How do we know the best people to put in a specific role? How do we know the best people to use as cashiers, or to serve as customer care rep? or to be in the inner room? What drives people to excel at a particular job and others to fail even though they have equal qualifications?

Industries need human resources; it is the only way they can survive. But in hiring workers, you should make sure that you hire not only the degree-qualified but the ‘suitable’ person for the job. Far from educational qualifications or lack of skill, some people are just better at particular roles than others. It explains why a ‘role’ might bore you and yet be refreshing to others; understanding motivational fit is crucial in assigning roles to people.
What is Motivational fit?
How close your expectations of a particular role are to what the ‘role’ offers is the closest definition of motivational fit. The convergence of these two factors will determine to a large part how good an employee will be at their job.
There are generally lots of factors that contribute to what motivates an individual, but they in two categories;

Extrinsic motivators:
These are mostly externally driven factors; they relate to the tangible aspects of the job like; remuneration, benefits schedule, work schedule, holidays, and the rest. Most times, employees don’t have ‘control’ over these factors.

Intrinsic motivators:
Such motivators are more abstract, and it includes; the degree of autonomy an employee has, level of interaction with co-workers, intensity level on the job. Although employees try to control these more often, they later become prominent in the long run.

How to determine the motivational fit of a potential employee.
Seeing how motivational fit is crucial to the efficiency of an employee, it is not something you should mess around.

Although it will be impractical to understand human behaviors, you can carry out some deeper actions that can throw more light into the ‘motivation of an individual.’ Here are ways you can evaluate an employee’s motivational fit for a given role;

For intrinsic factors:
Determine the employee’s likeness with public contactIn a purely administrative organization, every employee should be comfortable with interacting with customers; but cashiers, receptionists, or HR managers have these interactions more. Some people are not ‘natural’ when it comes to interacting with customers; they prefer the reclusive roles and vice-versa.
Ask about their past jobs; how long did they engage customers daily, if they enjoyed the role and the challenges they had.

How authentic an employee wants to be.
‘Free-flyers’ prefer the free-hand kind of work environments, while there are others (career people) who like to behave exact instructions always on what to do. For example, cashiers do not need to always ask their managers about every T’s and the I’s in the book, software programmers also prefer to work with a little freedom rather than a rigid environment.
Ask about what they find difficult with supervision, how they handle the scrutiny, and their constant need to get approvals.

Monotonicity of tasks.
For many, “variety is the spice of life” appeals better to them, and they star in roles that allow them to be flexible in the tasks they do. These people are happy to perform non-repetitive tasks, while others fare better in repetitive tasks.

Ask them about their hobbies, what they thought of their last job, why they left their previous roles, etc.

Ability to work with deadlines.
Some people come to life when a deadline is approaching and always seem to ‘save the day’ while others crumble other pressure. For example, cashiers have no deadlines, same with security personnel, but auditors, operational personnel, or programmers have deadlines in their works.
Full roles or bit parts
Some people work better when they do the whole job by themselves (not a matter of hubris), while others are good team players. For example; Accountants can work on bits of financial records the same way that programmers can work on different aspects of code, and Actors can play their roles, etc.

For Extrinsic factors;

Physical work conditions
People who prefer moving from units to units to carry out/ supervise tasks will loathe sitting in one place for a long time, and others prefer to perform their job in a spot. Cashiers, accountants, programmers all stay in a particular area to carry out their job, while security operatives, customer support have to move around

Work schedule and arrangements
People can be nocturnal, diurnal, ‘nine to fivers’, and so on. Such abilities can greatly affect their outputs in any role you give them.

Ask them the schedules they’ll prefer and why, what are their best moments of the day, what time do they like to be up?
Remunerations and what the role is worth
For most people, money is the biggest factor that will affect if they will do a job or not. For them, it is a “no good pay, no work” policy. When it comes to money, you have to be direct and explicit on what the job pays and tell them if there will be compensations in the future and other incentives that come with the pay.

It will be to hire ‘qualified’ candidates, train them in the job, and lose them to their bogus pay expectations later.

Get an idea of their remuneration hopes, inquire if money was a deciding factor in quitting their previous job, and ask about their plans.

Other extrinsic factors that can give insight to motivational fit are
Personal issues (marital, parenting, housing, etc.)
Supervisory style
Career growth and change
Distance to work
Wrapping Up
Although a deficiency of motivational fit may not directly affect a worker’s output, it is sure to cause some lackadaisical attitudes towards the job. In the end, the employee might do the job poorly or affect other workers with their behaviors like; tardiness, loss of enthusiasm, short tenure, and external complaints.

The bottom line is good employees transcends educational qualities; a motivated/employee is preferable to a qualified but nonchalant one.