10 Smart Answers to “What Motivates You?”

Why Do They Ask “What Motivates You?”

When an interviewer asks you about your motivation, they want to understand how passionate and committed you are to their company and the job opportunity. They are looking to gauge if you genuinely care about the work and if you will fit well within their team and culture. Your answer should be genuine and specific, highlighting your unique motivators and how they relate to the position you are applying for.

10 Example Answers to “What Motivates You?”

Example 1:

I’m motivated by the opportunity to learn and grow in my career. I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself and expand my skill set, and I find that being in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment helps me do that. I’m also motivated by the chance to collaborate with talented colleagues and contribute to a team effort that produces great results.”

Example 2:

“For me, motivation comes from feeling like I’m making a difference. Whether it’s through providing excellent customer service, creating innovative solutions to problems, or simply being a supportive team member, I find that I’m most energized when I feel like my work is having a positive impact. That’s why I’m drawn to companies that have a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to making a difference in their communities.”

Example 3:

“As someone who is naturally curious and loves to explore new ideas, I’m motivated by the opportunity to innovate and create. Whether it’s developing new products, designing new processes, or finding more efficient ways to do things, I’m always looking for ways to push the envelope and come up with something new and exciting. I find that this kind of work keeps me engaged and inspired.”

Example 4:

“One of the things that motivates me most is the chance to take on new challenges and push myself out of my comfort zone. I thrive on the adrenaline rush that comes with tackling something difficult and succeeding against the odds. Whether it’s taking on a new project, working with a new team, or learning a new skill, I’m always eager to take on new challenges and prove myself.”

Example 5:

“What motivates me is the desire to achieve my goals and fulfill my potential. I’m driven by a sense of ambition and a desire to succeed, and I’m always looking for ways to improve myself and my performance. Whether it’s through setting and achieving personal or professional goals, or simply striving to be the best version of myself, I find that this kind of drive keeps me focused and motivated.”

Example 6:

“I’m motivated by the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. Whether it’s through my work directly or through the company’s mission, I find that I’m most energized when I feel like I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. I want to be part of an organization that is making a difference and creating a better future for everyone.”

Example 7:

“For me, motivation comes from the chance to develop meaningful relationships with my colleagues and clients. I’m a people person at heart, and I find that working with others who share my values and goals is incredibly fulfilling. I want to be part of a team that is supportive, collaborative, and committed to achieving great things together.”

Example 8:

“I’m motivated by the opportunity to continuously learn and improve. Whether it’s through formal training programs or on-the-job experience, I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and skills. I want to work for a company that values professional development and encourages its employees to grow and evolve over time.”

Example 9:

“As someone who is passionate about innovation and creativity, I’m motivated by the chance to work on projects that are truly groundbreaking. I want to be part of a team that is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and creating solutions that are truly innovative and impactful.”

Example 10:

“For me, motivation comes from the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with achieving a difficult goal. Whether it’s hitting a sales target, completing a complex project, or overcoming a personal challenge, I find that I’m most motivated when I have a clear goal in mind and a plan for achieving it.”

How to Answer “What Motivates You?”

Step 1: Identify Your Motivations

By identifying your key motivations, you’ll be able to provide a compelling response during your interview.

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Personal Values

Reflect on your core beliefs and principles, and consider how they drive your actions and decisions. Here are some common personal values:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Hard work
  • Self-improvement

Think about which ones align with your personality and the role you’re applying for. Describe how these values fuel your motivation and commitment to the job.

Career Goals

Consider the long-term objectives you’re working towards in your professional life. Be specific about your desired achievements and how they relate to the role you’re interviewing for. Some examples of career goals could be:

  • Acquiring new technical skills
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Contributing to a specific industry

Link these goals to the company’s mission, and express how this role will help you grow professionally and contribute to the organization.

Interests and Passions

Identify what you’re genuinely passionate about, both inside and outside of work, and connect these interests to the position you’re applying for. Here are some questions to help you introspect:

  • What topics of conversation energize you?
  • Which tasks and projects bring out your enthusiasm?

Step 2: Tailor Your Answer to the Job

Try to tailor your response to the specific job you’re applying for. Consider the key responsibilities, company culture, and overall mission of the organization.

