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11 Questions to Ask Job Candidates About Their Motivation

11 Questions to Ask Job Candidates About Their Motivation

Employees who are highly motivated can keep working on long-term projects, make it easier to reach their goals, and encourage their coworkers to improve their own skills. People who work in human resources (HR) and hiring managers can ask job candidates how they stay motivated and what makes them want to do well at work. By looking at some of these questions, you can figure out which answers could help you find great candidates who fit the company’s values and culture. This article explains what motivation interview questions are and gives 11 examples that can be used during the hiring process.

In an interview, what are some questions about what drives you?

Motivation interview questions are questions that a hiring manager or HR professional asks a job candidate to find out how they stay productive and interested at work. Many of these questions describe an action or event, because a candidate’s response to certain situations can tell a lot about how self-motivated they are and how a company might try to get them to work harder. Companies often change the questions they ask to fit the needs of a certain industry or job position. For example, a hiring manager for a job in retail might ask a candidate about their experience with customer service and how excited they are to work as a team.

Here are two ways to make people do what you want:

  • When someone does something because it makes them happy or interests them, this is called “intrinsic motivation.” This means that the activity can be enough of a reward in and of itself.
  • Extrinsic motivation comes from things like getting a trophy or money for reaching a goal or wanting to avoid bad things.

Questions to learn what makes people tick

Here are some questions that can help you figure out what motivates a candidate:

What are your three most important goals?

Asking a candidate about their long-term goals can help you figure out how their personality and past might affect what drives them. Asking a follow-up question about the steps they took to reach a goal that has already been reached could be helpful. Think about how you can answer in a way that shows both hope and toughness by talking about concrete steps for planning. People who have always been interested in a subject or activity can show how they might stay interested in the steps of a long-term work project.

How do you get the most done at work?

Some places may help people stay motivated more than others, so it’s important to see if a candidate’s needs match what the company wants. For example, a job in marketing or consulting that requires a lot of interaction may need someone who is motivated by the chance to work with other people. After hearing a candidate’s answer, you might tell them about the most important parts of a company’s work environment and culture so you can see how they might change how they motivate themselves to fit these parts.

Have you ever thought of a new way to do something at work or come up with a new idea? How did you try to incorporate it?

By asking about this, a candidate can show that they can take the lead, which is an important part of being motivated at work. You might find it useful to ask for examples of when an idea worked and when it didn’t. If a candidate is good at solving problems and has a positive attitude, this can show that they can stay interested in their job duties even when they have to solve a hard problem. This question could be especially helpful for people applying for jobs in the health care field, where people often have to take a lot of initiative to solve high-pressure problems.

What does success at your job mean to you?

How a person gets things done may depend on what they think success in their career means to them. For example, if a candidate talks about how they met weekly deadlines, it could show that they are motivated to do their daily tasks. You can also find out what about a career path, like being a leader or helping the community, might make a candidate want a high performance rating or a promotion in the future. If what they say matches how a company sees success in a job, they may be a great candidate for a job.

How have you gotten people to work hard and stay interested at work? How can different plans help?

If you ask a candidate about a time when they helped motivate a coworker, you can find out how they did it and how well it fits with the company’s overall culture. You can also find out what kind of coworker a candidate would like. For example, if they talk about motivation that comes from the outside, like rewards or other incentives, they may value the chance to compete in a good way. But if they talk about an idea about intrinsic motivation, they might enjoy the chance to work with coworkers and help them improve their own self-motivation.

How have you met more than one deadline at the same time?

Asking a candidate about their work style in a high-energy situation can help you figure out what drives them to do tasks well. If you ask a candidate for specific examples of how they have used these strategies, you might learn more about their point of view. Consider giving more credit to answers that show initiative and a willingness to meet deadlines. By asking a follow-up question about their scheduling system and how they handle tasks, you can find out if they have good motivational skills for the workplace, like being able to set priorities or taking responsibility.

Have you ever done a job even better than what was asked of you? How did you get it done?

People who are very driven often take on extra jobs on top of the ones they already have. You can learn about their ability to lead and how they get people to do things by asking them about a similar situation. Candidates can talk about how they talked with their boss or other coworkers about their jobs. This can give you more information about the kind of workplace that will help them do their best work. For instance, if a company has some days with unexpected tasks and a candidate talks about a time when this happened in a good way, they might be the best person for the job.

How do you work? What kind of manager would be best for you?

Depending on what you want to know, you can ask a candidate how their work style fit in with their previous manager. Someone with similar habits and ways of getting things done might be a good choice for a job. For example, if you value employees who can make important decisions on their own, it may be helpful to focus on answers that describe a preference for a coach management style, which involves encouraging employees to develop their intrinsic motivation skills and overall abilities.

How can we get our employees to work faster and better?

Action-based questions about a specific company can help you figure out how a candidate could help change the company’s standards and work culture. This could be especially helpful if a company wants to motivate its workers, which is a key part of making them more productive. Think about giving more weight to answers that show motivation, creativity, and interest in the company’s mission as a whole. Staff members may like an employee who can inspire others to do their best work and come up with new ideas for the company’s growth.

How did you handle a situation at work that made you less motivated?

As many employees have days when they don’t get much done at work, it may be helpful to find out what a candidate’s favorite way is to get back on track. This question can also show how a candidate might act in certain situations, like when they need to pay attention to something outside of work. Consider asking a follow-up question about any strategies that didn’t work out as planned so you can learn how they pushed themselves to find other answers.

What are your favorite things to do when you get home from work? Have you started any projects?

If you ask a candidate about the things they like to do, you can learn a lot about how motivated they are. People who are still interested in their hobbies may bring that energy to their jobs, especially if their jobs and hobbies seem to go together. For example, if a person applying for a job in the entertainment industry talks about how excited they are about their favorite TV show, you might decide that they can use that excitement to motivate themselves and others to do good work.

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