How to answer "What motivates you?" interview question

By the time you read this to the end, you'll understand what hiring managers expect you to say when they ask you this interview question; what motivates you?

A person being interviewed for a job

However, as open-ended as it is, the question isn’t as difficult as it seems. You just have to make sure your response connects to the job you apply and be honest about it.

Apart from this, your response to this question must also be detailed and laced with examples of activities that encourage you do more.

Before we dive into how to answer this question, first, there’s a reason why hiring managers and you need to understand this to know the kind of response you’ll give to the question.

Motivation is key to success and employees motivation is important to the growth of an organization. This is why hiring manager will like to know those things that motivate you to get a sense of your personality and who you are as a person.

First, we all know money often determines whether a prospective employee will take a job or not. However, you don’t have to make your response sound like money is all you want. 

Show the hiring managers that you’re not just coming to work for the paycheck but to also contribute to their organization’s growth.

Instead of making it all about money, talk about how having a good career; challenging tasks; meeting deadlines; targets or goals; being in the company of good colleagues; leading a team to success as well as completing a difficult project, and seeing it through to the end can motivate you.

You can also talk about self assessment and improvement as your motivation; and how having a coach or motivating others, learning new things and solving problems could be your sources of motivation.

Here's an example:

'As a digital marketer, I usually derive motivation from my involvement in creative projects, teamwork and seeing my effort come to fruition. One of the things I loved about my last job was witnessing the results of our team’s campaigns, and having the opportunity to lead campaigns was one of the reasons I was so excited to apply for this role.”

Attributing your motivation sources to some of the things mentioned above could impress and delight the hiring manager because all these points show that your motivation aligns with factors that can contribute to achieving the goals of the organization and this is one of the things employers look out for in every prospective employee.


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