Preparing for a job interview isn’t easy, especially when you’re preparing answers to tricky questions you’re bound to be asked during the process.

One of these difficult-to-answer questions is “What motivates you?”

Now, this is one of those questions that are used so the employer can get to know the real you and learn about your attitude to work in general, so it’s worth taking the time to really think about your answer and what sort of impression you want to give off.

Finding out what gets you out of bed in the morning will help the interviewer to figure out whether you’d be a good fit for the role, how you’d get on with the rest of the team and if you’re particularly self-motivated.

With this question, it’s important not to come across as greedy, lazy or someone who does the bare minimum just to get by. With this in mind, it’s vital that you avoid the M-word at all costs!

Unless you work in a job like sales where making money and hitting targets is one of your main responsibilities, talking about money as a motivator will instantly put the interviewer off you.

How to Answer “What Motivates You?” – Key Takeaways

  • Reflect on Genuine Motivators: Think deeply about what genuinely drives you to achieve and succeed beyond monetary rewards.
  • Avoid Mentioning Money Directly: Focus on motivations that align with the company’s values and the role, rather than financial incentives.
  • Demonstrate Your Passion for the Work: Share what aspects of the job or industry you find most rewarding and fulfilling.
  • Customize Your Answer: Tailor your response to the specific role, highlighting motivations relevant to the job responsibilities and company culture.
  • Showcase a Positive Attitude: Emphasize qualities like innovation, challenge-seeking, and the desire to contribute to team success.
  • Be Honest but Professional: While being truthful about your motivations, ensure your answer presents you in a positive, committed, and team-oriented light.

The Truth About the “What Motivates You?” Interview Question Answer

It’s no secret that people go to work to make money, but using this a reason for working in your interview makes you sound selfish, greedy, and not interested in doing work to benefit the company whatsoever.

haed with question marksAlso, if you don’t have an answer to this question, it can make you come across as unmotivated and lazy. It also makes it sound like you don’t take your career seriously, as this isn’t just a question you need to answer in a job interview, but is one you should ask yourself when you’re trying to decide what direction you want your career to take.

This is a good approach to take when you’re preparing an answer to this popular interview question. Think honestly about what motivates you (other than money!), and what part of your job you get the most satisfaction out of and use this to form your answer.

The type of answer you might give will depend on the role you’re applying for (e.g. if you’re interviewing for a social media manager role, you could say that helping customers and engaging with fans motivates you to do your best every day), but there are certain answers you can give which apply to any job, however these should be customized to the position you’re interviewing for.

For example, if you thrive on coming up with new ways of approaching tasks or projects, then saying that being innovative and finding new, more effective ways of working motivates you would be a good answer.

Or, if you’re someone that loves a challenge, then maybe mentioning that you’re at your most motivated when faced with unforeseen or even expected challenges and overcoming them would be a good idea.

Overall, this question is all about being honest, but making sure that you come across appropriately to the interviewer – and not greedy or lazy – is absolutely key.

So there we go, some tips on how to answer the difficult “What motivates you?” interview question. Do you agree with this advice or have any of your own?

Let me know in the comments below!