Unlocking Career Success: The Power of Motivation in Interviews

In the ever-competitive world of job interviews, success hinges on one crucial element: motivation. We, at The Insider’s Views, believe that understanding and harnessing the power of motivation is the key to conquering even the tricky interview questions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricate details of how motivation plays a pivotal role in acing interviews, especially when confronted with challenging inquiries.

Table of Contents

The Significance of Motivation in Interviews

When you step into the realm of job interviews, you embark on a journey to prove not only your qualifications and experience but also your determination and enthusiasm. These intangible qualities, encapsulated in the term “motivation,” are what often set you apart from other candidates. But what exactly is motivation, and why is it crucial in interviews?

Defining Motivation

Motivation, in the context of interviews, is your driving force, your internal catalyst that propels you to excel in your professional life. It’s the unshakable belief in your ability to contribute to a company’s success and make a meaningful impact. Motivation is not a mere desire for a paycheck; it’s the fire that burns within you, pushing you to thrive, learn, and grow.

Demonstrating Commitment

Motivation is a clear indicator of your commitment to the role you’re applying for. Interviewers seek candidates who aren’t merely seeking a job but are genuinely passionate about the position and the company. Your ability to articulate what motivates you reveals your dedication and alignment with the organization’s goals.

Navigating Tricky Interview Questions

In interviews, some questions are designed to dig deeper into your motivation, challenging you to unveil what drives you and how you handle various scenarios. Let’s explore these questions and understand the aim behind each one.

“Can you recall a time when you were particularly driven to achieve a goal? How did you approach the situation?”

This behavioral question assesses your ability to share specific instances from your past experiences that demonstrate your motivation. It’s an opportunity to showcase how your drive led to significant achievements.

“Imagine being confronted with a demanding project requiring extended hours and extra effort. How would you navigate this scenario, and what would maintain your motivation to deliver it in time?”

This scenario-based question aims to gauge your response and motivation when faced with challenging work situations. It tests your problem-solving skills and determination to meet demanding deadlines.

“Where do you see yourself in five years, and how does this role contribute to your professional growth and motivation?”

This question delves into your career goals and growth plan. The interviewer wants to understand your long-term aspirations and how the role aligns with your career path.

“How do you stay motivated when faced with a complex problem that doesn’t have an obvious solution?”

This question assesses your problem-solving skills and your ability to stay motivated in challenging situations. Interviewers present complex challenges related to the role to evaluate your approach to problem-solving.

“What type of feedback or recognition motivates you the most in your work?”

Interviewers inquire about your preference for feedback and recognition, which can reveal what drives your motivation. They want to understand if you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, providing insights into your work style.

“How do you stay motivated to learn and develop new skills continuously?”

This question explores your motivation to learn and adapt to new challenges, a vital trait in today’s workplace where continuous upskilling is essential.

Understanding the Interviewer’s Perspective

Hiring a candidate is a rigorous process that demands time and effort. When interviewers inquire about your motivation, they are seeking candidates whose vision and motivation align with the company’s mission. It’s not merely a question about your qualifications; it’s about you as a person.

What the Interviewer Wants to Know

The interviewer is interested in several aspects of your motivation:

  1. Your Source of Energy: What fuels your enthusiasm for work?
  2. Your Passions: What do you genuinely enjoy doing in your professional life?
  3. Your Work Values: What aspects of your job are most important to you?
  4. Your Career Fit: Which job roles align with your motivation and aspirations?
  5. Your Fit in the Organization: How and where do you see yourself contributing to the company’s success?

Preparing Your Answers

To tackle these questions effectively, prepare clear and thoughtful answers for yourself:

  1. What motivated you to study for your degree?
  2. What is the company’s vision and mission, and how does it align with your personal values?
  3. How can your collaboration with the company be mutually valuable?

While financial stability is a motivation for most, refrain from making it the centerpiece of your answer. Instead, focus on intrinsic motivators that highlight your strengths.

Types of Motivation

Understanding your motivations can be the game-changer in interviews. Here are some types of motivations and how to discuss them effectively:

Deadlines or Goals

If you are driven by deadlines and targets, highlight your ability to work well under pressure. Emphasize how you deliver quality work under tight deadlines, showcasing your problem-solving skills.


Express your motivation to work as part of a team. Discuss your passion for collaborative efforts, problem-solving in a group setting, and contributing to shared projects.

Creative Opportunities

If you are motivated by experimenting with new ideas, share this enthusiasm. Elaborate on how you thrive in a creative work environment, where you can contribute your innovative ideas.


Discuss how you find fulfillment in successfully completing projects and solving problems. Mention your commitment to seeing tasks through to the end.

Beyond the Professional Realm

When answering questions about motivation, don’t limit yourself to professional situations. Share what motivates you in your personal life, as it offers a holistic view of your character.

Passions and Hobbies

Talk about how your hobbies and interests drive your motivation outside of work. Share activities like playing musical instruments, painting, hiking, cooking, or participating in sports.

Personal Growth and Development

Discuss your motivation to learn and grow continuously as an individual. Mention activities like pursuing online courses, attending workshops, reading books, or engaging in personal development.

Health and Wellness

Elaborate on how maintaining a healthy lifestyle motivates you. Share your commitment to regular exercise, healthy eating habits, meditation, or yoga, and how these practices positively impact your motivation and energy levels.

Contributions to Community

Highlight any volunteer work, social initiatives, or community involvement that motivates you. Discuss how giving back to society fulfills you personally.

Relationships and Connections

Share how meaningful relationships with family, friends, and colleagues motivate you. Emphasize the importance of social connections and their positive impact on your happiness.

Travel and Exploration

If exploration and experiencing new cultures motivate you, discuss your passion for travel and how it broadens your perspective.

Creativity and Expression

If you have a creative outlet like writing, photography, or crafting, explain how these activities allow you to tap into your creative energy.

Advocacy and Causes

Talk about social, environmental, or humanitarian causes that ignite your passion. Explain how advocating for these causes gives you a sense of purpose and motivates you to make a positive impact.

Family and Personal Values

Share how your personal values and family support play a significant role in motivating you.

Balancing Work and Life

Discuss how a healthy work-life balance motivates you, emphasizing the importance of spending quality time with loved ones and pursuing your interests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the best way to answer the question, “What motivates you?” during a job interview?

A: Focus on both professional and personal motivations. Discuss your enthusiasm for challenges, teamwork, creative opportunities, and meeting deadlines. Additionally, share personal motivations such as hobbies, personal growth, community contributions, relationships, and advocacy. Be genuine and connect your motivations to the job and the company culture.

Q: When asked “What motivates you?” as an interview question, should I only talk about work-related motivations, or can I include personal motivations too?

A: It’s essential to strike a balance between work and personal motivations. Including personal motivations showcases your holistic approach to life and work, demonstrating your dedication and enthusiasm in various aspects. Sharing personal motivations lets the interviewer understand your values and how you might fit into the company culture.

Q: I was asked, “What motivates you?” in an interview. What if I have multiple motivations? How do I choose which ones to mention?

A: It’s great to have multiple motivations. Choose the ones that align best with the job you’re applying for. Tailor your response based on the job description and the company’s values.

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