What is motivates you ?

How to answer “What Motivates You?”

While it looks simple, “What motivates you?” is a tricky interview question. Most candidates give generic answers.
With careful preparation, you can easily stand apart.
Learn how to deliver a powerful and carefully crafted answer!

When it comes to work, what’s your motivation?

Determination and desire can take you a long, but there are limits to what passion they can achieve. If you want to be able to work hard for a long time, you need to tune yourself into your intrinsic motivations to stay on track and be successful. 

What motivates you? – It’s a question that can be tough to answer in an interview, especially if you want to be genuine and true in your response!

It becomes an even more important question when you realize that your motivations will determine how well you do your job. 

Motivation is a tricky topic. We all think about it from time to time, but it can be hard to articulate what motivates us.

It is especially true in today’s job market, where interviewers frequently ask candidates, “what motivates you?” This is because motivated employees dramatically increase the productivity and output of any organization. If you think of the reverse, a disconnected or disgruntled employee can create a barrage of problems for a company.

So, how you answer this interview question can literally make or break your chances of getting the job.

In this blog post, we’ll explore ways to answer this question and give you a few tips on making sure your response stands out from the pack.

Similar Interview Questions about motivation

Interviewers will ask you many questions that are essentially about understanding – what motivates you?

Let us look at a few of them.

  • What drives you to do your best?
  • What inspires you?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What makes you excited to come to work?
  • What motivates you at work?
  • What motivates you to do a good job?
  • What motivates you to join our company?
  • What is your motivation for joining this company?
  • What are three things that motivate you?

Why are Interviewers asking you about “What Motivates You?”

Let us look at a few interesting statistics about employee motivation.

Motivated employees are 20% more efficient in their work.

Highly engaged employees and their teams increase the productivity in business by 21%.

Employees who are naturally motivated have 87% less chance of resigning.

Employee engagement and motivation can help avoid 41% of absences at workplace.

It will be quite clear by now, why every interviewer wants to know what motivates you! Let us dive into the reasons behind it.

Top 7 Reasons why Interviewers want to know – What motivates you?

1. The interviewer is looking for evidence that you have a genuine interest in the job and the company. They want to be sure that you aren’t just applying because you need a job. They are eager to see you be naturally excited to work there.

2. They want to see if your motivations are aligned with the company culture. For example, suppose the company emphasizes innovation and creativity. In that case, they may want to hire someone motivated by those things rather than someone motivated by money or status.

3. Interviewers want to get to know you better. They may be curious about what drives you and what makes you tick.

4. Your answer gives them subtle clues about the possibilities of success at the job if they hire you. They are looking for specific traits, skills, and strengths that align you naturally with the key deliverables of the job.

5. Interviewers are gauging the level of your self-awareness. Higher self-awareness is generally associated with humbleness and coachability. They want to understand how well they can train you to get the best out of you.

6. They want to understand your personality and working style.

  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  • Do you like working alone or in groups?
  • What specific conditions or situations bring the best out of you?
  • Are you a more instinctive or organized individual?

They want to understand such things about you.

7. It is insightful for them to find out – what do you consider a success in your life or work? Will they be in a position to offer you those kinds of possibilities once they hire you?

Whatever the reason, this is an important question to answer in an interview. It will give the interviewer a better sense of who you are.

Employees motivated to work in a company are important because they can help the company achieve its goals.

They are more likely to be productive and successful in their roles.

They are also more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, leading to lower turnover rates.

This is why companies that want to be successful want employees who are motivated to work.

Also read: What are your Career Aspirations? 

How to prepare for the interview question “what motivates you?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone is motivated by different things.

However, a few key points to keep in mind will help you prepare an answer that highlights your best qualities. 

1. Be honest with yourself 

What truly motivates you? It could be a desire to learn and grow in your role, responsibility towards your team or company, or simply the challenge of taking on new projects. Whatever it is, make sure your answer is genuine and authentic. 

2. Articulate your motivations that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for

The best way to prepare for an interview question like this is to have a clear understanding of what motivates you and articulate it in a way that would be most relevant to the role you’re interviewing for. 

For example, suppose you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of independent work. In that case, you might say that you’re motivated by the challenge of coming up with creative solutions to problems. You also get the satisfaction of seeing your work through from start to finish.

