How To Answer Job Interview Questions About Motivation

During the interview process, it is very common for you to be asked motivation interview questions. This question often times come in the “What is your motivation or What motivates you?” format. This doesn’t mean that this is the only way it can be asked because there are many other variations to the question but this is how most employers like to ask it. It is straight and direct.

Whatever answer you give to this question is a determinant of what you’re most passionate about and that’s really what your employer is looking out for. It tells them what your drive for success is and if your motivation is a good balance with the responsibilities that come along with the job you’re applying for. The best thing to do to excellently answer this question is to do some research on the different ways employers ask candidates about their motivations, the best answers to give and the ones that should be completely avoided.

What is motivation?

Let’s talk a little about your motivation for a bit. Motivation is usually a term used when someone is trying to give a description to what drives them to do something or the reason why they do certain things. One way of defining it is a thought out process given as a drive to behaviors that are goal-oriented. It is, in fact, the cause of our actions and inaction. No matter what we do, there’s always a motivation behind it. We might just not be very much aware of it.

There are expressly two types of motivation and they are:

  • Intrinsic Motivation

These are self-imposed motivations. They come from within the person and reflect in their outward actions. For example, it can be taking on a couple of courses in a particular does just for the personal gratification of having knowledge.

  • Extrinsic Motivation

These are motivations that arise from outside a person and there’s usually rewards such as money, social recognition, praise or trophies.

How to answer job interview motivation questions

It is best advised that you pay utmost attention to those intrinsic motivations rather than the extrinsic ones. This is because the intrinsic ones are always grounded and no matter what, it’ll always be your drive but with the extrinsic motivations, if there are no rewards involved, there will be very little or no drive.

Before going for an interview, make sure you know all that there is to know about the job description and the position you’re applying for. This is important because it’ll help you fit your responses according to what exactly the employer is seeking to find in an applicant. Your background and experiences will definitely cause a variation to the answers you will give to these questions but in all, you always want to be maintain a positive vibe. Make sure you let them know what you’re enthusiastic about and the things that intrigued you most about your current job or the one you left. 

Example answers to job interview motivation questions

The most appropriate answers you can give to a motivation question should be full of truth & honesty and at the same time, should have a strong connection to the position you’re applying for. What this means is that the answers you provide should show that you are the best candidate and you’re already highly motivated to take care of the responsibilities involved in the role you’re vying for.

In preparation for answering these questions, some things you should think about are:

  • What benefits have you enjoyed during your working period at your previous position? Make sure to include the day-to-day work and your interests here.
  • What type of tasks are you best at handling with little or no supervision?
  • What type of environment is best suited for you to work in?

Regardless of the answer you give, there should be examples from your work experience, studies or volunteer activities to back it up and it must be in correlation with the aptitude and skills needed for the job.

Example answer to give to motivation job interview questions

  • “I get highly motivated when it comes to problem-solving tasks. In the last position I occupied, I was responsible for resolving complaints from customers and the staff. I find so much satisfaction in providing solutions to customers who are confused and staff who have difficulties in one area or another. It somehow gives me the joy to know they’re happy and satisfied with my help.”

Answers to avoid

Like in most cases of good and bad, there are some answers that you should not give because it won’t portray you as a good candidate thereby leading to an imminent potential loss of the position you’re applying for.

  • Answers that are not in line with the job role

If you answer the motivation questions by stating answers that do not align with the job description, that’s not a good thing at all. For instance, if you say you’re motivated by one-on-one communication with people you’re applying for a position that requires you to be in an enclosed room all day, you’ve potentially lost the position because that’s not the type of motivation they’re looking for.

  • Answers that portray money as your driving force

Make sure to stay away from answers that indicate monetary values as a motivational factor. Your employer already knows that you are very much interested in financial benefits and it’s a very important reason as to why you’re applying for the job in the first place, it is not the type of answer they want to hear. It comes off as an answer that lacks the knowledge and is based on self-centeredness.

Also, you should avoid saying that praises and acknowledgment are great motivating factors for you because your potential might be one that’s not so psyched it that and that just disqualifies you totally.

Always make sure your answer is honest and very specific. Give your employer a clear picture and full understanding of what you’re talking about and what it means. Vague responses show lack of self-expression and I really don’t think any would like to hire someone who can’t express themselves properly. Always keep in mind that every question you’re asked is an avenue to sell yourself and show your strengths.

Job Interview Topics – 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!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic