There are a lot of questions you should expect in an interview, but sometimes the questions are so broad you don’t know how to answer them on the spot. A little self-reflection before your interview can prepare you for one of the most open-ended questions you might run into.
Photo by Samuel Mann
So, what motivates you? You could probably list a lot of things. The problem is most of the things on that list aren’t necessarily the best answer to give to a potential employer.
Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert and the author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, suggests you do some self-reflecting on your work before you meet for the interview:
If you don’t have a plan, you might inadvertently offer a vague answer — making you appear unmotivated or disinterested, or you’ll simply look like a deer in the headlights… Commit to writing what gets you up in the morning when you think about work. What types of projects have given you the greatest job satisfaction, and why? When in social situations, what do you talk about when you’re inspired about your job?
The more specific you can be about your motivation for what you do, the better. Don’t give them a canned response like “I like working with people” or “I have a passion for sales”. What about working with people makes you excited, and why do sales matter to you? Remember, you’re trying to convince them that you’re the right person to fix all their problems. Explain what will keep you going no matter the course.