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5 Easy Steps to Answer “What Motivates You?” in an Interview

By Stav Ziv – theMuse

Expertise and experience are nice. You’ll need them to impress that recruiter and the hiring manager and everybody you meet with if you’re interviewing for a brand new job. However they’re not sufficient. You even have to have the drive to put these expertise to use and draw on your experiences so that your prospective employer truly benefits from them.

When someone asks “What motivates you?” in an interview, they’re not just on the lookout for another arbitrary tidbit of information about you. They’re additionally making an attempt to work out whether or not you’d care about what you’d be doing and convey the complete weight of your talents to bear in this specific position at this specific firm. In other phrases, they want to know in case you’ll be an engaged, completely happy, and productive employee impressed to do your easiest in that setting.

“What they’re ultimately looking for is, does this person in some way align with the things that we believe in here, with the values we have here, with the mission we have in the company?” says Rajiv Nathan, a Muse profession coach and founder and CEO of Startup Hypeman. “Because you could have someone with a really good resume, but if you ask them what motivates them and their answer has zero alignment with the company, they’re going to get a feeling [that] it’s a bad fit.”

“What motivates you?” might sound like an intimidating existential query, however answering it in an interview is definitely pretty simple for those who comply with these 5 steps.

1. Mirror on Your Past Experiences

“Think about what you’re passionate about,” says Jennifer Sukola, a Muse career coach and human assets skilled. “What is it that you find most gratifying in your work?” For those who can pinpoint those issues, she explains, you will have the idea of your reply.

Take a while to mull over—and perhaps even write out in an inventory—the elements of previous jobs that excited and energized you most, those you all the time needed to do extra of or wished have been your whole job. Maybe it was being an lively member of a group and contributing to an enormous undertaking or spearheading a model new initiative. Or perhaps it was speaking to clients and making them really feel heard. Or it may need been seeing your sales numbers go up and your identify climb the leaderboard. Perhaps it wasn’t one thing in your day-to-day obligations in any respect, but something concerning the mission of the company or who it served.

“It’s definitely worth doing some self-reflection on, even if it’s not for an interview,” says Tara Goodfellow, a Muse profession coach and owner of Athena Consultants, Inc.

2. Make Positive Your Motivation’s Related and Aligned With the Position and Company

It virtually goes without saying that one individual could possibly be motivated by many issues, depending on the context. This isn’t the time to expound in your deep love of ice cream and canine and wax poetic about how you’d cross oceans and climb mountains to eat a cone or pet a pup—until in fact the job is ice cream taster or canine walker.

If you’re answering the interview query decide one career-focused concept that’s related to the position and company you’re making use of for. “If it’s a small startup and growing company and you are motivated by learning new things and being challenged, that’s a great answer because that’s going to be the environment you’re in,” Goodfellow says.

However, “if you’re going to be doing accounting analysis all day and state that you thrive by wearing many hats throughout the day and learning new things, then as an interviewer, I’d want to explore that further because it’s not necessarily going to be the case.” Briefly, all of it is determined by the context.

Sukola says you should use the job description itself to allow you to put together an reply. “Make a list of things before the interview of what you would be doing for this job and what’s gratifying for you out of those,” she says. Select the points of the job that make your eyes open vast and get you excited just considering about the potential of touchdown the position. “Then you can tie it back to what motivates you.”

For example, suppose you’re taking a look at a job description for a business intelligence analyst position. You don’t thoughts pulling knowledge and crunching numbers, but what really catches your eye is that a main part of the job would require talking to colleagues across the corporate to understand their needs and assist them translate those into knowledge requests and then working collaboratively and creatively to current what they’re on the lookout for in a format they will comprehend.

Whenever you’re setting up your reply, you’ll be able to join your motivation explicitly to the position you’re interviewing for, saying something like, “And that’s one of the things that excites me about this job, where I could channel that motivation to play a part in cross-functional collaboration that will make everyone feel they can understand and make use of the data we’re collecting without being daunted by it.”

three. But Be Trustworthy

Don’t get so carried away tailoring a perfect response based mostly on the position and the company that you simply lose what truly motivates you in the method. “It’s a good way to screen yourself…like is this even the role that makes sense for you as a candidate?” says Nathan.

