The questions of a motivational interview

During the job interview, the recruiter will ask you questions that not only seek to know your skills and qualities for the proposed job but also investigate your motivation.

Companies want to hire motivated candidates who are passionate about the work they do and therefore know how to achieve good results.

In this article, we see what the questions are in a motivational interview, what is the best way to answer these, and other tips to convince the recruiter that you are a motivated candidate.

What does the recruiter want to know?

Let’s first clarify why it’s important that you are motivated and what the recruiter wants to know when they ask you questions about your motivation.

Motivation is the force that allows you to act, to take action. In common parlance, it explains why a person takes a certain action.

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For the recruiter, and therefore the employer, the motivation of a candidate is one of the most important elements when evaluating a person to hire. This is for several reasons:

  • a motivated candidate will be very productive in the workplace;
  • a motivated candidate will be able to achieve his goals and allow the company to achieve them;
  • a motivated candidate will be satisfied personally and professionally;
  • a motivated candidate will be able to build solid relationships within the company;
  • a motivated candidate will have a positive attitude and open to challenges.

This is why it is so important for the recruiter to find a candidate who is motivated as well as competent.

However, a candidate can be motivated by several factors. There is the candidate motivated by external elements such as, for example, money, recognition from others, bonuses, rewards, deadlines that put him under pressure, or that candidate who will be willing to do a good job just because receives something in return from others or because he has a duty to do so.

Then there is the candidate looking for the recruiter, a person whose motivation does not depend on external incentives, but is based instead on his satisfaction: the candidate will play his role because he enjoys doing it, is interested in what does, and gets personal gratification.

For this reason, during a motivational interview, you will have to make it clear to the recruiter that what guides you in the job and leads you to achieve important results is not the money or the benefits of the company, but your strong enthusiasm for the job.

How does the recruiter ensure that you are a motivated candidate?

Motivational interview questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions of a motivational interview. These questions are aimed at understanding if your motivation is intrinsic, that is strictly linked to work: how motivated and dedicated to work you are.

The recruiter will also want to understand if you can create a stimulating work environment for your potential colleagues. Especially if the position you are interviewing for involves teamwork, or is a management role, it is essential for the recruiter that you can collaborate, motivate, and encourage.

Some following questions are similar to those of an aptitude interview, where the recruiter tries to understand what your attitude is in the workplace.

It asks you to tell particular episodes you experienced during your work experiences to find out how you behaved in different situations and what motivated you to do a good job.

Let’s see the most frequently asked questions of a motivational interview.

General questions about your motivation

Knowing the dreams and goals of a candidate helps the recruiter to understand if he is interested in growing in the company if the proposed role is the right one to motivate and encourage him to be fulfilled and to bring benefits to the company.

This series of questions generally investigates your motivation.

  1. What motivates you?
  2. Describe the work environment or corporate culture in which you are most productive and feel fulfilled.
  3. What’s your biggest dream in life?
  4. Imagine receiving an award 5 years from now. Why did you receive this award, what kind of award is it, and what were the circumstances that allowed you to receive this award?
  5. What goals, and above all professional goals, have you set for yourself?
  6. How would you define success in your career?
  7. At the end of your career, what do you think will allow you to say that you have had a successful career?
  8. What motivates you to go to work every day?
  9. When you were 7-8, who would you have liked to be when you grew up?
  10. What, in your experience, managed to motivate your best performances? Can you talk about how and where this motivation came from?
  11. How do you make sure you are motivated in the workplace daily?

Questions about how your motivation drives you to act

Motivation is an intangible trait, so it is difficult for the recruiter to determine if a candidate is truly motivated.

Actions, however, speak louder than words. It’s easy to see motivation in action and with these questions, which investigate how you acted or would act in certain situations, the recruiter gets a clear idea of ​​how your motivation drove you to have the right attitude.

  1. Tell me about a time when you had a good idea for your job, that of your team or the entire company. How did you talk to the company management about it? What actions did you take to ensure that your idea was completed?
  2. What techniques have you learned/discovered and used that made your job easier or more productive?
  3. Tell me about a situation where you went beyond the expectations of your role. Why did you do that? And what did you do?
  4. Can you describe a situation in which you identified and used a new or different approach to solving a problem or a task? What did you do?
  5. If you find yourself having to do repetitive work, how do you motivate yourself to keep doing it and getting it done?
  6. What role does your manager, supervisor, manager, or boss play in helping you to be motivated at work?
  7. What are the actions of your boss or supervisor that help you motivate and act better?
  8. What are the actions, behaviors, or events in the workplace that would limit or destroy your motivation?
  9. In the past, how have you handled a situation, event, or behavior of a person in the workplace that negatively affected your motivation?

Questions to test your commitment and reliability

  1. What would motivate you to stay in this new company for the next 5 years?
  2. How would you define a healthy balance between personal and work life?
  3. Would you accept a job in an unhealthy working environment but with a high salary? Or would you prefer a low salary in a company with a good culture and work ethic?
  4. What makes you want to change jobs?
  5. What, your current company, might change about your job, team, or culture to keep you staying?

Questions about your ability to create a motivating work environment

  1. Describe a work situation in which you have encouraged and motivated a person.
  2. Assuming your colleague is unmotivated, what actions would you take to get them motivated?
  3. Looking back at your colleagues in your current or previous job, can you describe the actions, conversations, interactions, and methods of encouragement that motivated their best performances?
  4. Let’s say you have to join a team of several people who are not motivated to work hard and give their all. What approach would you use to motivate them? Or, if you’ve been in a similar situation before, what approach did you use?
  5. If you had a role in company management, how would you create a motivating work environment for employees?
  6. If in your role in the company you had to supervise the work of your colleague, how would you interact with him/her to encourage him to find his motivation?

Tips for answering questions about your motivation

To effectively answer questions about your motivation you need to understand that these questions investigate two aspects of you: your motivation in life and your motivation in work.

It is important that you have a clear awareness of yourself, that you know what you want, and that you have goals in life and work. You must first answer yourself, and then you will be able to answer and convince the recruiter.

First of all, you have to ask yourself what are you passionate about, what excites you, and what makes you dream. In this way, you will understand and be able to explain to the recruiter that you are devoted to a particular mission, to a project, something that pushes you to give your best.

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Maybe it’s about helping others, maybe it’s just about always acquiring new knowledge and growing. You know what motivates you in life.

As for your professional motivation, we all know how important money is to live peacefully, but in the job interview, you will have to highlight other factors that motivate you.

Are these factors similar to what motivates you in life? Do you feel a sense of satisfaction in completing an important job or project and making others happy? See your professional experiences to date. What were the best days in your job and what made them so? When you tell others about what you do and the tasks you do what do you highlight in your story?

Take into account all these elements and the positive feelings they instill in you to communicate them to the recruiter during the motivational interview.

Remember important examples of experiences in your career to tell and prove your motivation when answering questions.

Finally, also consider the role you are applying for and create a match between the company requirements and your skills and abilities.

What not to say

Some responses may not promote you in front of the recruiter. Here’s what to avoid saying during a motivational interview:

  1. Don’t talk about factors like money, bonuses, benefits, holidays, rewards, commissions, etc., as your motivators.
  2. Avoid mentioning elements that are not important to your position: for example, if you tell the recruiter that you find the relationship with customers stimulating and motivating but in your role, there is no type of relationship with the customer, he/she will not consider you a good match.
  3. Don’t be vague or generic: to stand out from other candidates you will need to talk specifically about what motivates you in the job, to make the recruiter understand that you know what you want for your professional career.

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