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How to Answer “What Motivates You” Interview Question

What motivates you? Is it money or something else? How does it motivate you? During job interviews, the “what motivates you” interview question is often asked. This question is meant to gauge whether the candidate clearly understands their strengths and weaknesses.

Motivation is a complex concept. There are several types of motivation, such as intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. Each type of motivation plays a role in our lives.

One of the most common interview questions you’ll hear at a job interview is “What motivates you?” As such, you must be prepared to answer this question when it comes up. Read on for some great tips on how to answer what motivates you in an interview.

We’ve compiled a list of the best “what motivates you” interview answers for your next interview.

Why do interviewers ask, “What motivates you?”

The question “What motivates you?” also known as “the motivation question,” is one of those standard interviewing questions that shows if you have the skills and experience necessary for a particular position.

Interviewers ask this question because they want to understand what motivates you at work. You’re in a unique position to offer your interviewer an idea of your motivations, which can help her see whether or not she can be an asset to you and vice versa.

In addition to the above, you are interviewing for the job which means that you have some motivation. Your interviewer wants to know how you will contribute to the company’s bottom line and your goals for yourself within the company. They want to know that their money will be well-spent if they hire you. The most effective way of conveying all of this is through an example –tell them about a time in your past when you were motivated and what it was in response to. Then, show them how they can use this in your new position with them.

how to answer what motivates you in an interview

I am motivated by the desire to make a difference in the world.

How to answer what motivates you in an Interview

You should always prepare for any type of job interview question. If you know that you might be asked, “What motivates me?” then it would behoove you to think more rigorously about what drives you to succeed. It won’t just come naturally to you –you need to put thought into it. Let’s look at some examples of different ways to approach answering this question:

1. Be real

Be honest. What motivates you is going to depend entirely on who you are. Some people like to work hard; others enjoy having fun. Some like to spend time with friends and family, while others prefer to work alone. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a potential employer everything that motivates you (which could include something embarrassing), then you should probably leave it out altogether. Instead, try talking about something related to the position being interviewed for.

You could talk about a project you worked on last year, or you could talk about your ideal vacation spot. Make sure to keep it relevant, though. If your goal is to move from a call center employee to a customer service representative at a bank, then saying, “I love my boss” isn’t very useful. However, if you want to move up from a manager to a senior associate, then saying,” I’m proud of my accomplishments so far,” may seem appropriate.

2. Tell them why

Tell them why you want the job. This gives them a glimpse into the things that excite you. For example, when asked, ‘what motivates me,’ one candidate said, ‘work/life balance‘. It’s clear to the reader that he didn’t expect to hear this. He just wanted to convey to employers his desire for more flexibility.

3. Don’t change your story

You’d be surprised by how often candidates have been asked, ‘What motivates you?’ only to reply, ‘money’ or ‘to prove myself.’ These answers aren’t particularly helpful. To give meaningful responses, it’s important to remember that you’re not auditioning for an acting role where – you’re being interviewed to fill a certain role. 

So, instead of trying to find a reason that resonated with you as much as whatever reason the current employer has chosen to ask, stick to the facts. Sure, we understand that everyone has a unique perspective on what motivates them. But, even if there is no direct correlation between your reasons for wanting to work somewhere and theirs, you still need to demonstrate that you get along well with other human beings.

4. Talk about yourself

People often find themselves lost while discussing their own motivations. However, it’s quite easy to do. Just take a moment to look back at the situation you’ve found yourself in. Think of a specific instance when you felt truly motivated and describe what happened to cause that feeling.

5. Focus on what motivates you today

Instead of thinking about what motivates you during your next raise, focus on what motivates you right now. That means thinking about what makes you excited and passionate about your work. Think of a positive experience you had recently or a big challenge you overcame. Whatever it was, make sure it comes across clearly to the person reading over your application.

6. Don’t forget to mention your values

You can easily lose sight of your personal goals while working for someone else. To help ensure that you retain your motivation, make sure you also highlight the values that motivate you. Even if they’re completely inconsistent with those of the organization you want to join, it never hurts to remind yourself which qualities you value most. Consider explaining your answer to a hypothetical question like, ‘Imagine you were offered a promotion to head a department within the company, would you accept? Why or why not?’

7. Be truthful, but not too honest

When answering the question ‘why,’ honesty doesn’t always mean transparency. It depends on where you stand on the spectrum between truthfulness and dishonesty. If you have nothing worthwhile to say, it’s best to remain silent. On the other hand, if you’re looking to put forward the exact opposite reasons and opinions of the interviewer, think carefully before replying. Remember, you don’t want to look like you’re lying, but you might want to appear less open-minded.

What motivates you sample answers

Here are some of the best “what motivates you” interview answers to inspire you:

What motivates you interview answer 01:

I am motivated by the challenge of meeting new goals and overcoming new obstacles. I enjoy setting a goal and then working tirelessly to achieve it. This sense of accomplishment is what motivates me most in life.

What motivates you interview answer 02:

I am motivated by the opportunity to help others. Whether through providing support or solving a problem, I love knowing that I have helped someone else out. This motivation drives me to work hard and be my best self every day.

What motivates you interview answer 03:

I am motivated by the chance to learn and grow as a person. Every day presents a new learning opportunity, and I strive to take advantage of as many of those opportunities as possible. This thirst for knowledge keeps me constantly striving to be better.

What motivates you interview answer 04:

I am motivated by the desire to make a difference in the world. I want to do work that is meaningful and impacts people’s lives. This motivation pushes me to always give my best and make a real difference in the world.

What motivates you interview answer 05:

I am motivated by the need for constant growth and development. I never want to stop growing or learning, and I know that this requires effort every day. This motivation drives me to constantly push myself harder to continue developing as a person.

What motivates you interview answer 06:

I thrive on new challenges and opportunities to learn. Every day presents a new set of challenges and puzzles to be solved, which really excites me. I also enjoy the process of learning and constantly expanding my knowledge base. This thirst for knowledge helps keep me motivated and inspired in my work.

Now you know how to answer the “what motivates you” interview question. These tips will help you answer “what motivates you?” when preparing your resume and cover letter for any job application. Good Luck!

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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