In this post I will explain how to face a motivational interview, and I will give you all the useful information to answer in the best way the questions of the recruiter regarding your motivation. During a recruitment interview, the recruiter’s questions cover different aspects of the person and the type of job. There are questions about your qualifications, questions about your work experience, behavioral questions, questions about your skills and so on.

Among the most important, most misleading or otherwise critical questions are motivational questions. As you already know, motivational questions are crucial in a job interview: the way you answer will concretely affect your chances of being hired.

The motivational interview

Motivational questions are an essential part of the selection interview. One of the most frequently asked questions in an interview is precisely: “What motivates you?”.Any question that falls into this area – the area of ​​your motivation – helps the recruiter understand what you are truly passionate about, what drives you to success and, most importantly, whether the motivating force is the right one to fill the offered position bringing great results.

Are skills really that important?

During the job interview, the recruiter will not only make sure that you have the skills, competencies and minimum requirements to fill that position, but will also look to see if you have the right motivation to give your best on the job. work.

During the interview, the recruiter will ask you questions about what motivates you in life and at work. She will want to know what the driving force is that pushes you to carry out the activities that will compete with you. And on the basis of your answer he will evaluate if your motivation is solid and compatible with the expectations required of the person who will be chosen.

Questions regarding motivation vary a lot. The recruiter doesn’t always ask you directly “What motivates you?”. Sometimes the question that is asked is “What are you passionate about?”, Or even “What interests you most in your work?”, Or “Are you a motivated person?”

It is not important to know the exact wording of the question you will be asked. Instead, it will be essential to have convincing and not obvious arguments to bring as an answer.

What does it mean to be motivated?

First of all, though, let’s understand what it’s like to be motivated. We use the term “motivation” on a daily basis to explain why a person has taken a certain action. If desired, we can define it as the factor that guides the actions that people take to achieve their goals.

Motivation, therefore, is the push that makes you act, even when the action is simply taking a glass of water to quench your thirst, or reading a book to broaden your knowledge on some subject.

Needing to work is not a good motivation

There are two different types of motivation: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is that which comes from outside: you do a certain thing because you will receive something in return, such as a prize or money, or because you feel obliged to do it.

Intrinsic motivation is what arises within you. Such as, for example, the gratification that comes from being able to solve something complex when you compare yourself – trivially – with a crossword puzzle.

What does the recruiter really want to know?

During the interview, you will need to do everything possible to emphasize your inner motivation, the one that allows you to do the job.

In fact, the recruiter won’t be too impressed that you’re motivated by money, bonuses, or the need to meet financial commitments like a mortgage or an expensive lifestyle. Let me be clear, these are important “reasons”, but they are not the ideal ones to convince the recruiter that you will always carry out your tasks effectively, they distinguish you from other candidates.

Saying “yes, I’m motivated” is useless

The recruiter wants to make sure that you will be an enthusiastic and passionate employee about the job you do. He wants to know that you will work hard to achieve good results – even when your boss doesn’t ask you explicitly, he won’t be gasping for breath, or promise bonuses and rewards.

How to answer the interviewer’s questions about motivation

First of all, reread the job advertisement with the utmost attention and do some research on the characteristics that tend to have a person in this role. If you think you have these characteristics, find the points of contact to create the match (symmetries, overlaps, coincidences, etc.) between you and the position described.

As I have already explained to you, it is not at all obvious that the recruiter will ask you explicit questions on the topic “motivation”. Instead, he is sure that he will want to collect information about it, and will want to get an idea of ​​what motivates you. He will do this in multiple ways and, first and foremost, he will do it by listening to what you tell about your experiences.

The important thing, therefore, is that in talking about these things you share with the recruiter your enthusiasm for what you liked most about your previous jobs, or what you currently do.

How do you answer these 9 questions?

