23 Motivation Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 December 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 interview questions help managers better understand what motivates their potential hires. The purpose of a motivational interview is to help team members reflect on their work and explore their motivation, which helps them perform their roles effectively. If you are attending an interview, learning more about the motivation-related questions they may ask and how to answer them can be beneficial. In this article, we define motivation interview questions, share 23 common questions and also provide a few sample answers to help you prepare better for your next interview.

Related: Top 16 Interview Questions And Answers

What Are Motivation Interview Questions?

Motivation interview questions are usually part of the hiring process. Motivational interviews are tools that managers and leaders within a company can use to assess the aspects of work you are the most enthusiastic about and other factors that are influencing your choice of working in that role for the company. This also helps the recruiting managers to decide whether you are fit for the role and work culture. This makes preparing answers to these questions important to increase the chances of impressing potential employers and securing the job subsequently.

Related: 6 Types Of Motivational Speaking Jobs And How To Get Hired

Ways To Answer Motivational Interview Questions

One method you can use to answer these interview questions is the STAR method. When using this strategy, you provide information about your situation and the steps you took to resolve any issues. It helps you tell a story while focusing on the purpose of the question. These are the steps within that method:

  • Situation: The first step to using the STAR method is describing the situation you were in. Detail the challenge you faced or the issue you were trying to resolve.

  • Task: After describing the situation, you can specify your goal or the outcome you were trying to achieve.

  • Action: Explain the steps you took to overcome the obstacle and achieve the goal.

  • Result: To finish your answer, you can detail the positive outcome your actions had on the situation. This helps you show the interviewer your ability to solve problems.

5 Motivation Interview Questions With Example Answers

These are some interview questions and sample answers you can review to prepare for your next interview:

1. Can you tell me about a time you stayed motivated while doing repetitive work?

If you are applying for a position that requires repetitive actions, recruiting managers may ask you this question to help you explore your strengths in this area. This question may help them open a dialogue about additional methods you can use to overcome remain motivated while completing repetitive tasks. To answer this question, be specific about the steps you took to refocus and find motivation.

Example: "One time, I had an assignment to manage a project to help implement a new policy. I had to create the goals and schedule and then supervise the team throughout the project. I had done this many times before and had no motivation to complete it this time. Later, I realised that focusing on working with my team instead of working on specific tasks made the project a lot more enjoyable for me. By focusing on working well with my colleagues, I made sure we completed the project on time and helped implement the policy efficiently."

Related: 63 Meaningful Quotes About Sales To Motivate Your Team

2. How do you define success for yourself professionally?

During an interview, it is important to remember that the interviewer's primary goal is to understand how you truly feel about your career. If they ask what you think success is, consider being as honest as possible. If your definition of success is different now than when you began your career, you can explain the reasons and the steps you take or plan to take to achieve them.

Example: "When I started working as a social worker, I always felt that success was becoming a supervisor, and I set that as my goal. I gave myself two years to reach that goal, and in those two years, I accomplished a lot and helped many people. I then realised I can help people more directly in my current career path. So, right now, success looks more like building a career, helping my clients identify different demands in the society and better cater to the social requirements and advising them on different ways of solving them."

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How To Get The Job

3. Can you tell me about the work environment that makes you most productive?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about how they can improve the workplace to better serve team members. It is best to answer the question honestly while focusing on the current aspects of your workplace that work for you. If your environment is not ideal, focus on how you can create your own when answering this question.

Example: "At one point, I recognised I was most productive when I had a deadline. Without a deadline, I can always find a reason to edit or change a report simply because I have time. I always finished the report, but I required extra time doing this, even though the quality of the work stayed more or less the same. This is time I can spend on other projects. Now, if I get assignments with no deadline or one in the distant future, I set personal deadlines to utilise my time efficiently and increase my productivity by 20%."

Related: Motivation Theories (Definition, Types And Examples)

4. Would you rather work in an ideal environment with low pay or a less ideal environment for more pay?

A leader may ask this question during an interview to learn more about your motivations for producing quality work. This can help them understand what is most important to you in the workplace. When answering motivation-related interview questions, it is important that you are honest with your answers to help the recruiting managers understand your perspective of professional growth.

Example: "I have worked in several environments in the past. Though higher pay is enticing, I have noticed that less ideal environments change the way I feel about my work. It is far more rewarding for me to be happy about the work I do, even if the pay is lower."

5. Tell me about a time you thought you may miss a deadline. How did you resolve it?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your approach to high-stress situations. This may help them identify your strengths when under pressure and identify areas in which you can improve. To answer, tell a story and focus on the skills you used to overcome the high-stress situation.

Example: "I once had an article due at the end of the week, even though I had a full schedule of other tasks. I recognised that some of those tasks had higher priority than others. I created a schedule that helped me accomplish the higher priority tasks first before moving on to the others. After I created the schedule, I realised I had time in between tasks to work on the article a little at a time. This allowed me to complete all of my tasks before the end of the week."

Related: Why Employee Motivation Is Important: A Complete Guide

18 Additional Motivation Questions

These are some additional interview questions regarding your job motivation that you may prepare:

  1. Tell me about some of the positive aspects of your current role.

  2. Is there anything you can do to make your position more enjoyable?

  3. Are there any steps you have already taken to improve your position?

  4. Tell me about some things that you have gained professionally since you started as a fresher.

  5. Can you tell me about what you do in your position?

  6. What are some things in your role that you excel at?

  7. Detail a recent important event that motivated you at work.

  8. Tell me about some goals you want to accomplish in the next five years.

  9. How has your approach changed since you first started in this profession?

  10. List three words you would use to describe your relationships with your colleagues.

  11. What are some steps you have taken to achieve your professional goals?

  12. Tell me about some of your great ideas.

  13. What is your approach to time management in this role?

  14. Is there anything leadership can do to help you be more comfortable at work?

  15. Tell me about some things that help you feel supported while working.

  16. While working independently, how do you maintain your motivation?

  17. What is the best thing about your job?

  18. Are there other positions that you think you may excel at more?

Explore more articles