Let’s talk about what NOT to do now.
Don’t just talk about money. Everyone comes to work for a paycheck. The interviewer knows. If they’re asking you “what motivates you?” in an interview, they want to hear something besides money.
If you seem only money-focused in your interviews, it can cost you job offers. The only exception is when interviewing for jobs that pay commission, like sales jobs.
If you’re getting a paycheck every 10 working days, there are 9 other days when something else will need to keep you motivated. That’s what they care about.
Also, don’t feel like you need to make up some impressive story. Tell the truth. It can be a simple, straightforward answer. I’ll share more on this coming up soon.
Being dishonest is not a good idea with this interview question.
What motivates you as an employee?
On an interview at a large company:
I absolutely love working as a part of a team. I enjoy discussing ways to move forward with teammates, and I love to respectfully debate others to ensure we are moving in the right direction. On top of that, I take pride in the work that I do, and it is humbling whenever I see a product or service being used in the real world that I was a part of.
Use these example answers to help you put yours together.
Now that you have a better understanding of the reasons interviewers are asking this question and the general strategy for answering it, you can compose a brief but memorable response. Here are a few examples of what that could look like:
You don’t need to get personal in your answer, though. It’s perfectly fine to say something like:
So don’t feel pressure to lie or make up some personal reason when you answer “what motivates you?”
As a recruiter, I’ve spoken with a lot of GREAT job candidates who were simply motivated by one of the following:
Here’s one more sample answer for how to respond to this interview question without using any personal reasons:
Example Answers to “What Motivates You?”
Now let’s look at some word-for-word answer examples for “what motivates you?”…
Interviewer: “What motivates you to come to work each day?”
Remember, never mention money in your answer here! If you don’t know why, go back and re-read the article. It’s one of the most important points mentioned.
And remember one of your big goals is to show them that you’ll work hard and “stick with it”, instead of quitting if things get tough. That’s why “What motivates you?” is such a common interview question.
If you look at the answer example above, you’ll see the end of the answer is focused on showing them that I’ll stick with the work when it gets tough. You should try to do the same.
Interviewer: “What motivates you?”
Your Answer Can Get Personal, But Doesn’t Need to…
Those two example answers above got a bit personal. The first one mentions confidence and personal development goals, and the second one talks about addiction and family members.