motivational questions

‘What motivates you?’

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 depends 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 as the organization you are applying for.

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.

You can also search the company on LinkedIn and find an employee that you have a mutual connection with. You may be able to strike up a conversation with them to get a firsthand view of the inner workings of the company.

Checklist for a great answer 

  • 2 to 3 minutes long
  • To the point
  • Match your values with the company’s
  • Not too personal

Examples

I’m driven to work for a company that positively impacts the world by using technology. My first role was in a water-purifying startup. This company was leveraging their innovative technology 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 water usage with the use of an app. Lastly, I created my own consulting firm and assisted pharma conglomerates in Asia to help them transform themselves using the power of the cloud. All of my experiences have shown me how technology can be used both in small and large companies to create efficiencies and help advance the human experience.

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?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • What gets you up in the morning?

How do I get better at these questions?

PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! 

The illustrious economist and statistician EF Schumacher once said: “An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.” We at Mockmate strongly believe in exactly this, which is why we created our AI-powered job interview simulator.  Now is the time to stop reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos, and begin to perfect your interview skills by actually doing it! Get started here!

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