What Motivates You?

Job Interview Question & Answer: What Motivates You to Do Your Best on the Job?

Why Interviewers Ask What You Find Motivating

Hiring managers ask what motivates you because they want to know whether your interests and goals align with those of the company. In other words, they’re curious about what makes you tick and if you’ll be a good fit on their team. Ideally, your motivators will line up with the job description.

How to Respond When Asked, “What Are You Passionate About?”

This question provides the opportunity to show interviewers a bit about your personality and who you are as an employee. It’s important to understand what the business is looking for in a candidate so you can tailor your response to the job description. Consider the following as you develop your answer:

  • What makes your workday feel rewarding?
  • Did you feel excited about a specific part of this job posting?
  • If you have hobbies, what do you find most enjoyable about them?
  • What makes you look forward to going to work?

The goal in asking yourself these questions is to figure out why you answer them the way you do. Perhaps you get satisfaction from mastering a new skill, or maybe you appreciate positive reinforcement from your supervisors. This self-reflection can help you determine what motivates you to succeed.

Answers You Should Avoid

While you should be honest when discussing what motivates you to do your best on the job, stay away from examples that may come off as self-serving or negative. For instance, avoid responses about making more money or working harder for fear of losing your job. Make sure not to overshare, focusing on a specific anecdote rather than a long, rambling answer.

Example Responses for the Question “What Do You Find Motivating?”

You can prep for interviews by spending some time reflecting on your work life, skills, and strengths so that you’re ready for whatever hiring managers throw at you. Check out these sample responses to the question, “What motivates you?” for inspiration:

Sample Answer 1 – Clothing Store Sales Associate

“I find it rewarding when customers leave happy. I take pride in providing the best service possible, and it feels good to go above and beyond so that a guest has a positive shopping experience. When I’m able to assist somebody in finding the perfect fit or an outfit that makes them feel confident, I find that encouraging and feel that’s what makes the job worthwhile.”

Sample Answer 2 – Hotel Housekeeper

“One of the biggest reasons I enjoy cleaning is because I can see results. Instead of feeling discouraged when I walk into a dirty room, I view it as a fun challenge. I find it satisfying to compare the before and after when I finish a room, and that encourages me to keep going.”

Key Ideas to Remember

Though it’s pretty straightforward, a question like, “What do you find rewarding about your job?” can catch you off guard. Before meeting with the hiring manager, take some time to evaluate what you enjoy about work. While your tone should be conversational and natural, come prepared with a clear idea of how to answer this common interview question.

Video Tutorial

Video Transcript

This was an okay answer. He talks about being self-motivated and setting personal goals, but overall, the answer is a little generic.
Companies love hiring people with passion, so this is your chance to show what you are enthusiastic about. Be specific with what motivates you. What excites you about your work? What are you working towards each day?

Some areas you could cover could be career aspirations, desire to earn recognition, or the satisfaction of a job well done. It may seem obvious, but never mention that money as a motivator.

Let’s say you’re interviewing for a customer service position at a retail store. You could say that you are driven to give each customer an excellent experience and your goal is to transform new customers into regulars who will ask for you by name whenever they come in. Or you could also say you are very goal-driven and you strive to lead the team in sales numbers every week.

Make sure you choose an area of motivation that is relevant to the job because the interviewer will be wonder if the role would something you could be motivated by. Just remember to be enthusiastic and show your passion and you’ll do fine with this answer.

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