Read This Post to Answer Motivation Interview Question Perfectly

Unlike must-have questions such as: salary questions, ‘why do you want this job’ or ‘why should we hire you’, motivation interview question appears less frequently. However, that doesn’t mean you can overlook this question. In contrast, this question is considered trickier than the others, so you could be in danger if you didn’t prepare for it in advance.

What motivates you?

What are you passionate about?

Yes, sometimes you would get this kind of question in a job interview. This is an interesting question, but answering it well can be a challenge.  

Why do they ask this question?

There may be many people wonder why recruiters ask motivation interview question. Of course, it’s not because they ran out of things to ask. In fact, the reason behind this question is quite simple: they want to find out more about you both as a person and a potential candidate.

First of all, interviewers will be given some insight into what makes you tick, what you like doing, things that you value and overall, what drives you to success. Based on your response, they would somehow know whether you would do well in the role you are applying and how would you fit into the company culture and the job duties.

For example, if a person is motivated by building teams and establishing strong relationships with coworkers, they would very fit into jobs that require communication. Or someone whose motivation is getting the best results on report everyday would be a great salesman.

Notes to take

Give them honest answers

With this kind of question, certainly we just need to say truthfully about ourselves. If you want to “polish” your answer to make it fit the best with the position they are hiring, trust me, it’s not a good idea. Because that means you will have to be insincere and both you and the employers wouldn’t want that. Going to a job interview doesn’t just mean the company is the one who examining you but you are also seeing if the job fits you. In case what the position strongly requires is not something you have or you want to do, don’t try too hard. A perfect job is a job which makes you happy while working and there’re many other opportunities out there.

However, saying you are most motivated by receiving high salary each month (though honest) is not very inspiring. Think further than that, for example, something would make you feel emotionally satisfied.

Prepare before the interview

Because this question requires a bit of self-reflection, having an immediate answer is quite hard. Therefore, you should prepare the answer beforehand even it’s unlikely that 100% we will get this question. It doesn’t have to be a full proper answer, but you should conceptualize it by thinking about:

  • What happened during your best days at previous jobs?
  • When were you most looking forward to a day at work?
  • Remember about days you come home from work feeling enthusiastic and excited? Why did you feel that way?
  • What kind of tasks are you best at? In what kind of environment do you work the best?

After answering these small questions above, I bet you will now know what motivates you to work. Each person may have very different answers, it can be a successful meeting with a client, a new skill you mastered, a great result in sales, or anything that mattered.


We all need motivation to work (Source: Bobby Albert)

Be related to the job

Your answer also needs to have something related to the skills and abilities which will be useful in the job you are applying. Don’t get me wrong, we are not trying to tell you make them up. Remember rule 1: be honest? What you should do is trying to highlight what you already have in your answer to make them fit perfectly with the job.

For example, if you are interviewing for a manager or leader position, framing your answer around relationship-building, working with great teammates, or coaching others will be a stronger answer than learning new things or meeting goals.

Use an example

Providing and describing your motivation through examples from your past will make the employers easy to understand and be more impressed. When giving examples, choose impressive ones and don’t forget to connect them to the job naturally.

Don’t overemphasize your answer

Don’t be over. When being asked about your passion, also remember to avoid answer such as “my dream is to change the world” because it only shows that you’re still unrealistic like a child.

Sample motivation interview question & answer

Although you can see many samples, always make sure that your answer is personal and relates to your own personality, ability and background. Here are some examples for you: 

What motivates you?

  • Editor/Writer:

– I’m very motivated by meeting set targets within deadlines. To me, I will get a sense of accomplishment after finishing each deadline and I always look back on it at the end of the day knowing “I achieved that”. Besides, visible results are big motivation for me too. For example, when I wrote an article for a popular magazine, I felt happy and accomplished from knowing up to ten thousands of people would read it.

  • Customer care staff:

– I am motivated by solving problems, especially very difficult ones. In my previous job, I work in customer care department and I had helped resolved so many customer complaints. When being able to provide answers to confused customers and make them feel better and relaxed, I am so satisfied.

 What are you passionate about?

  • Designer:

– I’m passionate about painting. Since childhood, I have been dreaming that I will become a famous painter someday. I really followed that path and entered art college then graduated with excellent degree. Everytime I paint, I don’t feel like I am working but relaxing. Therefore, I have been earned my living by working as a designers for 7 years and I will continue for sure.

  • Baker:

– My passion is baking. I am very interested in researching new recipes and testing them out. In person, I’m a detail-oriented and I love the scientific aspects of baking. That helps me rarely meet failure with baking any type of cake, even the most difficult ones. By the way, to me baking is also a way to get together with friends, family and connect people through sweet things. And I really love doing that.

Still wondering what’s your true passion? Watch this video first!

 Where do you see yourself in the next 5/10/etc years?

  • Publisher/Editor:

– My goal in the future is to build a career in the publishing industry. Therefore my target right now is to find a position at your company where I know I can grow and learn so many new things and connect with the most professional people in the industry. Working for a top organization is important key for me to get my goal.

  • Content marketer:

– In five to ten years, I would love to be a senior marketing creative manager in one of the top agencies in Vietnam. Marketing is my passion and there’s nothing makes me motivated than creating great PR contents which are praised by millions of people and make the client numbers rise rapidly.

Let’s take a look at this video to get more example:

Useful words & phrases

  • motivation vs passion

Are these 2 things the same? Can ‘What are you passionate about?’ and ‘What motivates you?’ be answered the same? As you can see from the example answers above, not really.

Although we can not have the exact definition for these words, but we can assume the difference between them:

passion is simply something you enjoy doing; a task or an activity that brings you pleasure and you find reward in doing.

motivation is why you does something or helps you to drive goal-oriented behaviors. It brings us pleasure feelings and to get them, we have to work. Motivation is what causes us to do certain action.

Don’t let motivation interview question confuse you (Source: The Cheat Sheet)

Different types of motivation:

  • meeting deadlines or targets
  • mentoring others
  • learning new interesting things
  • coming up with creative ideas to create something new or improve something
  • drawing simple conclusions to complex cases
  • being a part of perfect working team
  • leading a team to success
  • completing a difficult work or project
  • getting rewards or praises for you hard working
  • overcoming a hard challenge

We all know that practicing for job interview is learning not only what to say but also how to say through your attitude, body language, etc. Therefore, finding text sample answers sometimes isn’t enough. Why don’t we practice by watching sample videos? There’re plenty sources of helpful videos we can find easily on the internet. One of them is eJOY GO. eJOY GO’s outstanding point is that you can search exact sentence in videos directly. All you have to do is type the sentence you want to search, then click “Say it” like in picture below.

See more video about motivation questions

Moreover, eJOY has another helpful tool for you! You can save the new words on the videos directly by eJOY eXtension and learn later.

Discover Word hunt on eJOY GO to find sample videos

Motivation interview question can be a big obstacle in the way to your dream job. However, if we prepare for it and every other questions well, you will have more percent of success!

Install eJOY eXtension to Chrome FREE!

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