Acing an interview involves having the necessary knowledge to answer any questions asked. But if you think that is all one requires, you are on the wrong track. Sure, you are required to answer any question that the interviewers will ask you. And yes, answering them succinctly and confidently does improve your chances. But you may be wrong in assuming that that is all required of you. Acing an interview takes a lot more than knowledge and charisma. It is the obvious questions that you will have to answer that will be the real difference-maker. Those obvious questions are crucial to success in the interview phase.
Why? Let’s look at this objectively. Likely, every applicant for the job is similarly qualified. It is even possible that they have the same level of experience and education. And if the pay is any good – they would have sufficiently prepared their answers for the interview as well. Now, sure you can floor the interview panel with your confidence, but do you want to hedge your bets on one trick? Company’s look for candidates that can be difference-maker in the offered role. They want someone sufficiently motivated to succeed in the open position. That is where several of their ‘simple’ questions would be geared towards. And one such question that you are sure to be asked in your interview is – ‘what motivates you?’.
On the face of it, this looks like a simple enough question. The answer to this might be money, but obviously, you can’t say that. So, maybe career prospects and growth might be the way to go. But they still do not look like a solid answer, especially for an interview. If you think about it, the answer to this is not as easy as it seemed at first. Open-ended questions like these can be pretty tricky. But this is where you can easily stand apart from the herd and make an impression on the interviewing panel that would be hard to forget.
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How to Prepare for this Question?
Naturally, it must have become obvious to you by now that you cannot take this question lightly. Although, you should take any question lightly, especially in an interview. But open-ended questions like this one can easily be the difference-maker. The difference between you being an excellent candidate and the perfect candidate.
Your target with answering this question is to leave a positive impression on the interviewing panel. And the best way you can do that is to develop your talking points beforehand. So here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help you find the proper way to talk and find your answer.
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#1. What Would a Great Day at Work Look Like for You?
If you are a beginner, you might need to use your imagination to answer this question. But if you have prior experience in the field, then use that experience to answer this question. What does the perfect day at work look like for you? Reflect on your professional history. Think about what you considered fulfilling at each job you had. Identify trends, if there are any. For instance, you might realize that solving a complex problem might be what you have enjoyed the most. Or maybe you enjoy interacting with new and interesting people. Whatever the answers to the questions are, that is a trait for you, and you can build on that.
#2. What Made You Choose this Profession?
There could be many reasons you are in this profession; you are now. Money might be one of them, but you need something else, something substantial, to answer the question. Is it something or someone that inspired you to get into this profession? Or it might be possible that you enjoy using your creative skills. A sole reason is unnecessary as there could be many reasons you opted for this profession.
#3. What Did You Apply for the Role? What Prompted You?
This is another excellent question that one can ask themselves to find a unique and amazing answer to this question. Think about why you applied for the job. What is job description prompted you to do so? Is it the role that was offered? Or an opportunity to try something new? Added responsibilities? Or even the company that has the open position? You can surely create a unique answer for such a common question by answering these questions.
Here are Some Do’s and Don’ts for Answering this Question.
Do’s for Answers “What Motivates You?”
#1. Show them you are not just there for the paycheck.
This is a point that has already been mentioned in this blog. But such is its importance that we are mentioning it again. So first, you need to indicate to the interviewing panel that you are not just interested in the money offered. Sure, money is an important factor, but it is not the determining factor for applying for the job. The main reason companies look for this; they want to be sure you can stand by them when the going gets tough.
#2. Point Out Your Qualities.
Naturally, such open-ended questions allow one to highlight their personality as well. You can easily state that you are motivated by the challenges you will face in the job. You can point out that you are someone who loves to work and collaborate with a big, creative team, and that is why you would love to work for them. Just keep in mind that your answers need to be tailored to the question being asked, and you will be fine.
#3. Talk About Your Interests that Tie With the Job.
If you are passionate about software engineering and want to upscale your skills and abilities, you would love to work for a leading software creative agency. Tying your interests with the job on the offer is an excellent way to answer this question.
By keeping the pointers mentioned above in mind while constructing an answer to the question, you would significantly boost your chances of success.
But these are all to-do things, now onto the don’ts.
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Don’ts for Answers “What Motivates You?”
#1. Don’t Talk About Money.
Obviously, money is a huge consideration for you applying for the job. Still, your answer should not look like that is the case. Everyone applies for the job for the paycheck; that is a simple fact. And on a certain level, the interviewing panel knows that as well. So they are looking for reasons besides the money. If you have tough luck in your job interviews, this might be why.
#2. You do Not need to Create a Story.
Listen, it is possible that you might have read in some interview preparation manual that building a good story is good for boosting your chances. And it certainly is helpful. But you do not need to answer every question that an interviewer asks with a story about how you are passionate about the job. It would become boring after a while. So, forget about any stories for this question; just be honest.
But while the suggestions mentioned above and tips are surely helpful, you might need some answers to show you how. So, without further ado, here are some amazing and unique answers to the question – what motivates you?
