26 Interview Questions on Motivation (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interview questions that enquire about what motivates you are a common part of any interview process. These interview questions can help you reflect on the way you feel about yourself and your work. Understanding these questions and the best way to answer them can increase your confidence in providing effective answers. In this article, we discuss what motivational interview questions are, list some common interview questions on motivation and provide example answers to help you prepare for an interview.

What are interview questions on motivation?

Interview questions on motivation can help employers understand what you feel enthusiastic about and what drives your success. Of course, hiring managers are aware that making a living is a major reason for working. With this interview question, though, they are trying to determine other factors that make you show up for work. These questions can also help hiring managers assess whether you're a good fit for each other. As you respond, they may look for signs that demonstrate an alignment with the company's culture and your job responsibilities.

20 general motivational interview questions

Motivational interview questions are often open-ended, which can help you think critically about your job. Here are several motivational interview questions that hiring managers may ask during a job interview:

  1. How can the company help you feel more comfortable at work?

  2. Tell me about a time you stayed motivated while performing simple, repetitive tasks?

  3. Why is your job important to you?

  4. What makes you feel supported at work?

  5. What have you done at work that boosts your self-confidence?

  6. What are your top three goals in life?

  7. What kind of work environment best supports your creativity and productivity?

  8. Have you ever innovated a new solution or idea for a work process? What techniques did you try to integrate it?

  9. How have you motivated others to stay engaged and productive at work? What strategies can be helpful?

  10. What strategies did you use in your previous role to manage multiple deadlines?

  11. What management style best aligns with your work habits?

  12. What roles do your colleagues and manager play in your motivation at work?

  13. What's an idea that can boost the productivity of team members?

  14. Which you do prefer, a less ideal work environment with more pay or an ideal work environment with low pay?

  15. How have you handled a situation where you felt less motivated at work?

  16. What are your favourite hobbies to engage in do after work? Are you working on any projects?

  17. How do your colleagues affect the way you work?

  18. How does the progress you have made so far make you feel?

  19. How do you define career success?

  20. What were your goals when seeking this job?

Related: Interview Question: "What Motivates You?" (With Examples)

6 common interview questions about motivation with example answers

Here are some common interview questions that enquire about your motivation with sample answers to help you prepare for the interview:

1. Discuss a time you stayed motivated while performing simple, repetitive tasks.

Hiring managers usually ask this interview question to understand the way you feel at work. To answer this interview question effectively, consider using the STAR method. This method can help you respond to questions that are relevant to your work tasks. It gives you an opportunity to discuss your work style or methodology with hiring managers. The STAR framework stands for situation, task, action and result. You can describe a challenge you faced in the past, your responsibilities and assignments for the situation, the steps you took to address the situation and the outcome of the action you have taken.

Example: "My current employer receives a very high volume of job candidates every day. As the human resources assistant, it's my duty to review the CVs in our system each week. The task can be repetitive, and it usually takes a lot of attention and care. That's why I set small goals for myself. Sometimes, there are up to 150 CVs to review, so I decided to set a goal to review 15 CVs at a time. I give myself a quick break and then return to the task. After doing this for a while, I realised it helped me get through all the new CVs at an efficient pace."

Related: How To Write a Motivation Letter (With Template and Examples)

2. How do you define career success?

Your idea of what career success means may show how you motivate yourself to accomplish tasks. For instance, if you describe achievements that involve meeting weekly deadlines, you might highlight your motivation to complete your daily responsibilities efficiently. To answer this interview question effectively, be honest and make sure your response aligns with the organisation's perspective on career success.

Example: “I define career success as fulfilling my duty in the company and my team. I believe that my previous employer has helped me improve my ability to meet the company's and team's goals, and so I work towards accomplishing my individual duties and responsibilities effectively and efficiently. I still want to grow within the organisation, but I hope to realise that growth by making a difference or a positive impact."

Related: 20 Important Life Skills To Support Your Career Success

3. How do you manage multiple deadlines?

Hiring managers usually ask this question to determine your work style in a high-energy situation and to find out what inspires you to complete tasks successfully. To answer this interview question effectively, provide specific examples of your time management strategy so that hiring managers can better understand your approach. Make sure your response demonstrates your commitment to meeting deadlines and your dedication to time management.

Example: "I once had a report that I needed to complete by the end of the week, even though I had a full schedule of other tasks. I reviewed my tasks and realised that some of them were more urgent than others. I made a schedule that helped me complete the more urgent tasks before moving on to the others. After I made the schedule, I realised I had time in between tasks to work on the report a little at a time. This method helped me finish all of my tasks before the end of the week."

Related: 10 Effective Time Management Skills and Their Benefits

4. Describe the work environment in which you are most productive?

Knowing your ideal work environment can help you determine if you would be happy working for the company. An organisation's work environment can affect how productive you are. Thus, consider talking about the factors that can help you boost your productivity, such as your colleagues, your mood, the time of day or specific assignments that can help you complete your tasks better.

Example: "My ideal work environment is one where I can work as part of a team that allows my skills to grow. As I researched the organisation, I learned that you're devoted to developing each team member's abilities and skills. I have found that this kind of work environment can help boost my productivity, especially in a role that requires me to constantly hone my design skills. It allows me to keep my passion for my work and helps me express my creativity to the best of my ability."

Related: How To Create Collaborative Work Environment in 7 Steps

5. What management style best aligns with your work habits?

Hiring managers ask this interview question to determine if your motivational strategies and habits align with the company's managerial style. For instance, if the company values a team member who can independently make critical decisions, it may be helpful to provide an answer that demonstrates your preference for a coaching leadership style, which involves motivating team members to improve their intrinsic motivation skills and overall capabilities.

Example: "I usually prefer managers who have a democratic management style, as it demonstrates their respect for all team members and their ideas, no matter what their position is. Similarly, I also work well under a manager who has a coaching leadership style. In my previous role, I am always motivated and challenged to enhance my skills and I always felt comfortable asking my supervisor or manager questions, which ultimately helped me achieve new career goals."

Related: 10 Management Styles To Lead Effectively: Overview and Examples

6. Which do you prefer, a less ideal work environment with more pay or an ideal work environment with low pay?

Discussing your ideal work environment can help the hiring manager determine your motivation behind your job or work. This allows them to ask more specific interview questions based on your response so that they can identify which situation may be most helpful to improving your happiness in the workplace. To answer this question effectively, be honest about your ideal work environment, even if it's different from your current job's work environment.

Example: "I have worked in several work environments before. While a higher salary is enticing, I noticed that a less ideal work environment changes the way I feel about my job. It's much more fulfilling to be proud of my work, even if the salary is lower."

Explore more articles