“If it doesn’t feel like an honest statement to you, it won’t for the listener,” Nathan warns. So as you ponder and plan your answer, be cautious of one that you simply assume sounds good but isn’t genuine. “If it doesn’t really speak to you, it’s going to be received as very phony.”

The danger isn’t just that your nicely packaged but misleading reply will value you the job. Maybe even worse, in case your response does one way or the other cross muster, you may truly get the job—solely to be miserable later as a result of the day-to-day work and incentives don’t resonate with you.

“It’s really helpful while you’re being interviewed also to think, ‘Okay, is this going to get me energized and engaged at least 80% of the week to jump up and go to work?’” Goodfellow says. While no job is ideal 100% of the time, “you’re spending so many hours a week there, you might as well be engaged and energized at least most of the time.”

4. Stand Out With a Story

The important thing to an effective reply that gained’t sound like every different answer the interviewer is hearing is to be particular and illustrate your response with an instance. Stories are memorable and persuasive, so use one to your benefit.

“The example doesn’t have to be, ‘I increased the revenue 20% or saved the company $2 million,’” says Goodfellow. “I think a lot of people avoid giving examples because of that. It’s like, ‘Well, I haven’t really done anything that amazing.’ But that’s not the case.” In case you haven’t fought off villains sporting a cape and saved the world from sure destruction, that’s okay. Your story doesn’t have to be fit for a superhero blockbuster, it simply has to exhibit that you simply’d be an incredible rent for this position.

Go back to a type of experiences you mirrored on that gave you a boost of power and made you are feeling excited to be doing all of your job, and tell that story briefly as part of your answer.

5. Put It All Collectively

Now that you’ve a better understanding of the reasons interviewers are asking this question and the overall strategy for answering it, you possibly can compose a quick but memorable response. Listed here are a couple of examples of what that would seem like:

“I’m driven primarily by my desire to learn new things—big or small—and take on new responsibilities so that I’m constantly growing as an employee and contributing more to my team and organization. I spent several summers working as a camp counselor and felt most fulfilled when I volunteered to lead planning for a talent show, jumped in to help with scheduling logistics, and learned how to run pickups efficiently. All of that experience helped immensely when I took a step up to become the lead counselor last year focused on operations, and that’s what excites me so much about the opportunity to take on this managerial role for the after-school program.”

“I believe that even the smallest details can make a big difference, especially to a busy executive. Luckily, I genuinely love to exhaustively review, check, confirm, and anticipate to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. In a past job, I was in charge of travel arrangements. It became a kind of running joke that I’d always think seven steps ahead and very nearly predict the future—calling the hotel to check which rooms were quietest, arranging for tea with honey and lozenges to be waiting if someone was exhausted and losing their voice before a speaking engagement, and making sure there were extra copies of speeches printed in large font tucked in bags and waiting at the venue. It always energized me to know I’d thought of everything, and that same motivation would allow me to support the C-suite here as an executive assistant.”

“I thrive on hitting and exceeding goals and on friendly competition. I’m the kind of person who looks for spinning classes with leaderboards and joins three different step challenges simultaneously. In my last sales job, we had a screen that showed real-time updates and listed team members based on progress toward quarterly goals. Not only did I not rest until I’d reached at least 100% of my goal, but I also always got an extra burst of motivation if I wasn’t in one of the top spots. One quarter, I started out lower on the list than usual, but it only made me work harder than I ever had—taking extra calls and meetings and spending long hours understanding prospective clients’ needs to tailor my pitches. I ended up 108% to goal and second on the team. The friendly competition you described fostering on the sales team here would motivate me to succeed in the same way.”

“I love talking to people. And I find it incredibly gratifying to make sure they feel heard and their problems are resolved. When I was working in retail, I thrived out on the floor. I remember one woman who came in looking for a dress for her son’s college graduation. He was the first in the family to attend college and the occasion meant a lot to her. I spent almost an hour with her on and off, listening, helping find options, and checking in. She came back three days before the event, worked up because the zipper had broken. We’d sold out of her size, but I calmed her down and reassured her we’d find a solution. I arranged for a dress to be sent from another store just in time. She later dropped off a thank you note and a photo of her with her son at the graduation, both beaming. Every customer has a story and I’m motivated to make sure each and every one ends well. That’s why I was drawn to the customer service specialist role.”