To prepare to answer motivational questions, try asking yourself:

  • What am I passionate about at work and in private life?
  • What interests me most about work?
  • What did I like most about the previous jobs I’ve done?
  • In my daily activities, what satisfies me the most?
  • In the projects I’ve collaborated on, what “turned me on”?
  • In which of the tasks I’ve completed do I feel most competent?
  • What makes me happy about my job?
  • What wouldn’t I give up on my job?
  • What should be the working environment in which I like to work?

This is the first direction to answer convincingly questions about motivation, to build an idea of what really motivates you.

Give examples, not “hot air”

Tell us about specific examples of your experience, live episodes, stories for the recruiter that will confirm what you say. For example, saying that competition motivates you won’t be enough to convince him. You will need to give an example that shows where and when you have demonstrated this propensity.

Whether it’s about experiences you have had during your studies, volunteering activities, work experiences, try to respond by recalling a specific story. Be sure to enrich your answers with one or two specific examples from which the recruiter can derive your dedication and determination.

Focus on examples where you really felt gratified, where you feel you did a good job not because someone forced you or there was some “prize” up for grabs, but because your passion was the engine to do the job better.

Motivation emerges even when you don’t talk about motivation

These kinds of answers lead the interviewer to think that you can motivate yourself and find the strength to move forward even in the most difficult moments. If you understand that the recruiter satisfies his need to understand what he motivates you not only through direct questions, but also and above all with indirect questions, you are well on your way to having an interview that will leave its mark.

If you are entering the job market for the first time or are completely changing your career path, you do not necessarily have to bring stories of work experiences consistent with the job you are applying for: it is difficult for you to have any, since by definition you have not yet gained experience! And you don’t necessarily have to bring stories of experience gained in the workplace.

Feel free to dare

You need to focus your attention on valuable experiences, wherever they may have been. For example, you can talk about your personal interest, about a project carried out even during your studies. Or maybe you happen to have organized or participated in volunteer activities or events. All of these situations are great for answering motivational questions, because in those situations there is information about your “fuel”, which the recruiter wants to know more about.

You could talk about how you prepared to increase your chances of entering the company or sector where you want to work. For example, you may have taken part in some special course, or you may have contacted people who work in a company to interview them and learn about their career paths. It emphasizes not only the fact that you were motivated by the desire to get the job, but also by the desire to learn more about a certain sector or the work of a company that you are passionate about.

Direct and indirect questions on motivation

The way in which the recruiter investigates your motivation can be through questions that ask you to talk about it both directly and indirectly (i.e. through questions that DO NOT explicitly refer to motivation), such as:

  • What was one aspect that thrilled you in your latest work?
  • What did you like most about your previous job?
  • Do you have any goals you want to achieve? What are they?
  • Do you consider yourself a successful person?
  • What does it mean to be successful at work in your opinion?

In general, if you honestly enjoy the work you do, or have done in the past, and the role offered is similar to your previous job, the recruiter will think that you will perform well if you are hired.

Make no mistake

The worst thing to do is to give the recruiter the impression that you are applying for that position just because you have no alternative. Or, that you have other aspirations and have set them aside for some reason.

When asked what motivates you, make sure your answer is sincere and reflects your true interest and enthusiasm for the profession. There is no ready-made answer: the answer obviously varies from position to position, from person to person, from story to story.

The possible answers are endless!

The possible answers are endless! If you are a programmer, technology and software systems will likely find their way into your answer. If you work in design there will be shapes, colors and materials. If you work in manufacturing, there may be some business processes in your answers.

So, when you find yourself having to answer these questions, go over in your mind what were the most rewarding, exciting and successful experiences in your job or during your studies and explain them to the recruiter. Show them by giving concrete examples.

Motivation is synonymous with results

Work is seen as personal. For the recruiter, a person will be able to excel in the job only if he has the right ambition and the desire to achieve important goals.

Those who want to do well at work usually set themselves a series of personal goals that are also functional to achieving success in professional life. Setting goals on a personal level is considered by the recruiter to be an important aspect, because it means that the candidate has a plan, a plan for his life and career, and that he is working to achieve it.

