One of the most common interview questions in 2024 is “what motivates you.” Essentially, this question is asked to get a gist of what passions you are willing to prioritize, which will help you convince the recruiter that you’re the best fit for the job.

Knowing how to answer this question might get tricky, especially if you don’t know what aspirations you need to highlight for the answer. No worries, though—it’s easier than you think!

To help you out, we have conducted a guide in which you can find everything there is to know about the “what motivates you” question and how to answer it effortlessly! Let’s see what it’s all about!

Key Takeaways

  • Recruiters usually ask the “what motivates you” interview question to get a gist of what strengths and ambitions you prioritize.
  • The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to research the company and read about what they’re looking for.
  • To answer this question properly, you must keep the company in mind and answer with something that could benefit them. It’s best to avoid any selfish answers that are money-related.
  • This question can take other forms, such as: “What drives you to stay motivated? and even “What makes you come to work everyday?

Why do Recruiters ask What Motivates You? what motivates you

When recruiters ask the “what motivates you?” question, they essentially want to know how driven you are.

The answer you give here is important because it allows them to see what qualities you prioritize when it comes to staying motivated and how they can use said qualities to benefit their company.

Besides that, this question is also a great way to show the job interviewer how far you’re willing to go to gain success for yourself and the company

How to Prepare for the What Motivates You Question 

Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that you can use to prepare for the ‘what motivates you’ interview question:

  • Consider your strengths. A good way to start preparing for the question is to ask yourself about what your main strengths are. This can be anything from figuring out what you are best at and what you can offer to the company.
  • Stay truthful. Recruiters sometimes conduct a background check after the interview. That’s why it’s best to be honest, so you don’t get caught up in a lie.
  • Think about what your passions are. Last but not least, think about what some of your passions are and whether they can be combined with your strengths to make for a solid answer.

How to Answer What Motivates You what motivates you

The best and easiest way to answer this question is to keep the company in mind. Before attending the interview, make sure you take a thorough look at the job description. This will help you look at what strengths you should prioritize when answering the question. 

Besides that, it’s also important to know that what you choose to answer with will reflect what you want to achieve as well.

If this sounds a little complicated to you, here’s a list of good and bad ways to answer the “what motivates you” question:

5 Good Ways to Answer What Motivates You

Some good answers that you can use are:

  • I want to gain a new set of skills.
  • I want to widen my experience list.
  • I want to become part of a team that can rely on me.
  • I want to be part of a creative space.
  • I want to strengthen my problem-solving abilities.

3 Bad Ways to Answer What Motivates You 

As we previously mentioned, keeping the company in mind when you answer is important. Therefore, answering selfishly should be avoided. This includes any answers such as:

  • I want to get more money as I wasn’t paid enough so far.
  • I want to reach fame so that everyone knows my name.
  • I want to be successful, so I can brag about my job position.

Some studies have shown that recruiters hate “money-driven” employees, so it’s best to avoid being grouped with those types of people and not mention any salary expectations either. Your main priority is to convince recruiters that you want to work to help them, not only yourself. 

Sample Answers to What Motivates You Interview Question

Now that you know why the “what motivates you” question is asked, let’s look at some sample answers that you can use:

Graduate Student

What motivates me the most is knowing how many opportunities are waiting for me now that I’m finished with my studies. The fact that I get the chance to widen my knowledge scope while learning additional skills and experiences is what motivates me the most.

Sales 

“I am highly motivated when it comes to raising your company’s sales. Ever since I was a child, I was mesmerized by numbers, and I always knew that that was something I wanted to do with my life. So, my main source of motivation comes from the love I have for these types of jobs.”

Finance 

Each day, I am motivated to know that I could find a secure job where I can showcase my leadership skills while enjoying the warmth and company of my peers. I believe that to stay motivated, one has to feel comfortable around the other employees as we will be spending the most time of the day together.”

IT Job 

“Ever since I was young, I always knew that my destiny was to work in an IT position. I worked hard on my studies because I knew the world that was waiting for me was amazing. Technology is developing each day, and I want to develop with it together.”

Other Alternatives of the What Motivates You Question

Sometimes recruiters will ask a more specific variant of this question. The answers can still be the same as long as you notice what answer the question is trying to get out of you.

Besides the standard “what motivates you?” question form, recruiters might also ask:

  • What lets you do a good job? You can answer with the following: “I believe in myself, and I know that I thrive the most when I’m around a working environment that I enjoy. This job is something that I love, and it’s something that I look forward to each day”.
  • What motivated you to apply for our company? Try saying something along the lines of: “Once I saw your listing, I just knew that it was a perfect match for me! I loved working in this position in my previous job. Sadly, the project finished there, but I kept being eager to continue with a position like this because it’s something I really loved doing.”
  • What is something that helps you wake up in the morning? You could say: “I absolutely look forward to each passing day. I’m a very active person, and I like keeping it that way in my free time. Knowing that something new awaits every day is quite motivating to me.”
  • What drives you to learn new things and gather new experiences? A possible answer would be: “Knowing that there is a new opportunity to broaden my knowledge professionally and personally is something I look forward to constantly.” 
  • What is something that would make you unmotivated? Tricky question as it’s the opposite, but you can still answer with: “I appreciate welcoming spaces where everyone can share their ideas and insights. I believe that the opposite situation would make me feel unmotivated.”

Tips and Tricks on How to Best Answer What Motivates You what motivates you

Last but not least, let’s check out some additional tips and tricks that can help you easily answer any variation of the “what motivates you” question:

  • Be prepared for any additional questions. Once you answer, the recruiter might ask you to elaborate any further. That’s why it’s important to prepare for situations like this by planning out possible additional questions they might ask.
  • Prepare some sample answers beforehand. It’s not a good idea to go to the interview without preparing some answers beforehand. Once you’re prepared, you can easily avoid stutters or pauses between questions.
  • Let your skills and strengths lead the way. Tailor everything to the job description to make a good first impression when you answer the what motivates you question.
  • Talk about both your strengths and weaknesses. Talking about your strengths is easy, but being aware of your weaknesses will separate you from the rest of the candidates.

Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap!

Preparing for your interview is always advised, and checking out what answers you can give to “what motivates you” goes hand in hand with the preparation process. 

Knowing how to stay honest in your answer while still letting recruiters know that you’re motivated enough to pull in the extra work to benefit the company is the foolproof way of answering this question!

We hope this guide has helped you get the answers you were searching for, and we wish you good luck on your next interview!