate with?"


Challenge yourself, integrate the dynamics with you, doing it on a quarterly or temporary basis, introduce new guidelines, practices that you consider will benefit you and continually test them, first on yourself and then on colleagues, teams.

Challenge yourself, integrate the dynamics with you, doing it on a quarterly or temporary basis, introduce new guidelines, practices that you consider will benefit you and continually test them, first on yourself and then on colleagues, teams. Ask questions of the type "How does this motivator impact your team? How does it influence it? What behavior do I have to generate or can I generate to make this motivator grow in the team? In this way we help to cultivate that motivator in yourself and help the the rest to generate it, maintain it and make it grow.We all take ownership of the existing motivators with actions and new behaviors to generate, creating a new consensual and co-created storm of ideas that we take ownership of, prioritize and work to improve our leadership.