Interview questions about motivation are commonly asked during job interviews. These questions are used to uncover more information about your personality, work ethic, qualifications, and experience. The ultimate goal is to assess whether or not you would fit into the team and company culture. Usually, questions about motivation are straightforward and open-ended.
Therefore, you should be able to answer basic motivational questions such as:
- What motivates you?
- How have you motivated others?
- What challenges are you looking for?
- Describe your ideal company culture.
When you discuss your motivation, it’s important that you can back it up through work experience, and your answer should relate your skills and aptitude to those needed for the job you’re applying for.
Interviewers are interested in what gets you enthusiastic, what drives your success, and if you’re ready to take on the required responsibilities.
In this blog, motivation questions are discussed. Furthermore, tips and tricks are given to answer these questions. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
What Is Motivation?
Before we discuss why interviewers are interested in your motivation and how you can answer them, it’s essential to understand what motivation means. Motivation can be described as everything that drives and motivates you to perform. Furthermore, your motivation and drive are often sub-conscious, but they play an essential role in predicting job satisfaction.
Questions about your motivation are usually not regarded as hard. However, you must prepare for questions about your motivation because they reveal patterns in your drive. Your answers are used as an indicator of whether or not a position is going fo fit you or not.
Motivation can be broken down into two types:
If you’re pursuing a goal because you enjoy it, you are doing it because you are intrinsically motivated. In other words, intrinsic motivation is behavior that is driven by internal rewards because you’re doing something that is satisfying to you.
Extrinsic motivation is reward-driven behavior. If you’re paid to do a job, this is an example of extrinsic motivation. Other examples are financial rewards such as bonuses, social or professional recognition, praise, fame, promotion, or a trophy.
Why Interviewers Ask Questions About Motivation
Interviewers are interested in your motivation and drive and ask you questions about these topics to get a better understanding of your personality and who you are as a person.
Hiring managers may use behavioral interview questions, situational questions, or personal questions to uncover your motivation, drive preferred work style, and work ethic. These types of strategic interview questions help employers find out what type of employee you are. Interviewers want to find out if you:
- Are willing to go the extra mile when needed.
- Take responsibility for your actions.
- Can work well with others.
- Take responsibility for your actions.
- Are punctual and dedicated.
The information you give the interviewers in your answer will be used to assess whether or not your sources of motivation align with the role. It’s therefore crucial that you prepare well for these questions. Doing so could help you take advantage of these questions by demonstrating that the position you’re applying for is the perfect step in your career and aligns with your motivation and drive.
The ideal job candidate will be naturally motivated by the responsibilities and tasks associated with the job. Also, the interviewers want to know how self-aware you and if you can explain what drives you. The reason for interviewers to ask about what motivates you helps them understand how well you know yourself as well. Candidates who can provide a concise and to the point answer about what motives them in their work is most likely also a self-starter with the right prioritization skills.
Specific characteristics associated with strong motivation are:
- High productivity
Preparing Answers To Questions About Motivation
Like any commonly asked job interview question, the most effective way to ensure that you make the right impression is to think about questions and talking points before your interview.
It’s essential to remember that interviewers ask you motivation questions to understand why you want to work in that position and for their company. Furthermore, you need to convey that your values and work ethic match those of the company. To prepare strong answers to motivation questions, you need to answer a couple of questions for yourself that we discuss in more detail below.
How do your qualities align with the job requirements?
When you prepare answers to questions you expect, focus on explaining in a concise way how your skills and qualities match the values and needs of the position and company. Interviewers are interested in how you can contribute and add value to the company and team.
Why do you want to work at this company?
An ideal candidate is able to explain what it is about the organization and the position that excites them. Regardless of your skill level or job experience, it’s important that you spent some time thinking about what you want in your career and how this position contributes to your career goals.
How do you describe the company culture that you’re most productive and happy in?
It’s important that you have clear for yourself what attracts you to the company and its company culture. Interview questions about the company culture in which you thrive are commonly asked during interviews. Hiring managers know that employees are the most productive and the happiest when they work in an environment that suits them.
Thoroughly researching the company and position will enable you to get all the information you need to find out if the work environment the company offers aligns with a culture in which you’re confident you will thrive.
Be honest during the interview
Honesty is key during a job interview. Of course, if you prepare the right way, you are able to provide stronger answers on the spot. However, if your answer does not feel like an honest statement to you, the interviewer will probably think the same.
How To Answer ‘What Motivates You?’
By asking what motivates you, interviewers basically want to know what makes you tick in your work, what drives you to succeed and how well this fits the job you’re applying for.
Depending on the position and company where you’re applying for a job, different types of motivational sources can be included in your answers. You could, for example, get motivated from:
- Learning new things
- Acquiring new skills
- Developing your current skills
- Meeting goals, targets, and deadlines
- Coaching and mentoring others
- Leading a team
- Working as part of a team
- Improving processes or ways to solve challenges
- Overcoming challenges
- Creative thinking that leads to new ideas
As you can see, there are a lot of things that you can discuss where you get your motivation from. Below we discuss a couple of example answers to questions about your motivation.
Example Answer – What Motivates You?
‘I get my motivation from learning new things and acquiring new skills. This allows me to grow as a professional and take on responsibilities to contribute more to my team and the company. Two years ago, I got promoted from sales representative to team captain, which allowed me to take on new tasks and already get some management experience while focusing on achieving my sales targets.
I’m eager to combine my marketing experience with my developed team management skills, and this position perfectly aligns with my career goals. The opportunity would allow me to train and manage my own team, which is a challenge I’m very excited about. Could you please tell me more about what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate for this position?’
What To Avoid In Your Answers
Below we discuss a couple of things you should avoid in your answers to questions about your motivation.
Money can help increase motivation, but it should not be a main source of motivation when you discuss it with the interviewer.
Employers want to know from you what motivates you and what you can contribute to the company. Furthermore, they want to assess if what you’re looking for is what they can offer. Therefore, give a specific and honest answer that indicates that you understand what is required for the job and how you can add value.
Like financial gain should not be your main motivational source, perks and benefits of a job or company should neither. Don’t give your interviewer the idea that you are mainly interested in the position because of the benefits and perks it has to offer.
Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic