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Tough Interview

30 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Tough was updated on December 5th, 2020. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

What motivates you?

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Tough Interview

  1. 1.

    What motivates you?

      How to Answer

      Typically, employees find motivation through environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could drive you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job when the going gets tough.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, a quick thanks or little recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I consider myself a self-motivated individual who is constantly striving to be better and do better. I draw inspiration from leaders in the industry and those around me to keep my motivation high."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "I enjoy researching and am motivated by implementing new best practices when change is required. Stagnant environments drain me. I like change, but only if it is justified, and when there is a chance for visible improvement in efficiency or morale."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I'm motivated by accomplishing a goal together, as silly as that sounds. It's cool to see an idea that was just in someone's head, get moved onto paper, then into the real world and see the campaign come to life and result in sales. Financial motivation works for me, too, but that's a result a successful marketing campaign execution, so it's all coupled together."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I'm motivated by financial targets, helping the team grow, and learning opportunities. I do love some recognition, whether private or public, and a quick pat on the back goes a long way."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I am intrinsically motivated. I like to challenge myself to do something and then achieve it. Breaking my previous records, for instance, is a real high for me. I am in sales, after all! Quotas and dollars certainly motivate me, and I love praise and accolades. I'm not needy, but when my work is noticed and appreciated, you will notice that I work even harder in return."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I am excited and motivated at work when my tasks and responsibilities have a meaning. I dedicate myself to helping my students, so I am at my peak of motivation when I know they are excelling."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Law Enforcement Interview

      "It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, a quick thanks or small recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."

      Ronda's Answer for an Art Director Interview

      "My motivation comes from knowing that I can use my creative expertise to build great artistic works. What motivates me to wake up each morning and do what I do is when I get a phone call from a client saying that the website that I designed for them has attracted a lot of people and the product they were selling is now very successful."

      Marcie's Answer for a Fintech Account Manager Interview

      "The reason I'm cut out to be a fintech account manager is because I genuinely enjoy helping and getting to know clients. Many of them honestly become friends of mine; I build trusting and long-term relationships with them. During our talks, I find out what business challenges they are dealing with, and nothing pleasures me more than when I can offer them a solution to their problem(s). I always stay up on new product features so I can educate the clients and potentially solve issues for them."

      Krista's Answer for a Personal Trainer Interview

      "I am motivated when I can see incredible changes in my clients through my coaching efforts. When I hear stories about how their lab work has changed for the better, and they can cancel certain medications, or participate in their first-ever 5k, or have the stamina to play with their kids, that inspires me to keep doing what I am doing. I am motivated every day I go to work."

      Marcie's Answer for a Fintech Data Analyst Interview

      "I would say that I'm mainly motivated by a job well done. I have a very strong work ethic that was instilled in me by my parents, and when my manager gives me a task I strive to complete it efficiently and in a timely manner so I can earn their approval and know that I did it to the best of my ability. Second, I tend to view data as a puzzle, and I am driven by the challenge of solving the 'puzzle.' So I don't just get my work done for my manager; I get it done so I can rest easy in knowing that I tackled the data and extracted all the insights I could from it."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Wildlife Officer Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field. Also, for instance with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to learn more about a variety of animals and as a result significantly increasing my knowledge."

      Ryan's Answer for a Sales Engineers Interview

      "Personally, I'm motivated by upward mobility. I know that everything I do in my job, whether successful or not, helps plants the seeds toward a bigger role in the future. In the workplace, I am easily motivated by words of positivity and encouragement from bosses and peers. I am also highly motivated by personal improvement. I strive to outdo myself every day."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Bank Compliance Officer Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field. Also, for instance with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to serve clients of different cultures and acquiring further relationship building skills."

      Krista's Answer for an Occupational Health and Safety Technician Interview

      "What motivates me to succeed is the satisfaction I get from providing excellent customer service. I like spending time with my customers and explaining why I am doing the job I am doing. I like for them to understand that I am concerned about the health and safety of their employees and the public, and that I am not there to fine them or harass them in any way. When I make that clear, and they see that I am honest and truthful, it creates a much better work environment."

      Darby's Answer for a Nursing Aide Interview

      "Being a nursing aide seems to be a world of its own sometimes. We take care of some of the patients who can't take care of themselves.. I believe that someone who works in this specialty needs to be very compassionate and know how to exercise patience."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Home Health Aide Interview

      "I am motivated to do my best every day because I realize how heavily my patients rely on me. Some days, I am all they have. That is motivation in itself."

