Q: In a job interview last week, I was asked ‘what motivates you?’ It really threw me. What might I have said? (John, email)
A: Always think about what the interviewer is trying to achieve. There is a reason he/she asked that question, and I would venture they were trying to get a greater understanding of you as a person.
If asked that question, I would seek to apply it to the job in question. If it were a sales role, I would talk about being motivated by ‘customers so happy they come back for repeat business.’
If it were a chef’s job, I would talk about ‘getting positive feedback from the diners.’ Whatever the key indicators of success in the job, use those as examples of what motivate you.
At a broader level, I would seek to show that I am conscientious, determined, driven, customer-focused, pro-active – whatever you feel you are, particularly those aspects of your personality that are relevant to the job in question.
Wrong answers would include ‘close of business on Friday – yippee, the weekend!’ and ‘holidays.’ Every answer in an interview should help you get the job.
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