Interview Preparation

Getting ready for an interview is crucial to landing your new job. here are some amazing tips to help.

What motivates you?

The Real Question: Will this job, specifically, motivate you to do great work? Are you just in it for a paycheck?

Bottom-line Tactic: Put all that great preparation you did for this article to good use.

Most of us go in to work each Monday morning, at least in part, so that come the end of the month we’ll be paid, but as both you and your potential employer have probably discovered, people who are motivated solely by the money are rarely the most enthusiastic, productive or successful members of the team. The jobs you excel at will be ones that really get you buzzing—that you find you enjoy in some way and have some intrinsic motivation for. Your interviewer wants to know if this job will be one of those jobs for you. Most of us go in to work each Monday morning, at least in part, so that come the end of the month we’ll be paid, but as both you and your potential employer have probably discovered, people who are motivated solely by the money are rarely the most enthusiastic, productive or successful members of the team. The jobs you excel at will be ones that really get you buzzing—that you find you enjoy in some way and have some intrinsic motivation for. Your interviewer wants to know if this job will be one of those jobs for you.

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Luckily for you, you’ve already done all the work to provide an excellent answer to any question asking about your motivation for changing jobs since you probed that question deeply in Article 1. At this stage in the interview game you should have a solid idea of what you want out of your next career move, what sort of jobs and tasks energize you, and, hopefully, why this particular opening fits those requirements. Now all you have to do is explain what drives you to the interviewer, being sure to highlight why this job matches your motivations.

Because of this preparation, this question should be relatively straightforward but do keep in mind common pitfalls to avoid, such as:

  • Excessive flattery: You may be interviewing for your dream job, but coming across as a complete fanboy (or girl) is only going to make you sound desperate. No job is perfect and no one likes a fawner. Make sure the interviewer knows you think the role is a great fit for your motivations, but don’t overdo it.
  • Trivial motivations (at least in the eyes of the employer): You may be looking for a shorter commute, but this isn’t the time to mention it. Employers want you to be intrinsically motivated by the work itself, so avoid discussing other outside factors like slight pay increases, convenient hours or plain boredom at your old job.
  • The appearance of random chance: Your résumé might represent a whole lot of trial and error or be full of jobs you took simply because they were available at the time and seemed OK, but companies don’t like to think of themselves as the latest random employer you stumbled upon. They want you to want to work for them for carefully thought-out reasons, so make sure that when you’re talking about your career motivations you emphasize a rational progression from job to job—a coherent career story—that this latest company fits into.

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