What motivates you

This isn't a blue sky question. The interviewers need to know what you think about your motivations.

If answered honestly, it can get you your dream job.

Motivation is the driving force that produces achievements. It's really personal. Motivational instructors try to unlock motivation, not tell people what should be motivating them.

It's actually a myth that motivation is some sort of trick. People are almost impossible to motivate to do things they really don't want to do.

Motivation is really about your own personal commitments and goals.

Some people are motivated to become scientists, doctors, aid workers, or other very demanding jobs where the work is extremely tough, and the work conditions can be appalling.

If you're going for a job where motivation is an issue, and this question appears, you can bet that you're not being asked for no reason. The question normally shows up in interviews in the middle range jobs, but sometimes happens lower down in high pressure positions.

Motivation is required for various reasons:

Jobs like sales, for example, can be absolutely brutal. Performance demands are constant, and high. Motivated people can actually thrive in these conditions. Others will dig tunnels to get out of jobs like that, if they can.

Customer service is another role where in some jobs the pressures are enormous. Hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of people, provide a constant and often stressful demand on the individuals in these jobs. Problem solving, dealing with difficult customers and the rest of the equation are truly hard work. Motivation is essential. Many people can't handle the work at all.

Your own motivation is a personal energy source. It produces the incentives, the ambitions, the goals, and in many cases the ethics, of the work you do.

OK, so what is your real motivation?

Do you love the work and have big dreams of things you can do?
Is it a personal desire to help people, like aid work?
Is it a personal challenge, like science?
Is it a chance for rewards, like a business?
Is it ambition, something in particular you want to achieve?

The number of actual motivations equals the number of people on Earth.

Everybody has a special motivation, and yours is the one that will get you performing at your absolute best. It's the kind of drive that can have you doing things of which you may not have even thought yourself capable.

If you're not motivated, you may find it difficult to get moving, and lack energy and enthusiasm. As a general rule, try not to go for jobs where you're not motivated enough to put in the effort.

The real issue is getting your motivation and your career on the same page.

We'll assume that you've done that, for the purposes of answering this question, but if you haven't, start thinking about it.

Let's say the job is in an scientific discipline, genetic research.

I've always been fascinated with everything about genetics. It's been my main career goal since I was in high school to achieve real breakthroughs in the field. I'm particularly interested in the medical applications of stem cells. My thesis was on stem cells for repairing major tissue loss problems after surgery.

If I were to use one word to describe my career ambitions, it would be genetics. It's a terrific challenge, and it's the one thing I want to do above all else.

That, you may be interested to hear, is pretty typical of genetic scientists. They're driven by huge challenges, things that have never before even been attempted, and they're creating breakthroughs on a daily basis.

Now, a career based motivation: Sales.

To me, sales work is its own motivation, in many ways. I love making sales, and the work involved in making a sale. It's a genuine stimulus, and really gets my mind working on all the issues. I almost never take a day off, if I can help it. It's a sort of joke in the family that even when we go on holiday I'm looking at sales techniques and packages in the duty free shops.

As a career, it's a huge challenge. Not many people get to the top in sales, and when I add my love of the work to the challenges in a sales career, there's nothing else I'd really rather do.

That's a real sales person talking, the kind that does succeed at the very top level. It's not a job to them, it's a personal ambition being realized.

That's what's meant by motivation.

So think about yours. Make the connection between your motivation and your career, get the jobs you really want, and you'll have a ball.