TRICKY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND HOW TO ANSWER THEM (PART 3 OF 4)
This is the third article in our series that looks at tricky interview questions and how to tackle them.
If you haven’t read the other two then take a look at how to answer the questions ‘What is your biggest weakness?’ and ‘What is your most significant achievement?’ Often tricky questions are designed to provide an interviewer with more information about you than the simple answer to the question. We show you how to tackle the next tricky question.
Again, it’s a classic and an interviewer’s favourite, so we would be surprised if you’re not asked ‘What motivates you?’
This is a question that is designed to explore your strengths. The interviewer may have already asked questions about your skill base. Now they want to know about your motivation to do the job you are applying for.
So, how do you answer this one?
The best way is to draw from the experience you have from your studies, any work experience you may have or extracurricular activities. You need to shape these to illustrate how you will be strongly motivated by the job you are being interviewed for.
You need to make your answer short, but detailed. Back up whatever you are saying about being motivated with strong examples showing skills and qualities relevant to the job. Let’s think about some of the skills and qualities you might use. They could include: meeting deadlines, targets or goals; mentoring and coaching others; learning new things; creative ideas to improve something, or make something new; analysing complex data and drawing clear and simple conclusions; working well as part of a team; leading a team to success; completing a difficult project; spotting flaws and errors, helping to correct them to improve a project and finding a way to solve a problem, or overcome a challenge.
How do you build these into an answer to the motivation question?
Let’s assume you are being interviewed for a copy writer job in a marketing agency. You might have experience writing articles or newsletters at school or college. Your answer to the motivation question could be:
‘I’m motivated by results. For example, when I wrote an article for school newsletter on the intranet, I felt a sense of accomplishment, knowing that 5,000 students would read it. I am also motivated by meeting targets and deadlines. I love to be able to look back on something and say “I achieved that.’
This is a good answer because it means you understand that articles need to be written to deadlines. It demonstrates self-awareness and truthfulness as the motivation comes from the article being seen, not it’s subject. It also shows you have some experience writing, which is a plus.
Clearly, if you were applying for a sales role, you would shape the answer differently. This is a target driven job, so you need to talk about your love of smashing sales targets, being the best at what you do and getting financial rewards for great performance.
Other ways of asking the motivation question are ‘What motivates you in life?’ and ‘What are you passionate about?’
All of them are trying to explore what makes you tick. They are teasing out what you enjoy doing and what you value as well as how you would fit into their team and whether you would do well in the job role
Remember, the secret to good interviewing is to be prepared. Getting ready for some of the questions you may be asked is important as you can deliver a polished response designed to highlight the skills and experience you have. It’s useful to think about the questions you’ll encounter and practice answering them. You should do this with a friend who can tell you how you come across. Get them to be honest and provide constructive criticism.