What Motivates You?
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU. Employers are looking for people who are keen to make a difference in their organization. So if you aren’t terribly motivated by work and the only thing that keeps you going is the thought of leaving your workplace at the end of the day, keep that to yourself.
One trick is to say that you are motivated when you get to use the kinds of skills that the employer is looking for. For instance, if the employer requires someone with customer service skills, then hey presto it may be wise to say something along the lines of I really enjoy spending time with people and get a buzz out of dealing with customers and sorting out their problems. I hate it when I feel that I’m not doing my best on behalf of customers. Yes, it sounds a bit cheesy, but if you say it with sincerity, it can nail you the job (if you’re struggling with sincerity in interviews, Romilla Ready and Kate Burton’s Neuro-linguistic Programming For Dummies (Wiley) helps you through by thinking positive).
Other good answers include:
- Recognition: While many interviewers consider it gauche to say that you are motivated by money, you can say that you like to have your good work recognized by your boss, peers, or clients.
- Making a difference: Especially in the charity or nonprofit sector, saying that you are motivated by the pursuit of the organization’s goals is a good idea.
- Challenge: Another good answer is to say that you enjoy getting fully caught up in solving problems and getting to the bottom of difficult situations.
- Self-development: Employers like candidates who want to further their own learning and development. Do bear in mind the nature of the role that you are applying for, though. A management training scheme is likely to provide you with much more by way of development opportunities than, say, an office data entry job.
- Money: Only when going for a sales job should you talk about the fact that you are motivated by financial reward. In fact, many salespeople are suspicious of candidates who say that they are not motivated by money and the luxuries that money can allow you to buy.
Don’t just memorize one of these answers by heart. Take a moment to figure out what really motivates you – you’ll sound much more genuine.
What are you passionate about?
This question is just a variant of What motivates you? However, the key to answering a question about passion is ensuring that your body language demonstrates not just enthusiasm but a real passion. I remember observing interviews for a job as an assistant fashion buyer at a large high-street fashion retailer. All the candidates had fashion degrees and were equally knowledgeable. But the candidate who got the offer was the one whose eyes and face lit up when she talked about her passion for clothing and design and fabrics and trends and all things to do with fashion.
If being honest, a lot of people would struggle to find something to be really ‘passionate’ about at work. So you may be tempted to talk about a passion outside of work perhaps a sporting interest or a community project. But if you do mention an outside interest, it allows the interviewers to wonder whether you’ll be able to bring all your energies to work. So try to keep your answers within the world of work.
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