If you are like me, the hardest questions during interviews are the vaguest ones about values and motivation.

To answer these questions, you need to be aware of why you make job related decisions; very often we act on a hunch, hoping for the best. Though sometimes effective, it’s not the best habit. We spend most of our days at work, it’s crucial to be conscious about why we are there at all.

So, what drives us to apply for a specific job?

It can be especially hard when you’re interviewing for an entry level position. You might be thinking that you just to want to start somewhere.  The job might not really very interesting to you, but you need to get your foot in the door. Answers like: “it’s a start”, “I’m looking for a development possibilities” are not the answers the recruiters and managers want to hear. They need someone who is motivated to stay at the job, not indefinitely, but for a longer period of time. Managers and recruiters want someone that they can invest their time and resources in, so they expect this person will be sticking around to do the actual work for which they were hired. Thus, if you apply for entry level job, choose the one you feel will teach you something that will give you basis for your future growth. Then, when you apply for a job you can honestly answer that you applied to the job because you want to learn and develop in this industry.

What if you applied for the position strictly because of the compensation?

Firstly that’s not good motivation from your stand point.  Just because each one pays a little bit better than the last, you could get stuck in different types of same level jobs without advancement. It’s also not a good answer from the employer’s perspective, because they know you’re always one slightly better offer away from resigning. Try to find job that can be financially beneficial but also that can be interesting to you. Try at least to find some aspects of job that will allow you to gain new knowledge and experiences.  Let’s say you’re applying for a job in retail but you’d like to be a compliance specialist in the future. During the interview you can say that you’re especially interested in processes and procedures, end of month closing activities, security standards and data management standards employed by the company as well as soft skills you can gain by working there: communication, problem solving, stressful situation management ect. Something that will prove useful in any future job.

When answering motivation questions, try to focus on the job, company and everyday tasks you’ll be performing and highlight what is relevant to your future plans and interests.

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