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Master the Art of Answering “What Motivates You?” in Job Interviews

“What motivates you?” is one of the most important, yet tricky interview questions hiring managers ask. Answering it effectively can differentiate you from other candidates and increase your chances of success.

What is the hiring manager looking for?

Hiring managers ask this question to understand what drives you, your values, and whether those align with the company’s culture. They want to know what fuels your passion, whether it’s personal growth, financial stability, or societal impact.

How to structure your answer

To answer this question effectively, follow this four-step framework:
1. Self-Reflection: Clarify your values, passions, and goals. Understand what truly matters to you and what gets you excited.
2. Research: Learn about the company’s mission, values, and culture. Research their products, services, and industry trends. This will help you tailor your answer to their specific needs.
3. Linkage: Establish a clear connection between your motivations and the company’s objectives. Highlight how your values align with their culture and how your skills and experiences can contribute to their success.
4. Authenticity: Be genuine and authentic in your response. Avoid generic or rehearsed answers. Hiring managers can spot fake enthusiasm from a mile away.

Tips to answer this interview question

* Specificity: Provide concrete examples of how your motivations have driven your past actions and achievements. This makes your answer more relatable and memorable.
* Enthusiasm: Express your passion and excitement about the role and the company. Your enthusiasm is infectious and can leave a positive impression on hiring managers.
* Conciseness: Keep your answer concise and to the point. Hiring managers have limited time, so make sure you deliver your key points effectively.

* Vagueness: Avoid vague and generic answers that don’t provide any meaningful insights into your motivations.
* Negativity: Steer clear of negative motivations or complaints about previous employers or experiences.
* Rambling: Don’t go off on tangents or provide irrelevant information. Stay focused and deliver a clear and concise answer.

Example interview answers to this question

Strong Sample Answers:

Question: What motivates you?

Answer: I am driven by a deep passion to create innovative solutions that positively impact society. I believe technology has the power to transform lives, and I am excited to be a part of that transformation. I am particularly motivated by the opportunity to work with such a forward-thinking company like yours, which shares my commitment to innovation and making a difference in the world.

Why it’s strong: This answer is strong because it is specific, enthusiastic, and authentic. The candidate clearly articulates their passion for innovation and their desire to make a positive impact. They also demonstrate their excitement about the company’s mission and their alignment with its values.

Question: What keeps you motivated in your work?

Answer: I thrive on challenges and the opportunity to continuously learn and grow. I am motivated by the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles and finding creative solutions to complex problems. I am also driven by the desire to make a meaningful contribution to my team and the company as a whole. I am constantly seeking new opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills, and I am confident that I can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to your team.

Why it’s strong: This answer is strong because it highlights the candidate’s drive for personal and professional growth. They demonstrate their passion for learning and their commitment to excellence. They also express their desire to contribute to the team and the company, showing their alignment with the company’s goals.

Question: Can you share an example of a time when your motivation led you to success?

Answer: In my previous role, I was tasked with developing a new product that would revolutionize the way people interact with technology. Despite the challenges and setbacks we faced, I remained motivated by the potential impact this product could have on the world. I worked tirelessly with my team, and we eventually succeeded in launching a product that exceeded all expectations. This experience taught me the importance of perseverance, resilience, and the power of intrinsic motivation.

Why it’s strong: This answer is strong because it provides a specific example of how the candidate’s motivation led to a successful outcome. They demonstrate their ability to overcome obstacles, their dedication to their work, and their commitment to excellence. They also highlight the positive impact their work has had on others, showing their alignment with the company’s mission.

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