Answering the interview question: What motivates you?

‘What motivates you’ Interview Question

The interview question “What Motivates You?” might come across as the decisive “trick” question as you try figuring out what interviewers would like to hear in reply. When asked this question, your recruiter is likely to determine if there is a “value match” with you. Simply put they want to guarantee what stimulates them is the same as what excites you. And if the two don’t connect, it is expected be a major obstacle in the relationship!

This question is much more than just an interview question – it’s something all jobseekers should ask themselves before they embark on their job search journey. This question gives you an opportunity to reflect on your core values and ask yourself some key questions. What is significant to you as a person? Or what fires you up and brings you satisfaction? By knowing this you can not only give the interviewer a fair idea of who you are and what makes you tick but also show yourself in the most favourable light.

Possible answers could involve a longing to be innovative, to contribute to an industry that you feel is significant or to work in collaboration with others. Clearly your answer should be customized for the particular role that you are interviewing for. The key is to answer honestly and also to the contentment of your interviewer. So let’s take a look how you can answer this soul searching question successfully:

Plan your script:

Writing down your thoughts will help you think of times when you felt thrilled by your job, times when you felt excited about going to work. You can refer to your resume for ideas and data for find out tasks you loved most and felt most motivated doing. By making a list of the most exciting experiences from your last jobs, you will start seeing patterns of tasks and assignments that stand out. Analyze all of it. Do you want more of such responsibilities in your next job? The answers will help you know what stimulates you as well as prospects for fulfilment in potential jobs with similar responsibilities.

Possible answers:

For most of us, the main motivation to work is money which is why it is probably the first thing that comes to mind when we are asked this question. But in all honesty it is also the last answer that a potential employer wants to hear. Therefore, the key to answering this question candidly and also to the satisfaction of your interviewer, is to think of additional aspects that stimulate you to work every day. Some of them can be:
• Quest for personal development: This is a huge motivation in the workplace and can be offered by employers to encourage their highly determined employees. By talking about your yearning to evolve within a role, you are revealing yourself to be a focused and serious individual with genuine desire for success.
• Love for constant challenges: Just like people who love the thrill of unexpected challenges and the rewards which come with it, you can discuss how you are also motivated by challenges both expected and unforeseen. This kind of attitude will appeal to employers and will portray you as a candidate who is capable to not just enjoy unexpected challenges and tasks but also handle the pressures which they bring in.
• Job satisfaction: It might be a thing of the past, but for a lot of people it is an excellent driving force. By discussing this you can tell employer that you enjoy the everyday responsibilities of a role and undertake them with enthusiasm and interest.

Tie it to the job you are interviewing for:

This question lets you talk about your strengths, things which you are good at and what makes you go that extra mile to accomplish something. You are asked this question to see if you think on the same lines as the prospective employer and whether you’ll fit into the company and do a good job. When they ask what stimulates you, they hope to hear some of your personal motivations that are related to the role you have applied for. So think of motivations in context to the job and create an answer that is both sincere and relevant. If you’ve applied for a job that is competitive and extremely target driven, such as a sales role, your answer should be along the lines of breaking targets, accomplishing monetary rewards and being the best.

The question ‘what motivates you?’ is somewhat open ended. Note that the significance of motivators will vary at different stages of your life, for example security might not very important for you now but it might be when you start your own family. Thus, when choosing a career, you should not only keep in mind what stimulates you now but also what might excite you in the future. This way you’ll be better off to pursue a path that creates the most favourable environment for you and helps you give your best.

About the Author



Sonali Dheri is an experienced writer, blogger who writes on a wide range of educational topics. She uses her creative forces to write informative content on all the latest study programs, institutes, and educational trends.