How To Answer What Motivates You Interview Question

“What motivates you” is a ubiquitous question asked during diverse forms of interviews, but when you are asked this question in a job interview, it hits differently.

Interviewers try to find out the stimulants that motivate you at work. This question can also be a way to know a bit more about your personality and work style. It will help the interviewer to understand you as an individual and as a potential employee.

Besides that, interviewers also use this question to find out traits that may land you the job. So it is best not to take this question for granted and to give a perfect answer.

In today’s guide, we’ll be discussing how to answer what motivates you interview question.

What Does The Question Mean?

In asking this question, individual hiring hopes to figure out what actually moves you. They want to determine whether what motivates you will make you a good fit for the tasks the company is hiring you for.

This question can be rephrased and asked by an interviewer in diverse ways such as:

  • What drives you to succeed?
  • What pushes you to wake up and work?
  • What would you say you are passionate about?
  • What motivates you to do a good job?
  • What encouraged you to apply for this position?

These are all similar questions to “what motivates you.”

They all mean the same thing and what they are simply implying is that “in what circumstances are you willing to work for them. They (the hiring company) typically want to know what will motivate you to do an excellent job for a particular wage rate and time frame.

Furthermore, the interviewer here is looking for responses that indicate that you’ll be eager and ready to arrive at the office every day and start executing assigned duties as an employee.

You want to make sure that your reply here comprises of your desire to always be involved and productive, or rather your enthusiasm to execute specific job tasks.

How to Answer What Motivates You Interview Question

what motivates you to do a good job

An excellent answer to any interview question depends on how quickly you can think and how good you are at describing instances or expressing your feelings in words.

Whatever you say about your motivation, you need to have examples to back it up, with your experiences that should relate to the skills required for the job.

These are a few short responses to the question “what motivates you” that can be combined with your personal knowledge and past experiences.

  1. Achieving targets or goals before deadlines
  2. Coaching and mentoring others in my area of expertise
  3. Being a functional member of a very productive team
  4. Leading a team to success
  5. Coming up with creative ideas to improve a working system or creating a new system altogether.
  6. Learning new things and applying them to my profession in order to improve my efficiency at work.
  7. My drive is for me to develop my work rate efficiency in order to improve the services of the establishment I work for.
  8. Executing a difficult task and getting validated for the work I have done.
  9. Ensuring that the work on a project gets the best result by spotting mistakes and errors and correcting them.
  10. I feel fulfilled when I find ways to solve difficult problems.
  11. Being productive as often as I can motivate me a lot, even on my days off.
  12. I like to challenge myself, improve my potential, and grow on a professional level.
  13. I enjoy learning and building up relevant knowledge; learning on the job helps me grow not just professionally, but personally as well. (you should respond with this when you do not have any experience)
  14. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I successfully complete a milestone or accomplish a short term goal. Especially when I have a lot of tasks at hand to execute.

The Perfect Answers to “What Motivates You Interview Question”

Answer 1

I like to challenge myself, develop my potential, and grow on a professional level. That’s what attracted me to marketing, to begin with. I admired marketers from afar, and one day decided to develop skills that they possessed, this compelled me to develop new skills that I never would have strived to get.

It improved my confidence level, the way I speak, my ideology, not just my career as a whole. As I got better and saw I was good at it, this encouraged me to pursue and acquire all it’s professional and educational requirements.

Answer 2

I feel fulfilled when I solve problems. When I am able to offer practical solutions to the academic and personal challenges of learners. I am always happy when I see these solutions work.

Answer 3

Coaching and mentoring others in my area of expertise. That is why I choose to teach as a profession, the act of passing knowledge to learners, and seeing them practically apply this knowledge to solve problems, strengthens my passion and motivation to teach.

Answer 4

Being a functional member of a very productive team motivates me a lot.  Most of the projects I and the staff had during my previous employment, had us come up with new and functional ideas and ways to implement them.

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We would all work together to fine-tune those ideas. Working together efficiently with a common goal in mind helped us to think outside the box. This did not only keep me eager to work, but it also pushed me to further my own education in order to develop my skills in it.

How To Answer This Question Effectively

How To Answer What Motivates You

It will be to your advantage if you do some research about the company and the job requirements and its elements prior to the interview. The more you know about the company in question, the more confident and precise you will be when you respond.

Additionally, your body language communicates as much as words do, so you must have the right body language to back up whatever you are saying when you answer the question.

Be positive; make sure you show how interested and enthusiastic you are to be considered for the company as you answer. Include in your answer how the job description conforms to your interests.

It might be challenging to think of a good answer to this question immediately since it requires a bit of thinking and reflection. So take a few seconds to prepare your answer, think about the successful jobs and related experience you have had in the past, to prepare your response.

The interviewer will pay very close attention to your answer, and how it directly relates to how suited you are for the job. So, therefore, ensure that your answer has a significant connection to the elements of the job you want to get.

Be as honest as possible. You have to make sure that your answers remain true to who you are. Plus, some interviewers are psychoanalysts, so they tell when you lie, so lying will certainly not get you the job.

It is also vital that when you answer, you link your passions and interests with the philosophies and values of the company that is interviewing.

Whatever you say about your motivation, you need to back it up with previous work experience, which should relate to skills and required for the job you are trying to get.

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Furthermore, a short and comprehensive answer will always be ideal when you respond to this question. Of course, with the right combination of short responses and past experiences relating to the job.

To be honest, what usually motivates most of us to do a job is getting paid (money), but we all know you can’t just say it like that because you might sound unprofessional.

But it is quite crucial that you lightly give a hint for an example, instead of answering “money” or “getting paid” to what motivates you interview question, you can answer “getting value for my output” or “being appraised for my craft.”

And so on. These answers are literally saying you want to get paid for a good job done.

The individual hiring wants to know what drives you, so remember not to say that compensation is your motivation for working hard.

Always expect this question to be asked during a job interview. And also prepare adequately to respond with a good answer.


Most times, to answer the question “what motivates you” can be quite simple because we all know what motivates us.

In some cases, when an interviewer asks what motivates you? They might actually be asking that question in general and might want you to give a personal answer about your life.

Nonetheless, they may get more official, asking what motivates you to do a good job, and not basically what motivates you in life.

Be Coordinated! Don’t attempt to answer this question immediately. Take time to craft a response that fits the company, and remember that a particular answer does not work in all instances. Another interview at a different company may require a different reply.

If these tips above are applied very well by you, you should be able to give an excellent answer to what motivates you at any job interview.