- Ans No 1:- “I like to challenge myself every single day. I want to advance on a personal level daily. And this is one of the main reasons I even got into this field. The challenging nature of the work calls to me. It is personally challenging, but it is something that forces me to develop new skills everyday. Skills I would not have been interested in or attempted if I was not into this line of work. Things like cold calling somebody or building a rapport with a stranger would have never been something I would have done on my own. Not only have these skills changed my confidence level and career, but it has a positive impact on my life as well. And this continues to motivate me to do better every day, even days when things do not go my way at all.”
Now, if you carefully look at this answer, you will find two things immediately. First, the answer does not involve or even mention money in any way, shape, or form. This is a point that has been emphasized multiple times in the blog. Even if the money is the main reason for you to apply for the job, you should not indicate that is the case, let alone state it yourself. And secondly, in this answer, you can see the repetitive mentions of the skills and goals by the applicant. It would be best if you built your answer something along this line. And at the end, even somewhat subtly, the applicant has indicated they like to stick it out when things get tough.
Now onto an answer that is more personal than the last one.
- Ans No 2:-“I have a couple of members in my family, who have gone through troubled times due to the addiction. This impacted me quite a lot in my childhood. Their struggles were real to me and not an article in a magazine. Since then, I have known that this is a field I would like to work in, in the future. This is why I opted for Psychology as my major in college. I want to make an impact in addiction research and treatment. The impact this research will have on society as a whole and me on a personal level would be tremendous. And on a professional level as well, I like to evolve and grow, just as this field is growing every day.”
Obviously, this is a very personal answer. But for the offered position, no one can deny that not only is it an excellent one but a very powerful one as well. No interviewing panel can shrug an answer like that. But even if one ignores the personal bit here, they would see the applicant’s dedication regarding the job. Their motivation for the work is unparalleled. And if you were on the interviewing panel, you would have immediately given them the job.
But the above two examples do not mean that you have to have a compelling story to answer what motivates you to stand any chance of selection. Going personal is not strictly necessary. Suppose you can do that, well and good. But if not, there are other ways you can answer this question.
- Ans No 3:- “I have always been interested in computers and math, ever since my childhood. In fact, my mates and I crowdfunded to get a computer in my school. I don’t have a personal reason, but I have always been excited about it. Its potential is simply limitless, and that intrigues me. I can’t imagine doing anything else in my career, at least any time soon.”
As you can see in this answer, there is no personal reason, no over-the-time story that would make the panel suspect your motives, anything of that sort. It is a simple, straightforward answer. What keeps the applicant motivated? Simple their interest in computers and math, as simple as that. And it is intriguing and, more importantly, an honest answer that would propel the candidate to the top of the list.
- Ans No 4:- “As a marketer, being part of creative projects has always motivated me. Teamwork and the connection between my efforts and the organizations’ bottom line have always been something that has kept me going and forced me to improve. One thing I loved in my previous job was witnessing the result of my team’s campaign creation. Moreover, the thankful calls and messages I received from my customers were cherry on the top. And now, I believe I am up to the task of leading the team and developing campaigns from start to finish. Which is just one of the reasons why I am so excited for this offered position.”
Another excellent example that does not involve the applicant building a compelling and heartwarming personal story to connect with the interviewing panel on a personal level. In this sample answer, you can clearly see that the applicant emphatically emphasizes their skills and roles in the previous position. The point about interacting directly with the clients is also essential. This is done to indicate that the applicant has no problem being the sole point of contact between the customer and the organization and has social skills to interact with clients.
And lastly, the applicant has emphasized here that they like to move up in their career, which can be done by leading the team. Everything about this answer is perfect. And while it may seem like such a straightforward answer, it has multiple layers on top of it that make it work.
- Ans No 5:-“I like working in creative environments. It is where I have always performed to the best of my abilities. And being a creative person, graphic design is a field that intrigues me quite a bit. It allows me to stretch my creative levels to unimaginable heights. I can think freely and openly when I am working on a project. I like to test my imaginative boundaries to my limits and then go beyond them. This is something I’ve always dreamt of doing, and I will continue to do that in the future as well.”
Another example that does not involve a personal story. Here, the applicant has clearly stated what they like to do, what motivates them to keep going, and how they foresee their future. Businesses like employees who can stay with them for a long period indicate that the applicant has no problem being one such person. This answer also indicates that the applicant likes to test new things every now and then, which is essential for the offered position of a graphic designer.
The examples mentioned above and their explanation can easily help build the perfect answer for the question: What motivates them? But here are some quick instructions that will help you in the process.
You must name one thing (aside from money, obviously) which motivates you to work in the field you work.
You can opt for a personal answer, but that does not mean it is a strict requirement to do so.
You should be truthful. Trying to lie or making up a story that is not genuine would not bore fruitful results for you. You are more likely to get hired if you are genuine in your approach to answering this question.
Obviously, never in any way mention, money is your reason to apply for the job, even if that is the case.
Never indicate that you are not motivated to do the job.
You must show excitement and enthusiasm in your answer.
Just follow these tips in answering the question, and you are sure to get the vacant position for yourself.