Common Interview Question – What Motivates You?

MAY 29, 2010 | BY MICAH

Employers want to find an applicant that is a “go getter.” They are looking for someone that can take control of a job. They want someone that displays behaviors that indicate that they will perform their job above and beyond expectations.

To find out if you are that person, they are going to ask you one simple 9interview question: What motivates you to do your job?

Your answer should not be “Money.”

What Does Motivate You?

Money motivates people. If you were offered a job you hated, but the pay was 10 times what you would make with any other job, chances are you would take it, and you would be darn good at it. Money is a huge motivator, and money is probably the only reason you are even applying for the position in the first place.

Still, it is a poor answer. If you are asked what motivates you at work, you should choose something intangible. You should choose something that is true, and accurately represents what you need to succeed, but isn’t something that appears greedy or selfish. Below are some examples of good answers to this type of interview question.

  • “I have always been fond of achieving goals, especially if I can achieve those goals faster and more efficiently than anyone, including myself, expected.”
  • “I enjoy seeing both my department and my company benefit greatly from high quality work.”
  • “My goal within any company is to move up to greater levels of responsibility, and I am motivated to perform my current job to the best of my ability in order to reach those goals.”

You get the basic idea. If you are asked a question about what motivates you, you should focus on qualities that reflect highly on your character. Motivation caused by the potential for growth, or the ability to reach goals, or the fun of challenging yourself are all great answers to any questions about motivation.

Take Away Interview tips

  • Tell employers you are motivated by intangible qualities, like challenging yourself.

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  5. mini sharma August 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    what motivates me is i like to face challenges and moreover awards and appreciation also encourage me to do my job with my best of capabilities.

    • mary rose doreen besa April 21, 2016 at 1:29 am #

      do you think that my answer is correct when the interviewer ask me what makes you motivated
      ” having a good relationship to my co-workers it feel me i’m motivated i can do and perform my job very well

      • Lia
        Lia April 26, 2016 at 10:58 am #

        Hi Mary, it’s a good question and many interviewers will ask this question in some shape or form. Rather than focussing your answer on interpersonal relationships, I would suggest you link your answer to your goals which hopefully align with the goals of the company you are applying to. For example you might say that having clearly defined goals is what motivates you and good relationships with your coworkers helps you achieve this. I would make the relationships secondary in the answer.
        Have a look at the posts below where we answer this exact question. They will give you some ideas of how to phrase the answer.