How to Prepare For Motivational Interviewing Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 23 May 2022

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.

Motivational interviewing questions are a goal-orientated communication style that gathers information from potential candidates using an interview method known as OARS. This interview process often includes the collaboration between a manager, other employees from various departments and you. During an interview, the interviewer may ask open-ended questions that allow them to learn more about you, your problem-solving skills and your positive attitude towards work. In this article, we go through motivational interview questions with the OARS method, provide tips on how to prepare for an interview and include example answers.

What are motivational interviewing questions?

Motivational interviewing questions involve the OARS technique. Its goal is to explore your ability to assess and initiate work-related situations positively. A manager may want to gather information about your motivation, inspiration and initiation levels in certain tasks. The OARS method stands for:

  • Open-ended questions

  • Affirming

  • Reflective listening

  • Summarising

The interview questions focus on discovering more about you and your attitude towards your work duties. The answers you provide let interviewers know how you make positive choices and work adjustments when necessary. This method often involves a collaborative setting with a group of people from various departments. Their goal is to assess if you're the right person for the job by learning how you work with others and address potential issues.

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

Benefits of motivational interviewing questions

In the workplace, motivational interview questions help managers discover more about your work style through having you answer open-ended questions. The motivational interview method is sometimes also used to help current employees who feel a need for a change in their work life. This can lead to interviews that include other employees from various departments to join in on your motivational interview. The benefits of motivational interview questions, including in a group setting, are the following:

Discover solutions

Motivational interviewers often try to help interviewees relay and discover solutions to work-related situations. This is an interview technique that tests your analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The questions you're asked help you evaluate your work-life balance and think about how you might find solutions to resolve certain work situations.

Understanding the company's vision

A company's success depends on its employees understanding the company's vision. When you join a team, you contribute to their vision of success. Meetings with other team members can ensure all team members align with achieving a company's shared goals. This can result in motivational interviewing questions being asked to assess if you're aligned with the company's vision. Such components that make up a company's vision include your views on the company's:

  • customers

  • products and services

  • markets

  • technology

  • business philosophy

  • company concepts

  • public image

Related: How to Create a Collaborative Work Environment in 7 Steps

Identifying strengths

A motivational interview aims to identify the strengths you bring to a company so the company can potentially leverage them to benefit their business. In a panel interview, a group of people are present to aid with identifying your strengths. The group setting allows each person to assess how you contribute to improving the weak areas of a business independently. For instance, if you show excellent people skills, this helps a company improve and strengthen its customer service department.

Establishing teamwork

Many companies know the importance of building and establishing teamwork amongst employees. By demonstrating teamwork during an interview, you can show everyone present how you interact with others. It's a test to see if you can assist with:

  • information sharing

  • problem-solving

  • communication amongst team members

  • reduced stress levels

  • better job performance

Tips on answering motivation questions

When you understand the nature and goals of your job and the company, you become a valuable contributor to the success of a company. Your confidence in your area of expertise also heightens because you understand the vision and needs of the work environment. The following are some tips on making a positive impression when answering interview questions about your motivation:

Focus your answers on your employment

When asked questions about your motivational drive, focus your answers on your employment position and experience. You can prepare ahead of time by reviewing what your role in a company requires from you. As you prepare for your interview, contemplate what type of questions the company may ask you about your motivation. Think about potential scenarios that may arise in your chosen career and how you find solutions.

Give positive responses

During the interview process, a positive frame of mind produces positive responses. Employers pay attention to positive attitudes, which is a soft skill they actively seek in employees. Through a positive attitude, you can demonstrate an open mind and constructive attitude. Tips to remember are:

  • Give positive examples of past work situations where you aided in providing a fast and effective solution to a problem.

  • Show your honesty and positive approach to your work through your authentic personality.

  • Connect with your interviewer by showing your passion for your profession, as passion shows what motivates you.

Related: Weaknesses List: 7 Things to Say in a Job Interview

Internal and external motivators

It's a good idea to identify your internal and external motivators and perhaps share them during the interview. Your internal motivators include reminding yourself of your strengths and experiences in a profession you enjoy and do well. External motivators arise outside of yourself and include the satisfaction of contributing to positive results for your manager and coworkers.

Responses to avoid

Refrain from certain responses to avoid giving a wrong impression. Keep your answers short, focused and concise. For instance, try to avoid responding in a way that mentions your desire for praise and acknowledgement.

Examples of questions and answers

During a motivational interview, the best answers you can provide are positive ones with examples that demonstrate your experience. Here's a list of example questions and how to answer them during an interview process:

Are you self-motivated?

This question is best answered with solid examples that demonstrate your pro-activeness. Choose an example where you were aware of an issue and showed leadership by solving it effectively. This demonstrates your self-motivation and interest in your area of expertise. It presents you as a team player who likes to take initiative.

Example: "My love for sociology inspires me to further my research on the topic of human resources. For example, I was asked to conduct research on the benefits of positive work environments at the request of my supervisor. I already had a file created with articles about the topic. There was no issue with completing the report and submitting it over the next couple of days."

Why do you want this job?

This question is a way for an employer to find out if you've done your research on their company. It's also a way for a company to test your interest in its operations, products, history and goals. A model answer to this question shows your motivation for applying for a job with them. This is a chance for you to demonstrate your passion for the employment position.

Example: "I visited your website and noted that you're planning on expanding your business. I knew it was the perfect fit for me due to my training and experience with developing strategies for business expansions. I did this while with Lamps Incorporated where I analysed the existing data of the company, then came up with a strategy and plan to expand the company. I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to join your company and help to expand your company's business reach."

What are you passionate about?

This question is a way for employers and team members to learn more about you and your personal values beyond your job skills. Your interviewer may also ask this to build a rapport with you. Your passions in life transfer into your work environment and the answer to this question usually involves your hobbies and interests. For instance, you may mention your volunteer work in the community.

Example: "I'm passionate about music and playing the piano. I find that music is a great way to express myself creatively. I keep a pen and paper by my piano because I find that while playing a piece of music, I often get creative ideas which I then use in my advertising work."

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