The 2-Step Process for Answering “What Motivates You?” During Interviews

Marketing
The 2-Step Process for Answering “What Motivates You?” During Interviews
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:00:00 GMT

Out of all the questions a hiring manager might throw your way during an interview, “What motivates you” might be the most crucial one to nail.

One of the most important -- and common -- traits hiring managers typically vet for in candidates is their intrinsic motivation. Research suggests intrinsically motivated employees produce a higher quality of work than extrinsically motivated employees. So proving that you’re a craft-driven professional, and not just someone who is enamored by the company’s lucrative stock options, can be the difference between landing the job and receiving a “thank u, next” email.

To help you answer the “What motivates you?” question in a way that clearly communicates your intrinsic motivation and boosts your odds of landing your next job, check out this two-step process we developed.

Use these marketing resume templates to create a killer resume.  1. Describe why you love your craft.

If you do something solely because you love doing it, your motivations are in the right place, and they’ll allow you to consistently perform past your potential employer’s expectations. For instance, if you genuinely love writing and helping people, you’ll be able to pour passion into your work and create content for the sake of creating content, helping you produce better work than if you only created content because your boss told you to do it.

To effectively convey your passion for your craft when a hiring manager asks you what motivates you, lead off with something like this:

“As I approach my three-year anniversary working in the content marketing space, I’ve learned a lot about myself. More specifically, I’ve realized my motivation in my work is to craft gripping stories that actually help and inspire people. Ultimately, my passion for storytelling stems from making others feel positive emotions, especially toward brands, which is a huge challenge today.”

2. Explain how your passion for your craft will benefit your potential employer.

In 2015, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, spoke at Goldman Sach’s Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. When asked what were some of Apple’s biggest accomplishments from the past year, he responded, “We're not focused on the numbers, we're focused on the things that produce the numbers."

In content marketing, one of the most influential things that produce the numbers is a passion for your craft. But, sometimes, we can get so obsessed with optimizing for results that we forget what actually generates the views and leads we desperately desire -- compelling content.

To clarify this insight to your employer, explain why focusing on your craft -- and not the results -- will benefit them over the long haul, like the example below:

“Today, we both work in an industry where countless brands fight for a limited amount of attention, saturating our space with mediocre content. It’s never been harder to cut through the noise. But one of the most effective ways to capture people’s attention amidst all this clutter is storytelling. The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative. Neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds. We’re programmed to crave and seek out great stories -- that’ll never change. So if you want to move people and sear yourself into their memories, you must tell compelling stories."

”What motivates you?” Sample Answer

Altogether, a strong answer to the “What motivates you” question would look like this:

"As I approach my three-year anniversary working in the content marketing space, I’ve learned a lot about myself. More specifically, I’ve realized my motivation in work is to craft gripping stories that actually help and inspire people. Ultimately, my passion for storytelling stems from making others feel positive emotions, especially toward brands, which is a huge challenge today.

Today, we both work in an industry where countless brands fight for a limited amount of attention, saturating our space with mediocre content. It’s never been harder to cut through the noise. But one of the most effective ways to capture people’s attention amidst all this clutter is storytelling. The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative. Neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds. We’re programmed to crave and seek out great stories -- that’ll never change. So if you want to move people and sear yourself into their memories, you must tell compelling stories."

Intrinsic motivation is the best type of motivation.

“What motivates you?” might be one of the most challenging questions to answer during an interview. But if you can clearly convey that you’re intrinsically motivated and structure your answer the way we did above, you’ll be able to nail the “What motivates you?” question and significantly boost your odds of landing the job.

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