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Interview Questions to Discover Commitment and Motivation

Finding employees with the right skills for your job is hard, but finding highly skilled and highly motivated new hires is even harder.

Oftentimes, discovering the technical skills of an employee can be easier than uncovering whether they’re highly motivated or a self-starter. However, finding intangible traits in candidates like drive, commitment and leadership can lead to some of the best hires you’ll ever make.

An employee with the right motivation can lead to a successful leader who develops others, and it’s useful to check out some example interview questions for developing others and teams, along with these example interview questions for discovering commitment and motivation.

Use these interview questions to discover what motivates your current crop of candidates and what level of commitment they are likely to have if they are offered the job.

Interview Questions to Discover Motivation

Motivation is an intangible trait that can be difficult to determine, but it’s easy to see in action.

Using these competency based interview questions (also known as behavioral based interview questions), you can uncover motivation in the context of past experience and behavior.

  • Describe a time when you recognized you weren’t going to be able to meet multiple deadlines. What did you do about it? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when you had an idea that was great for own work, your team or your company. How did you get your management/peers excited about it? How did you follow through to ensure your idea came to life?
  • When you’re able to make extra time in your role, do you ever do anything to make your job more efficient/easy?
  • What techniques have you learned or discovered that make your job easier, or make you more productive?
  • What motivates you to go to work every day?
  • Tell me about a time where you went above and beyond your role and expectations. Why did you do this? What exactly did you do?
  • Can you describe a time where you identified a new, or unusual approach to address a problem or task? How did this approach work?
  • If you find yourself stuck doing repetitive work, how do you motivate yourself to continue and complete it?
  • Have you ever been a part of an unmotivated team? What did you do to stay motivated and make work interesting?

General Motivational Interview Questions

Knowing the dreams and goals of candidates can help you learn whether they want to stick around, or branch out into the world of entrepreneurship.

These interview question examples are a great way to get a general idea of what motivates your candidates.

  • What is your biggest dream in life?
  • What goals, including career goals, have you set for the next 5 years? How about for your whole life?
  • How would you define success in your career?
  • What roles do your manager and team play in your motivation at work?
  • In your experience, what motivates your best on-the-job performance?

Interview Questions for Creating a Motivating Workplace

A big factor in motivation is creating an inspiring culture that employees love. Learn what type of workplace and culture your candidates find to be a motivating with these interview questions.

  • How would you create a work environment that employees find motivating?
  • Have you ever had a manager/peer who created a toxic workplace? What actions did you take to motivate yourself and others, despite the toxicity?
  • Describe the work environment that makes you most productive and/or happy.
  • What team bonding activities or out-of-work experiences do you think are necessary to keep employees motivated and excited?
  • What’s one idea you think we could implement today that would make employees more excited to come to work tomorrow?
  • Think back to the worst work environment you’ve been a part of. What about it made it a terrible place to work? How would you make it a better place to work?

Interview Questions to Determine Commitment

Assessing a potential employee’s commitment levels requires asking questions about why they’ve left past positions and what they’re looking for in their new role.

It’s natural for people to move on from jobs, but the goal of these questions is to determine how serious and committed they are about your role. Use these questions to uncover what factors are important for building loyalty and commitment from your new hires.

  • What makes you want to leave your current role?
  • What could your current company change about your job, your team or their culture to keep you on their team?
  • Would you take a job with a toxic work culture but a higher salary, or a lower salary with an ideal work culture? Why?
  • How would you define a healthy work/life balance? At what point do you think it’s necessary to blur the lines?
  • What would motivate you to stay at our company for the next 5 years?

Final Thoughts: Interview Questions to Discover Commitment and Motivation

Motivated and committed employees are high-performing employees. Discovering which candidates are committed and motivated with the right interview questions can be critical in decreasing churn at your company, as well as time-to-productivity.

Prior to uncovering motivation and commitment, you’ll want to source candidates based on your ideal candidate. Using a tool like Lever Nurture can help you find and automatically nurture candidates into your recruiting funnel.

After finding your ideal candidates, you can use the interview question examples above to determine if they’re motivated self-starters with the right level of commitment for your role.

Further reading

Interview Questions for Recruiters

Interviewing candidates for your various roles is already tricky. But what do you do when you have to interview experts in recruiting?

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IT Interview Questions to Ask

Success in IT roles will depend on advanced technical knowledge and practical experience managing data systems, but success in these roles won’t depend on technical skills alone.

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Competency Based Interview Questions

When interviewing candidates, you’ll come across several different interview styles and questions to take into consideration. Your goal should always be to find the candidates who meet the requirements of the role and who will also enhance your culture.

Read More