When you’re applying for a job, you’ll hear a lot of interview questions — some trickier than others. One that’s pretty common, but might catch you off-guard, is the job interview question, “What motivates you?”
This is a broad and open-ended question, which can make it hard to know how to answer. After all, most people are motivated by many factors, including pay, prestige, making a difference, seeing results, and interacting with interesting people.
Why Do Interviewers Want to Know What Motivates You?
In asking this question, interviewers hope to figure out what makes you tick. The hiring manager wants to know what drives you to succeed. He or she also wants to determine whether your motivators will be a fit for the job duties and the company culture.
Honest answers can help reveal what circumstances help you feel excited and enthused (another common variant of this interview question is, “What are you passionate about?,” which also tries to determine what makes an interviewee excited and fulfilled). Providing insight into the forces that motivate you at work can be a window into your personality and style, helping your interviewers get a sense of you as both a person, and how you’d be as their employee.
After all, there’s a big difference between the candidate who’s motivated by building teams and establishing strong relationships with co-workers and the candidate whose best day is working on a report that improves the company’s bottom-line.
Both candidates bring with them strong advantages, and this question can help interviewers narrow their pool down to the individual who is the best fit for the position and the company.