Screening job applications – Are athletic activities indications for work-related achievement motivation?

Sandra Gahlmann und Uwe Peter Kanning

During the screening process of job applications, today’s practice is often to use leisure activities like sports to assess the candidates. This study examines for the very first time in how far athletic activities can be used as an indicator for job-related achievement motivation and if they should be a criterion whilst screening applications. 291 subjects filled out a questionnaire measuring their achievement motivation and their athletic behavior (type, intensity and participation in competitions). Results show that the intensity of athletic activities go along with higher scores on most of the scales measuring achievement motivation. The intensity of participating in competitions is associated with competitiveness, proudness, and hardiness. Neither type of sports (single vs. team) nor the length of time in which athletic activities were performed, can predict work-related achievement motivation. The results are used as a foundation for best practice recommendations concerning the screening process.

Keywords: job application, achievement motivation, athletics