Interview Questions to Assess Motivation

two businesswoman meeting for an interview.

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The following sample job interview questions enable you to assess what motivates the candidate that you are interviewing. They will also help you assess your candidate's skill and ability in motivating employees in their former jobs as well as allowing you to assess their personal level of motivation.

These questions help you discover what your candidate finds motivating at work. Every employer seeks employees who have an intrinsic motivation that is related to work. Because all candidates are motivated about something, you need to discover what that is during the interview.

Discover whether the candidate is intrinsically motivated by the expected tasks and opportunities in your available job. Decide how much motivation and inspiration you will have to provide as the hiring manager or supervisor, the Human Resources staff or other organization representatives. If you believe that it is a lot, you may want to pass on the candidate.

You also need to learn about your job candidate's ability to create a working environment for other employees that they find motivational. Whether the coworkers are reporting staff or colleagues and peers, fostering motivation in others is a needed skill. The employer's goal is to foster a work environment that is motivational and engaging for all

Sample Interview Questions

Feel free to use these motivation job interview questions during your own candidate interviews or use them as models when you develop your own questions.

  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you are the most productive and happy.
  • What's your biggest dream in life?
  • Imagine that you have received a coveted national award five years from now. Why did you receive the award, what is the award, and what are the circumstances under which you are receiving the award?
  • What goals, including career goals, have you set for your life?
  • How would you define success for your career? At the end of your work life, what must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?
  • Talk to the team about when you were seven or eight years old. Who did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Describe a work situation in which you can demonstrate that you encouraged the motivation of another person. Given that you can't motivate another person, what actions did you take that helped the coworker or reporting staff member experience feelings of motivation or choose motivated behavior?
  • Observing your coworkers, in your current or a past job, describe what actions, interactions, and encouragement motivated their best performance.
  • You are assigned to participate in a team that has several members who are not motivated to work hard and contributes their best efforts. How have you in the past, or would you, if you were to experience this, approach this motivation situation?
  • In your experience, what draws forth your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each person has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, do whatever it takes to get the job done?
  • What, in your experience, motivates your best, most successful job performance? Can you give us an example of this motivation in action in the workplace?
  • What role does your manager or supervisor play in your personal motivation at work?
  • Describe the actions and behaviors of your manager or supervisor that you respond to most effectively?
  • What actions, behaviors, or workplace events, would limit or destroy your workplace motivation?
  • How have you coped in the past when an event or the actions of a person in your workplace adversely affected your personal motivation?
  • If you worked in a management role, how would you create a work environment that employees found motivating?
  • If your company role required you to supervise the work of fellow employees, how would you interact with them to assist them to find their workplace motivation?
  • How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?

Model Answers

Are you interested in learning more about how to listen to your candidate's answers to these motivation job interview questions? You can learn a lot about what motivates your prospective employee if you know what you need to listen for in their answers.

These tips about how to assess your candidate’s motivation interview question answers will assist you to select the best, most motivated, employees, for your organization. Do keep reading to see how to assess your candidate’s answers to your questions about their personal motivation and approach to motivating others. You want to hire highly intrinsically motivated employees who have the ability to also create a work environment in which other employees will choose motivation on a daily basis, too.