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  • How To Answer The Interview Question “What Motivates You?”
05 May 2022 Lauren Wache

How To Answer The Interview Question “What Motivates You?”

When interviewers ask “What motivates you?” they are really trying to learn more about what drives and inspires you. This question can be challenging to answer, but it's a great opportunity to share your values and aspirations with the interviewer.

Your answer to this question should be honest and reflect what truly motivates you. To prepare for this question, think about what drives you at work and what motivates you to do your best. Some common motivators include challenging work that allows you to learn and grow, feeling appreciated by your colleagues, or making a difference in the lives of others.

What you share will give the interviewer a better understanding of what makes you tick and what kinds of work environments will be a good fit for you. So take some time to reflect on what motivates you, and prepare your answer in advance so that you feel confident going into the interview.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know to deliver a great answer to this common interview question like:

  • Why Would An Interviewer Ask “What Motivates You?”
  • What Answer Are They Really Looking For?
  • The Best Way To Answer This Question
  • What To Avoid Saying
  • 3 Example Answers To The Question “What Motivates You?”

Why Does An Interviewer Ask “What Motivates You?”

The primary reason that interviewers ask this question is to gain a better understanding of what drives and inspires you. This is an important question for them to ask, as it can help them assess your fit for the role and the organization more broadly.

Many different factors can motivate people at work. Some examples include:

  • Challenging assignments that allow you to learn and grow
  • A positive and supportive team environment
  • Feeling like you are making a difference in the lives of others
  • A clear path for career growth and advancement
  • Compensation and benefits that are competitive and fair
  • Flexible hours or the ability to work from home

To effectively answer this question, it is important to be truthful and consider what truly motivates you. This means thinking about what drives you at work, what inspires you to do your best, and what kind of work environment will be a good fit for you.

What Answer Are They Really Looking For?

When an interviewer asks “What motivates you?” they are looking for a thoughtful and detailed answer that gives them insight into what drives and inspires you at work. They want to understand what motivates you, what kind of work environment is suitable for you, and what type of duties or projects you'd be interested in.

Your answer to this question should be specific, using concrete examples when possible. For example, if you are motivated by a desire to help others, you could share a story about a time when you made a positive impact in someone's life.

The Best Way To Answer This Question

One of the best ways to answer this question is by using specific examples. This can help the interviewer get a better sense of what drives and inspires you at work, as well as what kind of role or environment would be a good fit.

To prepare for this question, it is important to reflect on what truly motivates you at work, what drives and inspires you to do your best, and what kind of work gives you energy. Additionally, it can be helpful to think about what kinds of assignments or projects you find most engaging, as this can help you provide a more detailed and targeted response during the interview.

Ultimately, when it comes to answering this question, it is important to be honest and reflective of what truly motivates you at work. This can help the interviewer a better understanding of who you are and what kind of work environment you would excel in.

What To Avoid Saying

Here are a few tips on what to avoid saying to an interviewer when asked “what motivates you?”

Providing an overly vague or generic response. It is important to be thoughtful and specific when responding and avoid giving answers that lack detail or do not provide much insight into what motivates you at work.

Giving answers that are not relevant to the job or company you are interviewing for. For example, if you are applying for a job as a teacher, it would be important to focus on what motivates you when working with students, rather than what motivates you in other aspects of your life.

Giving negative answers, or answers that could reflect poorly on you as a candidate. For example, avoid saying that you are motivated by money or power, as this could give the impression that you are not motivated by the work itself or by making a difference in the lives of others.Preparing To Answer The Question What Motivates You

What Motivates You Example Answers

Below, we'll cover three example answers to help give you some inspiration on what to say when asked “what motivates you?”

Example #1:

Desire to help others or make a positive impact in their lives

I am deeply motivated by the work that I do as a teacher, and I find great satisfaction in seeing my students succeed and grow over time. Additionally, I am motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and I often feel inspired when I see the positive impact that my work has on my students and their families.

Example #2:

Desire to learn and grow in one’s career

I am motivated by the opportunity to continue learning and expanding my skill set. I find that I am most engaged when I am working on challenging projects that allow me to push myself and develop my skills. Additionally, I am motivated by the opportunity to work with experienced and knowledgeable colleagues who can help me learn and grow in my career.

Example #3:

Desire to feel appreciated and valued at work

For example, I am motivated by feeling like my hard work is recognized and appreciated by my colleagues. I find that I am most engaged and motivated when I feel supported by my colleagues and supervisors, and when I know that my efforts are valued.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, many different things can motivate people at work. It's important to be honest and reflective of what truly motivates you so that the interviewer can better understand what drives and inspires you, and if you're a good fit for the role you're interviewing for.

By focusing on what motivates you and articulating this clearly during the interview, you can set yourself up for success and give yourself the best chance of landing your ideal job. And as always, don't forget to send the interviewer a Post-Interview Thank You Email!

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