How to answer: what motivates you? in an interview

How to answer: what motivates you? in an interview

You survived the first selection round and were able to convince with your skills based resume. Now all you have to do is overcome the hurdle of the interview, and nothing stands in the way of your new job. If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, you have to present yourself professionally in this conversation and answer one or the other, sometimes unpleasant, applicant questions and thus convince the HR manager. From the point of view of companies, the question “what motivates you?” is particularly popular. The reaction should be credible and honest, and at the same time underscore how much you want to work for this company without sounding desperate. Not so easy to find the right words.

Why do HR managers ask the applicant question about motivation?

Asking a candidate about their motivation for the job is almost part of the job interview basics. Many HR professionals particularly like to fall back on it and use various formulations and modifications for this applicant question, which, however, always focus on the personal drive of an applicant.

  • What are your goals in this job?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What do you love about this job?

But why is the motivation of a potential employee being questioned so precisely? If an applicant has all the essential qualifications and soft skills, has the necessary professional experience, and a personality that fits into the team, all the prerequisites for successful collaboration are in place. Wrong, because even if these factors are essential, many companies think long-term – and motivation plays a significant role.

HR managers want to fill the vacancy with a new employee who will stay with the company in the long term, contribute to its success, and deliver appropriate performance. If there is a lack of motivation right from the start, all of these goals cannot be achieved. Motivated employees identify with the employer, are loyal, committed to mutual success, master challenges instead of throwing in the towel immediately, and grow together with the company.

This has several advantages:

Costs are saved

  • The professional world is always about money. After all, companies have to be economical, earn enough money and, on the other hand, reduce costs. Job advertisements and selection processes not only cost time but also have to be taken into account financially. If employees leave the employer after a short time due to a lack of motivation, the search starts again.

Internal employees are promoted

  • Many skills can be found on the job market, and if a company needs the know-how, this can be found externally. Motivated employees can, however, be encouraged internally and introduced to the tasks and details. This enables a higher specialization, saves costs, and is a competitive advantage over the competition due to internal performance.

The image of the employer is improved.

  • A high turnover rate with employees who leave the company after a few months does not look particularly attractive to the outside world, especially for potential new employees looking for prospects. A committed team with motivated employees, on the other hand, ensures an excellent working atmosphere and a positive employer image.

Interview question on motivation: Insights into your attitude

When a recruiter asks you about your motivation, he or she tries to get a better picture of you. In the next step, of course, this information also flows into the decision for or against you – it means for you: I do it because the good pay is not an appropriate answer to what drives you in the job.

This applicant question is one of the questions that many candidates fear in the job interview. What should I say? How do I get my motivation across correctly? What if the wrong impression is given? Of course, your answers to these questions are essential, but you shouldn’t be afraid of them but instead see the opportunity behind them.

This is where you can stand out, give more profound insights into your drive, your attitude, and your way of working – provided that you have real motivation for the job and have not simply applied because you need a job.

To help you with this, we have tips and suggestions to help you prepare for the question.

This is how you can answer the interview question.

Refer to the acute position

Your motivation is your very personal drive, but formulations quickly appear trite and generally applicable in the first-person form. I want to use my knowledge, deepen and develop personally and professionally. I want to support the team and be successful together. Or it motivates me to be able to use my creativity. Entirely legitimate motivations for a job, but such sentences could be from anyone applicants come in every job interview and always pass.

If you refer to the current company and the open position in your answer, it immediately becomes more credible and convincing. In your company, I see the opportunity to use my creativity to develop new and innovative solutions and optimize process management.

Respond to your passions

A fairly simple way to express your motivation for a job is through your passions. Make it clear what your heart beats for and what interests you – and of course, how this is related to the job and which tasks are associated with it. You should, of course, stick to the truth because fake passions usually come to light quickly.

An exemplary formulation, in this case, would be: It was always clear to me that I wanted to work as a programmer. The technology, the programming languages, the finished product – all of this fascinates me immensely and continues to inspire me even years later. And your company, as the market leader and driving force behind developments, allows me to exercise this passion at the highest professional level.

Be honest

Applicants often think they need to say precisely what the recruiter wants to hear during the interview. So the story is told, and some motivation is invented that fits the company well and expects to impress the HR manager. There is nothing wrong with finding out more about the company to present your motivation better, but you should still stick to the truth.

Anyway, experienced HR professionals will notice whether you are leaning too far out of the window with your motivation and, at the latest, when one or the other question is asked, the story will collapse anyway. It is better to be honest, and authentic when it appears credible, more professional, and leaves a better impression.

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How to answer: what motivates you? in an interview
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How to answer: what motivates you? in an interview
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There are many applicant questions lurking in the job interview that can make candidates sweat. One of them is: What is your motivation?
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