Motivation Monday: Your Next Job Interview
Updated: Feb 17
Recently, I attended a marketing conference. The speakers were fascinating, all having performed feats of unparalleled success in the tech world. I listened in as a marketing guru waxed poetic about branding. He spoke about helping teams (Uber, Square, Intel, etc.) create their strategic “story.” He regaled the audience with examples of brilliant marketing; his favorite was a sign that he’d found at a hole-in-the wall pizza spot in SF. Using the pizza example, he taught the audience how we could re-create his winning algorithm for marketing success. His presentation was funny and relatable and, ultimately, his countless marketing victories boiled down to him asking the same question: what motivates people?
At the end of the day, my thoughts kept retracing the idea of personal drivers. The query, “what motivates you,” asked in a million different variations, is always in an interviewer’s arsenal. For good reason. Finding out what makes someone tick helps give hiring managers some insight into what the candidate values, whether they’ll do well in a certain job, and ultimately, assists in determining whether they’ll be a good fit for the company’s culture.
A personal example: recruiting isn’t easy. Sometimes, it feels like I’m wearing stilts and jumping through Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, all while balancing 7 spinning plates on my head. That being said, I love it. I’m motivated by intrinsic factors—I’m driven by results! I love ticking boxes. Meeting goals while learning new things gives me a sense of personal gratification. In recruiting, there’s always companies to pitch, candidates to interview, and a dozen problems that need to be solved at any given moment. I have a seemingly never-ending check list every day and, through sheer determination and time-management, I place a check mark next to each of those to-dos. I’m constantly learning, completing difficult projects, and finding new ways to solve problems. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with exceeding challenging goals is what drew me to a career in recruitment.
The way that you're motivated, and the decisions you make because of those drivers are important to the career & life that you're creating. Being able to tell your story in the right way will either help you or hurt you in your next. So, prior to you next job interview, find what spurs you forward. Try the following: 1. Do a thorough self-assessment. A. What makes you get out of bed in the morning? Most people will say money but what are you spending that money on? Is it weekends that are completely devoted to travel? Having the time and peace of mind to eat dinner with your family every night? Keep digging. B. Explore your core values; write a list of 15 factors that you will consider when making your next career decision. I can start you off: salary, commute, work/life balance, company culture, etc. 2. What did you like MOST about your last job, and why? 3. Get someone else’s perspective. Get feedback from former managers or colleagues-- what could they always count on you to do (and do well)? 4. Write down your best skills and abilities and tailor them for the job you’re applying to (this requires a LOT of research). Make sure that your sources of motivation align with the company’s goals/mission. 5. Make sure your personal valuation is in line with your short-term and long-term goals.
Job interviews are a lot of internal work but remember: the perfect “fit” goes both ways. Employers want to know what’s going to bring out the best work from you, but also, you want to find a job that you love. Once you understand what drives your best work, you’ll be able to find a company that will help you gain that coveted personal satisfaction. Like the Marketing Master elucidated: what inspires you will make you more valuable.
Now comes the hard work—EXPLORE your motivations! CREATE your story! SHOW that company why you're the person who can take them to the next level.