What Are Motivational Traits & How Do They Impact Job Performance?
Hiring Trends

What Are Motivational Traits & How Do They Impact Job Performance?

Proactiveness score of 62
Samantha McGrail
November 29, 2023

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines motivational traits as “stable, cross-situational individual differences in preferences related to approach and avoidance in the investment of goal-directed effort.”

Motivational traits have been shown to predict training outcomes, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. The Trait Activation Theory (TAT) explains how individual traits or predispositions of employees to behave consistently in response to situational stimuli are essential determinants of individual behavior in the workplace.

Accurately evaluating motivational traits has long been a challenge for many organizations, but Talent Select AI fairly and consistently measures applicants’ aptitudes across 17 key personality traits, workplace competencies, and motivational characteristics.

Our company provides automated scoring of the Big Five Personality Traits, the Great 8 Competencies, and four new Motivational Traits: Grit, Proactiveness, Empathy, and Enthusiasm – all from the interview transcript.

Measuring Grit in Prospective Employees

In the context of behavior, grit is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” A person with grit can persist in anything they feel passionate about and persevere when facing obstacles. 

Grit continues to gain attention because it significantly impacts individual achievement, including organizational citizenship behavior — and it can be developed. 

Employees are expected to cope and survive in a workplace with increasing uncertainty and complexity. However, high-grit employees are interested in long-term goals and strive to achieve them despite internal and external obstacles.

Additionally, research shows that a positive organizational climate that fosters trust, care, and collaboration is associated with higher performance. And a recent meta-analysis discovered a link between grit and performance. 

Measuring Proactiveness in Prospective Employees

Generally, proactiveness is defined as anticipating future problems, needs, or changes. According to Marcio Fasano, MD, Director of Global Partner Acquisition & Development at Optimise Mediane, one of the key differences in business success is being proactive vs reactive. 

In work culture, proactiveness means anticipating challenges and taking steps to prevent these situations before they occur. In contrast, reacting means waiting for problems to arise and responding. 

Proactive employees are always looking for ways to improve, seeking new opportunities, and planning for the future. They anticipate challenges and take steps to prevent them before they occur. Notably, these employees can lead to higher productivity and efficiency. 

Research shows that proactivity drives the performance and innovation of teams and organizations and boosts individuals’ well-being and careers. 

Measuring Empathy in Prospective Employees

Empathy is defined as the ability to emotionally understand other people’s feelings, see their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, empathy is caring for others and “feeling their pain.” It is an emotional response to shared humanity. 

Three pillars of organizational empathy are listening, openness, and understanding. About 75% of employees, on average, would prefer an organization with an intense atmosphere of empathy over better compensation.

The reasoning? Generally, empathetic leaders and managers understand that a company can only achieve its bottom line through and with people. Therefore, companies aim to hire effective workers, managers, and leaders capable of moving their organization forward during challenging times. 

A recent white paper from the Center for Creative Leadership found that empathy in the workplace is positively related to job performance.

Measuring Enthusiasm in Prospective Employees

Enthusiasm is defined as a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved. 

Enthusiasm can be the difference between succeeding and failing in a job. Research shows that, on average, employers would rather provide job skills training to an eager but inexperienced worker than hire someone with perfect qualifications but a less-than-positive attitude. 

According to the US Department of Labor, a positive attitude helps employees go above and beyond to get along with co-workers and managers, even difficult ones, and respond to constructive criticism with maturity and willingness to improve. 

Measuring and understanding candidates’ motivational traits helps organizations make better hiring decisions and foster a more positive, collaborative, and productive work environment. But effectively capturing motivational trait data has been all but impossible — until now. 

Talent Select AI delivers the first truly non-invasive way to objectively understand and seamlessly assess your candidates’ psychology, personality, and motivational traits — all from a standard job interview.

Building on decades of established research in language psychology, our innovative AI technology leverages cutting-edge IO psychology science, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze the specific words candidates use to provide an accurate, objective, and unbiased assessment of their unique, job-related personality traits, professional competencies and motivational traits.

“Talent Select AI accurately measures traits that are important and useful variables for hiring selectors — attributes that research has shown to correlate with workplace performance,” says Michael A. Campion, Ph.D. The Herman C. Krannert Distinguished Professor of Management, Purdue University, and world-renowned I/O psychologist.

“What impresses me most about Talent Select AI is how shockingly effective these techniques are.”

Request your complimentary interview analysis today to see first-hand how Talent Select AI captures predictive, meaningful candidate insights in seconds, right from the transcript of the job interview.

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