Begin by researching the company and its values. This information can typically be found on the company’s website, social media profiles, or through online reviews. Pay special attention to the language used in the job description – it may indicate some of the top skills and values the company is looking for.

Next, reflect on your personal motivations and how they align with the job requirements. Make a list of the aspects of the position that genuinely excite you, and focus on these in your response.


1) Motivator: Interest in the field

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Sample Answer: “One thing that motivates me is my genuine passion for the industry. I’ve always been fascinated by the way technology impacts our daily lives, and I’m excited to be part of a team that’s shaping its future. I find that this passion drives me to stay focused and committed to my work.”

2) Motivator: Professional growth

Sample Answer: “What truly motivates me is the opportunity for personal and professional growth. I enjoy taking on new challenges and expanding my skill set. Knowing that I’m constantly improving and contributing value to the team gives me a great sense of accomplishment.”

3) Motivator: Helping others

Sample Answer: “I’ve always been motivated by the desire to help others. In my previous role, I took pride in knowing that my work made a positive impact on my clients’ lives. This not only gave me a sense of fulfillment but also encouraged me to go above and beyond in my tasks.”

Step 3: Include Specific Examples

If applicable, you can provide specific examples from your experience that demonstrate your motivation. By doing so, you give the interviewer a clear and authentic picture of your work ethic and what drives you to succeed.

To begin, think about a time when you were particularly motivated to achieve a goal, finish a project or overcome a challenge. Describe the situation, what motivated you, and the steps you took to reach your objective. Remember to focus on aspects that can be applied universally, such as personal growth or helping others, rather than individual circumstances.

When crafting your answer, use the STAR method:

  • Situation: Describe the context or background of the event.
  • Task: Explain your responsibility or goal in that situation.
  • Action: Detail the steps you took to approach the task or challenge.
  • Result: Share the positive outcome of your actions, and how it demonstrates your motivation.

For example, if you’re motivated by helping others, you might say:

“In my previous role as a customer support specialist, I was motivated by finding solutions to customer issues and ensuring they had a positive experience with our company. One day, I encountered a particularly challenging issue that required me to work closely with multiple departments to find a resolution. Seeing the gratitude in the customer’s response when we resolved the issue was incredibly rewarding and further motivated me to work even harder in the future.”

By providing specific examples that showcase your motivation, you’ll demonstrate to the interviewer that you have a genuine passion for your work and a strong drive to excel in your career.

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Step 4: Practice Your Response

Practicing your response to the question “What motivates you?” will help you feel more confident during your interview. So, once you’ve identified your motivators and examples, practice articulating your response. You can do this by speaking your answer out loud or writing it down. As you practice, focus on being concise and clear in your explanation. Avoid using filler words, such as “um,” “like,” or “you know.”

Consider practicing with a friend or family member who can provide feedback on your response. They can help you identify areas that need improvement, such as body language, tone, or clarity of your answer. Remember, your goal is to provide a strong, authentic response that showcases your unique motivations and fit for the role.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Be genuine: Don’t try to impress the interviewer by simply stating what you think they want to hear. Instead, provide an authentic answer that truly reflects your personal motivations.
  • Stay relevant: Although you should share your genuine motivation, ensure it connects to the job or the company’s goals. This will demonstrate your potential as a valuable employee in the organization.
  • Keep it concise: Though it’s important to provide context for your motivation, avoid long-winded answers that drift off-topic. Stay focused and keep your response brief.

It’s a great idea to prepare a few examples that illustrate your motivation. This will make your response even stronger, and help convey your commitment to the role. For example, let’s suppose your motivation is your desire to contribute to meaningful projects. You might share a story about a time when you initiated or led a project that made a real difference in your previous role. Or you could mention a specific project or initiative at the company you’re interviewing for that excites you.

It’s essential to reflect on your personal motivations and connect them to the job you’re applying for. Consider how your motivations align with the company culture and values.

Tailor your response and try to use specific examples from your professional and personal life to illustrate your points. If you’re unsure what aspects to highlight, think about the desired skills and qualifications mentioned in the job description and how you have demonstrated those in the past. Don’t forget to practice your response before the interview. Good luck!


Posted in: Job Interview