Alternatively, if you’re interviewing for a position that involves working closely with others, you might say that you’re motivated by collaboration and the opportunity to learn from others. Whatever your motivation is, make sure it’s something that will inspire you to do your best work in the role.

3. Reflect on your professional history and find what you considered fulfilling about each job

Another way to answer this question is to reflect on your professional history and what you considered fulfilling about each experience. For example, maybe you enjoyed working on a project that produced tangible results or collaborating with a team of people to achieve a common goal.

Think about what drives you in your personal life as well. Are you motivated by the challenge of learning new things, or do you thrive in a fast-paced environment? Try to come up with a few specific examples so you can share them in your interview. Emphasizing your past accomplishments will help the interviewer understand why you’re excited about this particular opportunity.

4. Consider why you chose your current profession

What is it about this line of work that motivates you?

It might be the challenge of mastering new skills or working on complex projects for some people. For others, it might be the satisfaction of helping others or making a difference in their lives. Some people might be motivated by the prospect of earning a high salary or being recognized for their achievements.

Whatever your reason, try to think back to when you were first considering this career and what attracted you to it. If you can pinpoint what motivates you, you can share that with your interviewer and explain how it drives your work ethic.

5. Craft an anecdote

Preparing an anecdote about a time when you were particularly motivated can be helpful. 

For example, let’s say you’re interviewing for a job in sales. You could tell a story about when you went above and beyond to close a deal. Describing the specific steps you took to overcome challenges and achieve your goals will show that you’re driven and determined.

Also read: What are your achievements?

How to Answer “What Motivates You?”

So far you have done structured preparation to arrive at your answer. It gave you a strong background of understanding your position when it comes to your motivations.

Let us take one step ahead to understand how you can deliver your answer effectively during any interview.

5 Steps to help you answer interview questions about your motivations effectively 

1. Determine what’s important to you. What are your values or beliefs? What gets you out of bed in the morning?

When you’re asked this question, think about what motivates you on a deeper level.

2. Reflect on your past accomplishments. What drove you to achieve these things? Why were they important to you? This can give you some insight into what might drive you in the future.

3. Consider your current goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve in life? What steps do you need to take to get there? Thinking about this can help clarify what type of motivation you need for something to be worthwhile to you.

4. Be specific. Generic answers like “I want to do a good job” or “I want to help the company succeed” don’t tell the interviewer anything useful. Instead, focus on specific things that motivate you in your work. 

5. Connect your motivations to the job in question. Irrelevant motivations don’t add any value to your answer. They should be connected to the job in question.

For example, if you want to work for a company, It can be because you believe in its mission statement. Or, if you’re motivated by the opportunity to lead a team, explain how that will help you grow in your career.

Also read: What are your Strength and Weaknesses? 

10 Example Answers for What Motivates You?

We will cover the answers for freshers as well as experienced professionals.

Couple of things you should know before reading them.

Use these sample answers as a starting point to ignite your mind with ideas to create your own unique answer.

Ensure that your answer does not take more than a minute to 90 seconds!

Sample answers for interview questions about motivation for Freshers

# 1

“There’s a lot that motivates me, both professionally and personally. As a fresher, I’m motivated by the opportunity to learn and grow. I want to be able to contribute to my team and make a difference. I’m motivated by my personal growth and development. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve myself and become the best version of myself possible. This mantra – continuous improvement – motivates me in everything I do. This principle drives me forward, whether it’s professional or personal development, academic achievement, or simply learning something new.”

# 2

“I am motivated to finish my projects on time by the feeling of accomplishment in meeting deadlines. I also like the feeling of a job well done, and knowing that I was able to complete a project within the set time frame gives me a sense of satisfaction. Plus, it’s always good to maintain a positive reputation at work.”

# 3

“The best way to motivate myself is by setting a challenge that I can overcome with my problem-solving skills. For example, if I need to improve my performance at work, I’ll come up with a strategy to achieve higher productivity. There’s no greater motivator than knowing that I can do it when it comes to challenging myself. And once I’ve achieved my goal, there’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with it.”

Sample answers for interview questions about motivation for experienced professionals

# 4

“What motivates me is the chance to lead a team of high achievers and help them reach their potential. I’m motivated by the challenge of setting and achieving goals and by seeing my team members succeed.”