      Darby's Answer for a Family Physician Interview

      "In my opinion, the two biggest problems are cost and quality. Unfortunately, we tend to pay more to get less. I really feel like too much of that spending goes to pad corporate bottom lines rather than optimize the health of populations."

      William's Answer for a Technical Writer Interview

      "There are significant differences between a product manual and a white paper. A product manual is a detailed description of the product, with instructions on its use and how to resolve common issues. A white paper talks about a more general topic about the industry, technology, or solution related to the product. The purpose of a white paper is to provide useful information while promoting the organization's technology or products. It is meant to generate interest and lead to engagements between customers and the organization. A white paper is a sales tool while the product manual is a support tool."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Fashion Designer Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field, and as a result having the opportunity to make an impact on a greater scale. For instance, with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to work with clients internationally and acquiring further skills with clients of different cultures. I am extremely passionate about this career and look forward to becoming the best version of myself, and an expert in my field."

      Christine's Answer for a Volunteer Interview

      "I'm not looking for a specific reward from your organization, simply being involved in a team setting, making friends, and knowing that I am making an impact on those in need, will be rewarding enough!"

      Christine's Answer for a Kindergarten Teacher Interview

      "I am always striving to be better at as a teacher and am often motivated by learning from my students, as well as my peer teachers and parents."

      Heather's Answer for a Licensed Practical Nurse Interview

      "I remember when I first began my career as an LPN, I thought I had to do everything for everyone. I ended up taking on too many tasks and falling behind with my assignments. One of my supervisors told me that a patient had complained because I seemed too rushed. I was so embarrassed because I didn't want anyone to feel like I couldn't do my job or that I didn't care about them. I apologized to the supervisor and my patient and explained that I had taken on some extra assignments, but that I didn't mean to make her feel neglected. When I apologized, the patient agreed to let me continue caring for her. I learned from that experience that it's ok to want to give more, but that I should not stretch myself too thin and risk compromising the best patient care."

      Cassandra's Answer for a Youth Program Director Interview

      "The kids keep me motivated, even on the hard days when things get difficult. They amaze me every day with something new they've learned or even just the interactions they have with each other. I remember one five year old I was working with was picking on another child and I had a conversation with him explaining why that isn't okay; the following week the child was being picked on again and the five year old I had a conversation with stood up for him and explained to the other child why it wasn't okay to be mean to one another. I love seeing the growth even just a week can have."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Quality Control Inspector Interview

      "I am a natural leader and feel that I give my best work when I am responsible for others, or an important project. Feeling like a necessary part of the team is important to me. I want the company I work for to succeed so that I am successful as well."

      Ryan's Answer for a Data Collection Interview

      "What motivates me the most is becoming the best in my field, and as a result having the opportunity to make an impact on a greater scale and contribute to the company's long-term success. For instance, with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to (X newly acquired duties that will enable you to help the company be more successful, as per the job posting)."

      Krista's Answer for an Optometrist Interview

      "There are so many aspects to providing exceptional patient care. I define great patient care as showing respect, listening intently to what the patient and family have to say, clearly communicating what procedures I will perform, providing emotional support, and engaging patients in their treatment plan. The way I look at providing patient care is to treat every patient as to how I would want my loved ones to be treated."

      Clara's Answer for a Water Quality Analyst Interview

      "My communication skills are strong and well-rounded. I have extensive experience professionally, educationally, and even personally in various modes of writing and speaking, from academic papers to public presentations. I am able to communicate to a wide audience and create a sense of connection and understanding regardless of the topic. I feel confident employing these skills in any way you find beneficial in this position."

      Nolan's Answer for a Customer Experience Specialist Interview

      "I am motivated by sincerity, my own in particular. The way I see it, whatever I put my hand to is my work, and I want my work to be excellent. My hand is my reputation. No matter what task I am asked to do, or set out to do, I want to be able to look back and say with confidence that I put in my best effort. This applies to the role of Customer Experience Specialist. I don't have to have all the answers, and I don't have to be perfect, but I do strive for excellence because, as much as the company name is on my work, so is my hand. And that matters to me."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Occupational Therapist Assistant Interview

      "I am personally motivated by words of encouragement and feedback on my work. If I can leave the office feeling like I did my best, and learned something new, I feel very motivated."

      James's Answer for a Hotel Manager Interview

      "The hotel chain I work for now offers a complete package of medical, dental, vision, and retirement savings plans. They also offer life insurance and short-term disability. I would be interested in finding out more information about what your company offers."

