What drives you in the morning Why
The best answers to the question "What drives you?"
No matter how eloquent you are: openly formulated questions such as “What drives you?” Can quickly make job seekers stammer. In the first part of our "What drives you" series, Tom Stern from Stern Executive Search explained to us what he expects to be able to answer this question and how candidates do best in this situation. Today we have gathered more opinions and inspiration from headhunters, recruiters and HR experts to prepare you for this question. Get ready for your next interview - and for the next step in your career.
Passion is easy to show, difficult to explain, and even harder to teach someone. When faced with such a question as a candidate, you should definitely be honest. Don't just say what you think the questioner wants to hear. Find something that really drives you - and try to make this passion “business-friendly”. Family is of course something that drives a lot of people, but perhaps a bit too predictable to make a lasting impression on the questioner.
Choose a sport or a project that you have put your heart and soul into, something that is an important part of your life. But a sport that you only do twice a year is not a passion. Many people also declare that they work for charity. This is a great way to demonstrate true passion. For example, I'm an ambassador for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity. It's something that really moves and drives me. But when asked "What drives you?" I wouldn't mention it.
If you really want to get your drive across, you have to show interest. What exactly are you doing and what have you achieved? It is best to apply these learning outcomes to your life, career, or company. The key to a perfect answer is the way you answer. Pay attention to your body language - that is how you can tell true passion for something. So think about which topic gets you talking and puts a smile on your face.
– Gary Chaplin, Executive Search
If you feel overwhelmed by the question "What drives you?", Give yourself time to think about it with a counter-question, e.g. "Do you mean that in a professional sense?" Get the other person to say a little more about what he or she wants to hearl. The person asking the question probably wants to know what interests and values you have and whether they fit into the corporate culture. However, the question could also be aimed at cornering you and seeing how you react.
You should answer honestly and be pragmatic. The answer doesn't have to be about your career. However, once you've prepared, you can align your responses with the values of the company or the job description. Just don't panic. Don't tell about a risky hobby or something that the HR manager could imagine you could have a lot of absenteeism from. The questioner usually wants to know how confidently and concisely you are expressing yourself in describing your passion. But it's not just about what you say, it's also about how you act. You can tell true passion from body language.
- Steve Nicholls, Executive Connexions
The most important thing for me is to see how passionately the candidate speaks of his passion. What it is doesn't matter - cooking or driving a sports car. When a candidate talks about their hobbies, a recruiter learns more about their personality, so answer honestly. I once met a candidate who was interested in astronomy, which is unusual. So I asked him about it. It was great to see how his eyes shone when he talked about it.
– Celine Choisel, Biermann Neff
Recruiters know how much top candidates think about themselves and their strengths. The Gallup’s Strengths Finder shows us that people who recognize their talents and invest in developing them approach things with a great deal of passion.
We think the question “What drives you?” Has to be answered honestly. But try to relate your passion to your work. So you can explain directly what drives you in your job, e.g. teaching something new to the profession. Or you draw a link from a hobby (maybe you are an active athlete?) To your work and convey that you are an active and motivated employee.
- Jay Anna Harris, Talent Tree
“What drives you?” Or “What can you get excited about?” These questions are part of the diagnostic phase of a job interview. It's about finding out what motivates the candidate. What level of motivation does he have, what is his personal drive resulting from? There is no general answer or a clearly defined right or wrong.
A good answer always depends on the job (position), industry and company. The motivation to act should be in line with this. If I am applying for a position in sales that looks for lone warriors and the company lures them with high commissions, then it is perfectly fine to cite monetary reasons. If I apply to a foundation or aid organization, then of course you shouldn't mention the money as a special motivation for action.
There, of course, altruistic or ideological reasons count more. If I want to work in a highly innovative company, then there should also be a personal interest in changing the world “technologically” for the better. I think the most important thing here is always honesty. Name what really suits you, because there is little point in lying to yourself or to others.
That might get you through the interview, but it doesn't make you happy in the long run. Choose an honest answer that ideally aligns with the company's values and ideas.
- Philip Athanas, Meta-HR
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