Careers and Employability Service

Motivation questions

You may be asked motivation questions. You need to ensure that your answer is tailored, and clearly explains why you are their ideal candidate and your specific reasons for applying to that employer. Remember, if you could substitute the name of the employer or organisation, then you have not tailored your answer sufficiently.

Examples of questions

  • Why have you applied to our organisation?
  • Why have you applied for this role?
  • Why do you want to work in this sector?

Sometimes motivation questions can be confused with strengths questions can ask similar questions such as ‘What motivates you?’ or ‘When are you at your best?’. Check out our strengths-based questions section for more information and tips.


Consider what values you share with the company. Do not just say you want to work for them because they are successful as there are many successful companies. Your reasons need to be specific and also should relate back to your own demonstrable values or experience. Keep asking yourself why you like the company and why are they successful.

Also consider how your overall career and education ambitions fit into the company or organisation. An employer is looking for information about your past and future that would make you a good fit for the company or role.

You should be enthusiastic about why you want to work for the company and about how you hope to put the skills you have to good use within the role. i.e. why does your skill set fit with the role or organisation?

You need to demonstrate to the employer that you have a good understanding of what the role involves, what the aims/ strategy of the company are and what is going on in the wider sector. For example, you might wish to work in this role because you know there are specific changes on the horizon which the company will need to adapt to and you want a role which is challenging and diverse. You could then reference an experience where you have demonstrated your adaptability or resilience.

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