What Motivates You to Put Forth Your Greatest Effort?

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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Many interviewees make the mistake of believing that all they need to do is directly answer the interview question that is asked. Though that should be a part of your answer- it is important to understand that most interview questions are seeking insight into the candidate and have several layers to them. The successful candidates will be the ones who are able to un-code what the subliminal questions are and address them along with the general question in their answers.

‘What motivates you in your career?’ and ‘What are you passionate about?’ are other ways to ask the interview question- ‘What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?’ When interviewers ask these questions they are trying to learn about your inner psyche- experience and goals. Understanding a person’s motivation is key to knowing how hard that individual will work in a position. If a candidate’s motivation does not appear to link closely with major aspects of the business- the candidate may not be considered a strong choice for the position. In order to present yourself in the best light you must take time to fully consider the best ways to address this question. Review the following tips for answering these types of questions- as well as some sample answers to make sure that you are on the right track.

How to Answer the “What Motivates You to Put Forth Your Greatest Effort?” Interview Question

It should relate

It is one thing to just state that a certain aspect of a job motivates you- but it is another thing when you can relate your motivation to the job at hand. With all of your answers you want to help paint the picture of how the company would benefit from you being hired. The best way to support your motivation is to give relevant examples from your previous or current job. If you have achieved a set goal or received recognition for work that relates to your motivation- feel free to share it. However- you should be careful not to turn your answer into a bragging session. Think of your accomplishments as support for your main point about your motivation- and keep your answer detailed yet to the point.

Focus on the position

At the end of the day a hiring manager wants to know that you will be able to complete the job if hired. Therefore- it is in your best interest to assure the interviewer that you will be motivated to complete the tasks associated with the position. In order to prepare to properly answer the ‘What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?’ question- it would be helpful to review the job description that the company provides and identify key responsibilities of the position that motivate you. For example- a task to exceed sales goals could be a motivation for someone who is competitive and sales oriented.

Avoid money talk

Everyone needs money to live- and if the money you are offered is not high enough it could become an issue. Also- if you state money as a main motivator it leaves room for the interviewer to assume that you would be open to accepting any job and may not be committed to completing the work required to fulfill the position. For these and other reasons you should avoid stating money as a motivator. Save the money talk for when you are discussing your salary.

Do not lie

When answering interview questions you should never lie- period. An experienced interviewer can often tell when an individual is not being truthful- and when discovered it can diminish your chances of being considered for the position. Take some time and develop your motivators before the interview. Being that this is a common question you can expect to be asked some variation of it- and it can be very helpful if you are prepared.

Sample “What Motivates You to Put Forth Your Greatest Effort?” Interview Answers

1. I am motivated by being able to make a beneficial contribution. Whether it is analyzing a situation or project to resolve an issue- counseling or training new employees- ensuring compliance with company rules and procedures or completing administrative duties to keep the office in order- I feel good knowing that my efforts are contributing to the progression of the company. I appreciate that my passion for helping was noticed when I received the Employee of the Year Award last year.

2. As a goal-oriented individual I am motivated by sales quotas and project goals. I love exceeding expectations and providing the highest value possible. Most times I am allotted freedom to implement new ideas- which ultimately prove to be effective. I believe that is how I was able to consistently exceed sales goals for my division the last three quarters.

There are several different ways that you can answer ‘What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?’ and similar interview questions. Consider the tips given and review the example answers so that you can formulate the best possible answer for you and hopefully secure the position you seek.

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