How to Answer The Interview Question – “What Motivates You?”

How to answer What Motivates You

Job Interview Question – “What motivates you?”

This question is one of the most commonly asked job interview questions and is often thrown at the candidate when he/she is least expecting it. Often misinterpreted, this motivation question is very broad, open ended and a strength based question. It can be asked in a variety of ways and you need to be smart to get the essence of it and reply accordingly. Be prepared for similar job interview questions like –


Employers’ Objective behind the Question

Understand that it is a common management practice for the employers to ask this job interview question. They want to know you as a person and a professional, and inspire you to give a good performance at work. Also, they intend to know what interests you and what type of team player you will be in future.

People are motivated by many factors, mostly by salaries, prestige, career growth, results, and meeting with interesting people, among others. Real-life examples make your answers compelling and help your recruiter to have an idea of how you will manage certain situations.

Also Read7 Ways to Stay Motivated at Work


Good answers to the job interview question ‘What Motivates You?’


Sample 1 –

“I am a positive person who gets motivated by deadlines. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to work even better. I love putting in my best of the efforts and do the job well. I would like to state an example here – in 2016, I was given this target to attract X% visitors to our new brand page. I overachieved that target by Y% and in 2017, it was the best performing page among its competitors. This sense of accomplishment is really motivating and makes me feel more responsible.”


Sample 2 –

“My mother is my biggest motivation. She is a working woman and I have seen her managing both personal and professional lives so well. On one hand, she loves to cook for her family, while on the other hand, she has been a brilliant employee for her organization. She has always been my inspiration and I have acquired this trait of being a multitasker from her.”

(You can name someone else who you find motivating. Just ensure to highlight the strengths of that person which makes you look forward to him/her.)


Sample 3 –

“Working as a sales professional, I get very motivated seeing happy customers. It instills a sense of responsibility and accomplishment in me when I have done something to make the clients happy. I ensure that even the smallest requirements of the clients is taken care of and they are treated with respect. I have a number of returning customers who have been pretty happy with the services offered.”


Sample 4 –

“I have always been motivated by learning new things. It gives me such a nice feeling to boost my knowledge. I love to pick up even small things and discover a different outlook to solve a problem. In my every job, I have tried to learn something new and incorporate it in my working.”


Sample 5 –

What motivates me? Well I get extremely motivated if I get a chance to help others by making them learn something new. I like to mentor people and contribute in their growth.”


Sample 6 –

“I am a competitive and confident person and I like challenging myself with new tasks and opportunities. This has helped me to remain motivated and achieve excellence with the correct execution strategies. I have been the leader for XYZ project and ensured that I leave no stones unturned to make this project a success. I took all the responsibilities to focus on results and successfully completed it with the help of my super talented team. As a supervisor, I keep the work environment positive, energizing and motivating. I want to remain competitive at every stage of my career and this has always been my motivation factor.”


Sample 7 –

“I was not very smart at my work earlier, but I would really thank my current supervisor who showcased her trust in me and helped me to deal with everything in a smart way. She has been my motivator since the day I started working closely with her. She has motivated me to come out of my comfort zone and take up new challenges. I would admit that I have learnt a lot from her and taken cues to improve my work, while growing in my role.”

Also Read6 Tips for a Successful Career Planning


Learn What Not To Say

  1. “The fat salary check you are offering is the biggest motivation for me.”

Well, the interviewer is aware of this and saying such lines may land you in trouble. Try to sound professional. Everyone knows that money tops everyone’s priorities, but don’t leave an impression that you will leave the job and join somewhere else very easily, if you are offered a higher pay package.

  1. “Power motivates me! I am looking forward to get promoted and become the lion of the jungle.”

By saying this, you will be digging your own grave. This would present you as an arrogant and a mean person. Please avoid saying such stuff before your hiring manager.

  1. “My wife told me that she will throw me out of the house if I don’t get this job. You can consider her scolding as my motivation.”

Choose this reply only if you want to sound idiotic.


Putting It All Together

There is always a right and a wrong approach for everything, and when it comes to job interview questions, you need to be honest and clear about what you are trying to convey to your interviewer. When asked – what motivates you to succeed in life, don’t open up your life book in front of your interviewer, he/she isn’t interested in it. Understand your primary motivators and align your personal and professional life against them. Your answer should be as unique as you are. Remember, vague replies won’t help anyone. Take this as an opportunity to showcase your strengths and boost your chances to get hired.

All the best!


Image Reference – Pixabay

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Categories: Interview Tips

About Rashmi Karan

Rashmi Karan is a professional writer who has written for a plethora of job related websites, particularly for the Gulf region. She writes about the latest Gulf job industry trends and offers solution to all career related queries and dilemmas.

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