      Ryan's Answer for a Human Resources Interview

      "I appreciate you asking this question since, as a human resources professional, this is a question that I ask every new hire as well. I want to know how to keep everyone motivated on the job. I am an eager achiever and find that the best way to be recognized for a job well done is to hear words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work matters."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Grounds Maintenance Worker Interview

      "From a very young age I have always displayed a very strong work ethic. I do so because people rely on me to show up and do what is asked of me. Personally, I am continually motivated by affirmation that my work is of high quality."

      Ronda's Answer for a Branch Manager Interview

      "Overall, I'm driven by results. There will always be goals set, and achieving them is what I set my sights on each day. In my previous job, I strategized to make sales goals and did a regular analysis to see what was working and what wasn't."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Wildlife Biologist Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field. Also, for instance with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to learn about about a variety of animals and discover exciting new ones."

      Heather's Answer for an Addiction Counselor Interview

      "I have worked with people who have battled several different addictions. One common addiction that many people are not familiar with is food addiction. Unfortunately, it is almost as difficult to overcome that addiction is it is to overcome substances such as meth. Additionally, many people who are overcoming substance addictions often develop food addiction as a way of coping with their cravings."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Special Education Preschool Teacher Interview

      "What motivates me the most is becoming the best in my field, and as a result having the opportunity to make an impact on a greater scale and contribute to the school's long-term success. For instance, with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to (X newly acquired duties that will enable you to help the school be more successful, as per the job posting)."

      Sue's Answer for an Editor Interview

      "I'm driven primarily by my desire to learn new things, both big and small, and take on new roles and responsibilities so that I'm constantly growing as an editor and contributing more to my team and the organization. I believe that the smallest details can make a big difference, even in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Luckily, I genuinely love to exhaustively review, check, confirm, and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks."

      Audra's Answer for a Student Advisor Interview

      "In my last role, staff members could submit 'shout outs' for each other that would appear on our weekly announcements. Whenever I was recognized for something, from having a positive attitude in a difficult situation to covering for a colleague to going above and beyond in my work, I would feel so filled out. I appreciate words of affirmation at work; they motivate me because I know people are paying attention to my work. In return, I make sure to submit staff shoutouts each week, as well, so that my colleagues are also motivated by the recognition."

      William's Answer for an Application Integration Engineer Interview

      "I am motivated as an application integration engineer by the satisfaction I get from solving difficult challenges, completing projects on time, and witnessing the results of my efforts have on the organization. I've always felt the need to contribute, whether part of a youth sports team, a member of the cast of a school play or a volunteer in a philanthropic organization. This same need to contribute motivates me to work hard in my profession and exceed the expectations of my organization. While I appreciate being recognized by management for my achievements, my greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that I've done my very best and achieved what I set out to do."

      Darby's Answer for an Urologists Interview

      "Urology, in general, offers a lot of opportunities to help people with sensitive problems. that can have crippling effects on quality of life. Most people don't think about how incapacitating urinary control issues or sexual dysfunction can be until they experience it. Being able to help patients who are experiencing these difficulties is why I love being a urologist."

      Elisabeth's Answer for a Wildland Firefighter Interview

      "I am motivated by my teammates. I love collaborating with so many strong and skilled individuals and see results at the end of the day. We all work really hard and encourage each other to stay focused, even when we face an overwhelming situation, or have spent weeks away from our families."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Animal Shelter Worker Interview

      "I am passionate about working with animals! I understand the challenges I may experience as an animal shelter worker, and I'm not worried about it. Whenever I start to feel discouraged, I think about how I am making a difference in the lives of these animals."

      Rachelle's Answer for an ABE Teacher Interview

      "I am motivated by constructive feedback and exciting new ideas. I enjoy working with other educators to come up with fresh ideas to convey information to students. Meaningful lessons, relationships, and seeing my students experience success in the classroom are enriching. Primarily, however, I am self-motivated. I enjoy seeing my hard work make a difference for someone."

      Krista's Answer for a Virologist Interview

      "What motivates me as a virologist is when my team and I assist in vaccine development. When we develop a vaccine against a particular virus, I know that our contribution will help others worldwide. For that reason, I am motivated to go to work each day."

      Ryan's Answer for an University Administrator Interview

      "I like to come into work knowing that I am able to contribute as part of the team to the services that we will provide to our students, tutors and other customers. I need to know that I have done a task to the best of my ability. I am motivated to be able to push myself to the next level and keen to take on any development that is identified by myself or my Manager."