For this life and career plan to be credible, you will need to take some time to prepare your “inner response”. You have to make sure your answer is not concocted. The best thing to do to avoid looking fake is to think about what your ambitions in life are and what you want to achieve at work.

Motivation is synonymous with initiative

Companies love those who have a spirit of initiative, that is, those highly motivated people who do not just carry out the tasks assigned to them.

Times have changed dramatically when skills and qualifications played a key role in getting a job. Nowadays, there are plenty of entrepreneurs willing to hire someone who shows great enthusiasm and initiative and who has less experience or is less qualified than a veteran with all the requisites but who lacks the determination and will to do.

Especially small businesses need people rich in energy and who can bring the right enthusiasm to the company, so as to achieve winning results and changes.

Motivation is synonymous with involvement

What has been one of the most interesting projects you’ve been involved in? At work there are often several projects and tasks to complete. Some of these allow you to get a reward or a bonus, while others offer you more professional satisfaction and are also important for career advancement.

When the recruiter asks you the question about the projects you took part in, think of a time when you completed a job, alone or in a group, and that was particularly rewarding. Projects can be about anything: something that has changed company standards, some project that has improved your skills and abilities, etc.

Talk about a situation where you not only completed what was required of you but went further and did something that no one expected. Think of a time when you were called to take care of something, and not only did you do it excellently but you also took care to manage the details that no one had considered. Tell an episode where you avoided risks or solved the unexpected, or where you were given some credit.

9 things to fix in your mind

Answers to motivational questions play an important role in the job interview. These are not answers you can think of at the moment, in front of the recruiter. Before the interview, think about at least two or three experiences you have had and that you would like to bring to the recruiter as proof of your passion and interest that drives your actions in the workplace.

Here are 9 things you need to keep in mind for a motivational interview:

  • Be enthusiastic and respond positively when asked about your motivation. Don’t make the (frequent) mistake of talking about what doesn’t motivate you!
  • Share concrete examples with the recruiter that describe when your passion came into play and brought you good results. This will help you be persuasive
  • Don’t lie. Don’t come up with an answer just to please the interviewer. In case he or she asks you more questions after hearing your “prefab” answer, you will find yourself in trouble and you will be “exposed” losing credibility and ending up at the end of the list of candidates running for that position
  • Do not give answers that are as succinct as they are useless like “I am very motivated, this work fascinates me a lot”. End. Don’t limit yourself to a short response sentence, but bring arguments that support your statement. The recruiter gives you time, but also wants this time to be quality. Give value!
  • Remember that external factors, such as money, bonuses, a boss telling you exactly what to do, are not the driving forces well regarded by recruiters. Focus on the inspiration you find in yourself, on the “sacred fire” that burns within you
  • Accept that there are some answers that won’t highlight you as a candidate. So get ready, get ready, get ready. Do not be presumed to go to an interview without preparing yourself thinking you can handle the situation once you face it.
  • If you are motivated by “factors” that are not in the least present in the position offered, it will be an alarm bell for the recruiter. For example, if you somehow make the recruiter understand that what motivates you the most are relationships with people, but the job offered involves little interaction with others, you will not be considered a good candidate for the role.
  • In most cases (I said “most”, and not “always”) it is best to avoid answers that identify money, bonuses, benefits and so on, the driving force of your enthusiasm for a certain job. We all know that economic benefits are very important in the job, but, more often than not, the recruiter is not looking for such an answer when he asks you what motivates you. Usually managers and entrepreneurs know that money and the like do not guarantee either good performance or personal loyalty
  • Do your best to give the recruiter an honest and specific response. Vague answers don’t help him understand what really drives and excites you at work. Remember that each question is your opportunity to show what motivates you, even if the question does not directly refer to “motivation”

Sample answers

The best answers to questions regarding your motivation are the honest ones that create a bridge between you and the position described in the ad. Your answer, in addition to being sincere, should also suggest to the recruiter that you are highly motivated to perform the tasks required by the role you are applying for.