# 5

“I am fascinated by numbers and the stories they can tell. Statistics is the science of extracting meaning from data, and I find that challenge incredibly appealing. I am motivated by the idea that statistics can be used to improve our understanding of the world around us and make tangible improvements in people’s lives.”

# 6

“What motivates me is the opportunity to provide a positive customer experience. I derive great satisfaction from knowing that I’ve helped make someone’s day a little brighter. I’m always looking for ways to do so, whether it’s providing exceptional service, offering helpful advice or simply lending a listening ear.”

# 7

“I’m motivated by the prospect of coming up with creative ideas that can make a difference in the world. There’s nothing more exciting to me than being able to use my creativity to come up with new solutions to problems and help improve people’s lives.”

# 8

“I also find the motivation to set and achieve goals and continually push myself to grow and learn new things. I love the feeling of progress, seeing incremental improvements over time, and knowing that I’m constantly getting better and closer to my ultimate goal. This sense of progress keeps me going when things get tough and makes the journey worth it in the end.”

# 9

“I’m motivated by the opportunity to learn new skills. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby or learning a new trade, I always jump at the chance to expand my skill set. Confronting a difficult challenge and coming up with an innovative solution is one of the most satisfying feelings for me.”

# 10

“I’m motivated by coaching others to achieve their goals. I love helping people see their potential and working with them to develop a plan of action that will get them where they want to be. Seeing someone I’ve coached succeed is the ultimate reward for me.”

5 Tips for Giving the Best Answer for What Motivates you 

When interviewers ask about your motivations, they are looking to see if you have a sense of purpose. They want to know whether you will be driven to give your best effort.

A good answer should express something personal to you and that you feel passionate about. There are a few general tips that can help you give the best possible answer when asked what motivates you:

  1. When it comes to motivation, honesty is key. Don’t try to fake it or play up something to give a better answer, instead, just be genuine and honest about what inspires you. This will come across much better than any forced or fake response.
  2. A great answer would be to say that you are motivated by responsibility. This is because responsibility is a key factor in achieving success, and being successful motivates others. Additionally, it shows that you take your work seriously and are committed to doing your best.
  3. An inspiring answer should be positive and upbeat, so focus on the things that make you happy and motivated rather than those which bring negativity and make you go away from them.
  4. Saying that you are motivated by analyzing data is a good start. By sharing this particular motivator, you let the interviewer know that you have a keen eye for detail and a strong desire to learn and grow.
  5. Another way to frame your answer is to think about what gets you out of bed in the morning. Saying that you are motivated by providing for your family, for example, is a good response. It communicates that you have a sense of responsibility and are driven by more than just financial gain. You can also talk about how your work makes a difference in the world and how it contributes to something larger than yourself. 

Mistakes to Avoid

When answering the question, “What motivates you?” in an interview, it’s important to avoid making these 4 mistakes:

1. Being generic

Your answer should not be some trite, overused platitude like “I love solving problems” or “I’m motivated by making a difference.” Employers are looking for specific examples of what motivates you, so give them one. For example, instead of saying that you’re motivated by making a difference, talk about a specific time when you were moved by a problem and how you solved it.

2. Talking about money or titles

While these may be motivating factors for you, they are not the kind of things that interviewers are looking to hear. Stick to talking about things like doing interesting work, helping others, or learning new skills.

3. Rambling on and on

When answering the question “What motivates you?” in an interview, keep your answer concise and on point. Don’t ramble on and on about what makes you happy or how much you love your work – focus on one or two specific points that illustrate why you’re motivated to do your best work.

4. Focusing on what you want from the job or company instead of focusing on what you can give to them

Many people mistake focusing on what they want from the job or company instead of what they can bring to the table. This interview answer won’t get you far because it doesn’t show that you’re focused on making contributions and being a team player.

The Bottom Line

So, what motivates you? Hopefully, our advice has given you some food for thought and shown you that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

The best way to find out what truly motivates you is to experiment with different things and see what makes you happy.

Check out our other blog posts for rare and insightful career advice – we’ve got plenty of tips to help jumpstart your career!

Prepare yourself thoroughly with “Fresher Interview Questions” if you want to excel in your next one!

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