7 Real-Life Examples "What motivates you?" in an Interview

This is a great opportunity to tell a powerful story so that your interviewer can visualize you working with energy and enthusiasm, and having a real impact.

  • Choose an example that’s relevant to the role that you’re applying for. Explain exactly where your motivation came from, how it felt, and what you achieved as a result.
  • There are many strengths that you can highlight here, including your keenness to meet deadlines and targets; your love of learning new things; your pride in developing other people’s skills; and your delight in making a difference through your work.

Here are 7 real-life examples of “what motivates you?” in an Interview.

To see my work impact the lives of others

I'm driven by the satisfaction of a job well done. I'm always proud to see my work impact the lives of others, and I love to see them grow as a result of my efforts.

When I was working as an assistant at [company name], I loved seeing how excited people were when they discovered the new features we'd added to the website. They were thrilled not just with their own progress but also with how it would impact other members of our community.

We all worked hard towards our goal, but it was so satisfying to see us all achieve it together.

To work with others and make a difference in their lives

I love the feeling of being part of a team. I’m not motivated by money or fame, but by the opportunity to work with others and make a difference in their lives.

When I was working for a small team at an advertising agency, we had an urgent need for a new website that would showcase our client's products and services.

We were on a tight deadline and the site was going to be very complicated to build—but we managed it! We met our deadline and I learned so much from my colleagues about how to get it done. That's what motivates me: knowing that what I do makes an impact on others' lives.

Working with people, to see how they grow and develop their skills

The thing that motivates me the most is working with people. I love to see how they grow and develop their skills, and I like to be there for them when they need help or guidance. I also really enjoy being able to make a difference in the world—working at [company name] has given me many opportunities to do that.

For example, one time we were working on a project for a client who had been dealing with some pretty serious issues. They were unable to complete their work because of the stress of their situation, so we worked together as a team to figure out how we could help them get back on track.

We ended up coming up with an innovative idea that really helped them move forward and reach their goals!

The opportunity to work with new people and grow my skills

I am motivated by the opportunity to work with new people and grow my skills. I love learning and growing, and I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself. I think that being able to make a difference through my work is very important, too—it’s one of the things that makes me feel most fulfilled.

After college, I had an internship with a company that made solar panels. The company was really small, so I got to do a lot of different things. One day, for example, I helped out with an installation—I was able to help the job go smoothly because of my experience with the product and knowledge of how it worked.

Another time, I worked on a project where we were trying out a new way of applying paint using robots instead of humans. The goal was to save money by lowering labor costs while making sure that quality didn’t suffer because of automation—and it worked! We were able to achieve both goals: saving money while maintaining high quality.

The opportunity to learn new things, and take on challenges that stretch me beyond my comfort zone

I've always been motivated by the opportunity to learn new things, and take on challenges that stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I'm always looking for an opportunity to do more than I was asked, or work in a way that pushes me to grow.

One of my favorite stories is from my early days at [company name]—when we were just starting out, and I was given the task of designing a new training program.  It was a huge challenge: I had never done anything like it before, and I knew that any mistakes would have serious consequences for our company's success.

But the thing is: I just loved working on this project. It felt so exciting! And when we launched the program in January 2017, it was a huge success—our customers loved it and we gained lots of new business because of it.

The feeling of knowing that I've helped someone achieve something

I'm motivated by the feeling of knowing that I've helped someone achieve something.

I have a lot of experience working with people who are just starting out, and I know how much it means to them to accomplish something for the first time.

I spent some time working at a start-up where we had a really close-knit team and everyone was really invested in each other's growth. It was great to see how excited everyone was when they took on new challenges or grew in their role—it motivated me to do my best so that I could help make that happen for others.

Challenge of a new project

I’ve always been motivated by the challenge of a new project, so when my boss asked me to take on a new role in the company, I was excited to show him what I could do.

The first thing I did was research the company and its products. Then I made a list of all the things that they needed help with—there were lots of them!—and then started working through those issues one by one.

My boss was impressed with how fast I was making progress. He said he appreciated a lot how hard I worked to make sure everything was done right and on time.