How to answer “Motivational” Questions

How to answer "Motivational" Questions

Why are recruiters asking this?

“What motivates you?” sounds like a pretty intense question! Here's how to answer in an interview. 

This question aims to understand your own personal interests and values. It is completely possible to present yourself as a well-rounded person with a life outside the workplace, although you might want to draw on professional motivations more than family or money (unless the role is sales).    

The answers to this depend on the person, and the role you are interviewing for. If you’re applying for a commission-driven sales role, then being motivated by money shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. Or if you’re interviewing for a non-profit, you probably want to have similar values. 

This question is a way for recruiters to see if your motivations align with the company culture. Start by reading the company website to understand their own values and style, depending on your situation.

Checklist for a great answer

  • 2 to 3 minutes long
  • To the point
  • Your values match the companies
  • Not too personal


I'm driven to work for good, using technology through business. My first role was in a water-purifying startup. This company was leveraging innovation to supply rural communities in Africa with clean water. To date, that company has delivered drinkable water to 1 million people. After this, I created my own company to help gardeners have better control over their activity and lastly I created my own consulting firm and assisted pharma conglomerates in Asia to help them transform themselves using the power of the cloud.

Other similar questions

  • What are you passionate about
  • What gets you up in the morning?
  • What motivates you?
  • What do you consider are your personal values?

Waina is the Founder of Mockmate. He got the idea to help candidates train for job interviews during his MBA at IESE. The idea came after creating, a blog about MBA life, the business videogame The nasty consultant.  and a chatbot that can answer job interview questions. Waina realised that AI could help candidates land the job of their dreams and started working on a job interview simulator.

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