1) Example:

“It motivates me to solve puzzles. I like to do it on a daily basis. At university, I brought this motivation of mine into the in-depth analysis of data and case studies. In the last group work on KPIs, I was responsible for preparing an annual report on product performance. This information was necessary for the company to understand where the next year’s efforts should be concentrated. It was gratifying to know that the work done, reviewing and analyzing data and customer feedback, would guide the management’s decisions”.

Why does it work? Because not only does it emphasize that he has a passion for analysis and reporting, but also conveys a specific image of how and when he conducted this activity and received satisfaction.

2) Example:

“It motivates me to find solutions to problems. For example, just yesterday I helped resolve a situation with a customer who complained about X service about Y. The customer was very confused and it was rewarding to answer his questions, clear his doubts and regain his trust in towards the company. Seeing how customers’ frustration vanishes after helping them is something that makes me proud and satisfied”.

Why does it work? Because it conveys the idea of ​​not experiencing customer complaints as an uninterrupted “break” to be faced, but as the challenge it is called upon to face in order to generate satisfied and loyal customers to the company they work for.

3) Example:

“I really like this type of work because it allows me to be constantly on the lookout for innovative ideas to incorporate into a project. For example, when I was working on my latest advertising campaign for product X, I brought idea A, idea B, C, D and F to the team, which were subject to in-depth evaluation, and many of these implemented. I find it fascinating and stimulating the way in which creativity affects the success of a product or service “.

Why does it work? Because the candidate supports his statement with a concrete example of an experience in which he has demonstrated that he has a passion, and because he has related this type of work with a greater goal, consistent with the goal that the company pursues. He does not like to find “new ideas” for the sake of experimenting: he knows that this activity must produce a concrete result in terms of appreciation and sales of the products and services offered by the company he works for.

4) Example:

“I am very motivated in the things I do. My boss and my colleagues appreciate the fact that in every project I participate in I strive to give my best. Each project is a chapter in itself, a new adventure. The challenges excite me. In games I’m pretty competitive; the curious thing is that I live my work as a game, and I do everything to “win” the challenge. It’s stronger than me! I am not a sitting person. I like to throw myself into new experiences; my passion never stops me ”.

Why does it work? This answer is the perfect example of a person who shows that he has the dedication and tenacity necessary for a work that is constantly renewed and leads to confront new challenges. Argues and persuades about knowing how to give your best in every assigned task.

5) Example:

“No one in my family went to university, but I was always determined to do so. As a result, I moved to another city, I found a job that would help me pay for my studies, since my family did not support me financially. I finished my studies as quickly as possible and with good results. In my studies as well as in the work I have done, I believe I have confirmed that I am a tenacious and reliable person. These values ​​are within me, they have guided me until today and I am sure that they will guide me in the work of tomorrow, helping me to meet deliveries and deadlines. When I set myself a goal and I have a clear idea of ​​what I need to do to achieve it, I know how to put commitment and motivation into what I do “.

Why does it work? This answer speaks between the lines of a person adept at staying motivated and disciplined. He relies on the fact that, since the results he has achieved to date are a consequence of certain values, then it means that he possesses these values ​​and will bring them into any context and any challenge he will be called upon to face.

6) Example:

“At school, especially during lessons, I have always put a double commitment into my projects, given my passion for journalism. For example, when we were asked to write an article on the topic X, I didn’t just collect material on the internet and a few books, but I took the opportunity to interview numerous people and requested and obtained access to local archives conduct advanced research. The result was that the professor of the course considered it so interesting that he proposed it to some magazines; and it was then published in Y. I think my interest and my passion for journalism make me a good editor, always on the hunt for non-ordinary information and ideas “.

Why does it work? In this answer there is the confirmation (supported by concrete facts) that he has one of the most important ingredients that a candidate for a position as editor in a newspaper must possess. The answer is oriented to the tasks that will have to perform if hired, without being self-referential.