Many interviewers ask open-ended questions such as ‘what motivates you?’ that can throw off the interviewee.

You need to think at your feet and present a professional answer in under 30 seconds. Your whole life might flash in front of your eyes, scouting for examples from your life while you stare with blank eyes at the interviewer. What do you do?

You ask the interviewer for some more time to think through it. The interviewer might give it to you. But it is hard to come up with an answer in such a high-stress situation.

This is an ordeal that many under-prepared professionals go through. It surely does not make for a good first impression.

Thus, it is important to be well prepared and practice answering a diverse set of questions before the interview. But what is the best way to answer ‘what motivates you interview question’? and why do interviewers even ask such questions?

Read our guide to know how to approach and answer the ‘what motivates you’ interview question.

Why Do Interviewers Ask ‘What Motivates You Job Interview Question’?


It might seem odd to be asked open-ended questions such as ‘what motivates you’ and not questions on your core competencies. So, do these questions have a purpose?

Yes, open-ended questions such as ‘what motivates you?’ help with:

  • Getting to know you as a person
  • Gauging your passion for the role
  • Judging your ability to fit into their company

The interviewer can ask such questions at the start to make you comfortable with the process. It also exhibits how well you know yourself. What motivates you to do a good job? A self-aware person would be able to answer this question.

Now that we know why interviewers ask this question, let’s look at the sample answers.

Also Read: How to answer phone interview questions?

Sample Answers to ‘What Motivates You?’


The best interview answers substantiate real-life experiences close to your heart. A person aware of their passions expresses with confidence by citing anecdotes.

What Motivates You to Work Hard Sample Answer 1


The human psyche has intrigued me over the years. I keep wondering about questions such as why we do certain things or do we follow patterns, what plays in a person’s mind when they make purchases, etc. Therefore, I picked up sales. I wish to keep interacting with people and turn them into my clients.

In my experience so far, I believe it is the interaction that plays a major role when people decide if they wish to buy my product. If I can convince them to buy, it is a good day and motivates me to do better. If the purchase does not go through, I reflect and write down my thoughts about what could have been better.

Also Read: Top tips to follow during an interview in 2022

What Motivates You the Most Sample Answer 2


I began coding in grade 6. My father is a software developer and helped me whenever I would get stuck. Coding has been the closest thing ever since. It is the first thing that comes to my mind when I wake up and go to sleep.

I excelled in Python, C++, R, and Java. Solving problems with codes is what I wish to do. It motivates me, challenges me, and drives me to do better in life.

Also Read: Most common interview questions in 2022

What Motivates You in Life Sample Answer 3


I am a planner. I plan things ahead and wish to achieve my goals in the stipulated time. An organized way of working drives me and I like to have enough time to achieve my goals while giving 100% in everything I do.

So, I make sure that I do not overburden myself and focus on quality instead. Long hours devoted to one project do not burn me out. But continuous and consistent development is what I strive for in life!

Also Read: Most common problem-solving interview questions in 2022

What Motivates You Indeed Sample Answer 4


I worked as a team lead in my last job. It meant managing a team of 10 and improving the outcomes. So, the team had to work efficiently and deliver consistent results.

I worked hard to streamline the processes that the team followed. We made it a point to do less grunt work and be more productive daily. I was motivated by completing tasks ahead of schedule and our management appreciated our efforts.

Also Read: What clothes to wear in an interview in 2022?

What Motivates You to Work Sample Answer 5


I worked for a food-delivery service as a sales associate. The days were hectic, filled with solving customer queries. I would try my best to understand their queries and lucidly explain our way of operations.

It would make my day when customers would give an excellent review and a 5-star rating. It really boosted my morale and motivated me.

Also Read: How to answer behavioral interview questions in 2022

What to Avoid While Answering 'What Motivates You'?


There are many ways to answer what motivates you. But there are some things that you should keep in mind while answering.

Remember to Be Honest


Interviewers are experienced and understand the nuances of body language. You would probably give an in-person interview or over a video call.

Interviewers can understand if you are trying to pretend to be someone you are not. Also, follow-up questions would surely be asked if the interviewer finds out that you have not been honest. So, it is better to pick your lived instances and share them.

Do Not Seem All about Money


Financial freedom is essential for everyone, but it does not mean that it would motivate you every day. What are the other things that you like about your job?

Think of such days when you were happy that you did not miss a deadline, or gave a presentation confidently. Share such instances!

Keep it Short


Keep the answer to the point as there are other questions to be answered as well. Share your motivations, passion, etc. Do not give a lot of information that is not relevant and might confuse the interviewer.

Also Read: What is the star-interview method?

Key Takeaways


Open-ended questions can confuse you. Prepare for them ahead of time to answer professionally during interviews.

  • Questions such as ‘what motivates you?’ help the interviewer in knowing you as a person and judging your ability to fit in.
  • Include lived instances in your answer while approaching this question.
  • Do not talk about how your job helps you be financially independent.
  • Keep the answer brief but comprehensive.

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