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How to Answer “What Motivates You?” in an Interview



It’s finally the day of the big interview you’ve been waiting for. You’ve planned all your responses thoughtfully and you’re feeling cool, calm and collected. But then they drop the big question you weren’t expecting – “what motivates you?” Before you panic and spiel off an answer that has nothing to do with the question, you must consider your answer and also what the interviewer wants to hear.

Read on to find out some top tips for answering the question perfectly.

1) First consider why they are asking you the question:

Every question posed in an interview is posed for a specific reason, whether it be to test your skill, knowledge or experience. By asking what motivates you, the interviewer will find out what type of person you are, what your values are and whether or not these combined would make you fit in well with the team.

2) Think about your own interests:

It’s important to be honest, but at the same time you don’t want to blurt out ‘money is my only motivator’. Instead, think about times in the past when you worked as a team to get things done, and use this as an aspect to tell the interviewer. You could mention how the buzz of working in a team motivates you, or the positive results that happen after you’ve completed a piece of work to a high standard.

3) Don’t forget to back it up with an example:

Whether it’s career based or not, in an interview, it’s always best to have an example on hand to explain your answer. Before you go into an interview, make sure you have situational stories to back up all your answers.

4) Mould the answer to the job at hand:

If you’re going for a job that’s target driven, why not mention that you love smashing goals and targets, and give an example of when you did and how it made you feel. You should do the same with any other role.

5) Remember what employers are looking for:

A key point to remember is that employers are not looking for a robot who can spiel of the ‘correct’ answer – they’re looking for a human with real aspirations, who are willing to grow and learn with a new employer. So make sure you highlight this in your answer.


** This post originally appeared on theundercoverrecruiter and was penned by Ruby Lowe

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