      Nisha's Answer for an Union Representative Interview

      "My main motivation as a union representative is the inner satisfaction that I get whenever I get to help the employees in trouble or when I act as a catalyst in preventing some strike from happening. When the union members or my peers look up to me with certain expectations and I am able to fulfil them, I feel happy and content from my job and it also motivates me to do even better."

      Rachelle's Answer for a TSA Screener Interview

      "The core values of the TSA include Integrity, Respect, and Commitment. I was raised with these precise values and put them into practice every day. I will show my commitment by applying my keen observational skills and my ability to think and react quickly under pressure. I consider myself to be an observant and watchful person who will be of service when it comes to detecting and preventing outside threats. I am respectful and learned a great deal about showing due respect during my time serving in the Navy. I have a proven history of stepping up when it comes to protecting our nation and serving my country. I am dedicated, trustworthy, and also see integrity as the cornerstone to every action that I take and each decision that I make. It would be an honor to be of service to serve my country in this critical role with the TSA."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Civil Engineering Technician Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field, and as a result having the opportunity to make an impact on a greater scale. For instance, with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to (X motivating factor found on the job posting). I am extremely passionate about this career and look forward to becoming the best version of myself."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Academic Dean Interview

      "What motivates me to succeed is seeing success in others. I am a natural leader and mentor so when I see a student excelling in an area where they may have struggled, before my help, I feel a true sense of pride and accomplishment."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Athletic Director Interview

      "The students motivate me. My role indirectly affects their experience out on the court or the field. If I'm doing a good job of handling the administrative side and supporting the coaches then I know I am making it possible for kids to play the sports they want to and to get the training and skills they deserve."

      Marcie's Answer for an Account Manager Interview

      "I have been following your company for some time now and looking for the right opportunity to join your team. I have prior experience working for startups, and I really value the entrepreneurial spirit of the team. I also enjoy seeing the direct impact my work has on the company. In terms of the role itself, I am a people-person and driven to sell, and I'm also someone who will take the time to build meaningful relationships with clients. I believe the products you sell offer a valuable solution to a problem, and I would love to introduce your products to clients in order to solve their problems."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Biomedical Technician Interview

      "It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, quick thanks or little recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."

      Samantha's Answer for an Accounting Clerk Interview

      "I found that a client had been paying ten dollars over their monthly bill at the internet company I worked for. There was no reason for that because they didn't have a balance to pay off beyond their monthly fee. After reviewing the account, I found they'd been paying too much for over a year. I spoke with my manager and we both called the client to let them know that due to the overcharge on their auto-pay, they'd receive free service for the next five months. We adjusted the auto-pay for the correct amount to be withdrawn on the sixth month. The customer was so excited that they weren't even upset about the overpayments."

      Clara's Answer for a Wedding Photographer Interview

      "I always defer to the couple for their preferences on attire, and I ensure that I fit as closely to the dress code established for guests as possible. For black-tie events, my team and I will wear black suits and dresses with flat, black shoes. For casual or summer weddings, we might wear lighter colors to blend in with the crowd as best as possible."

      Audra's Answer for a Video Producer Interview

      "What motivates me the most in my career is becoming the best in my field, and as a result having the opportunity to make an impact on a greater scale. For instance, with this position, what motivates me the most is the opportunity to work with international producers and acquiring skills with clients of different cultures. I am extremely passionate about this career and look forward to becoming the best version of myself."

      5 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "Support and encouragement would be great tools to help motivate me."

      Rachelle's Answer

      A bit different than 'How can we motivate you?', with this question, you will want to go into further details on the types of situations that motivate you. Share with the interviewer how you drive your own motivation. I have added a sample, below.

      "What motivates me is the fact that I get to help people solve problems every single day. Hearing my customers say 'thank you' or share with me how I made their day just a bit easier, is always encouraging."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "A high pack work environment Challenging tasks Positive workplace"

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good! These motivators will be important for the interviewer to understand, should you be hired.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I like new challenge, and I like to work for the company which appreciates and recognize my work."

      Lauren's Answer

      Great response. I enhanced your response to offer more depth.

      "I am most motivated when I am appreciated and recognized for my work. I genuinely welcome new challenges and am seeking a great work environment to do so."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I love challenges. I am the type that looks at an impossible situation and think how can we do this, not oh no, we can’t do that. So a good challenge motivates me. Of course, I like a good job or an atta-boy as much as anyone else. But satisfaction for me is with a job well done."

      Alexandra's Answer

      Great answer!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I am motivated by doing meaningful work that makes a difference."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It would be awesome if you could dig a bit deeper into this. How would you like to make a difference, or for whom?

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