Here we go again – another round of job interviews and the inevitable probing into your life that comes with it. Among the variations of the common questions is one you may or may not have heard before: "What gets you up in the morning?" Like all interview questions, the key to success lies in preparing your response.
1. The purpose of the question
If you get hit with this question during an interview, the interviewer may just want to know a little about you to give him something else to discuss – but he may also be trying to find out what you value. By understanding the things you care about, he’ll be able to get a better reading of whether you will fit in with the rest of the team.
2. Use it to solidify your qualifications
Don’t waste the interviewer’s time with platitudes about how you simply love this industry or how great her workplace is; instead, use this opportunity to underline the qualifications that make you uniquely qualified for this job. Talk about jobs you’ve had and the elements you’ve enjoyed about those jobs, thereby reinforcing that you have lots of experience in the field in which you’re now applying. You can also talk about specific tasks you’re good at doing and how the good feelings you get from doing them can propel you through the rest of the day.
As always, use this as the opportunity it is. When you choose tasks to discuss, talk about ones that are listed as "crucial" or "essential" in the job posting, so that you’re once again underlining that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.
3. Talk about your personal life, too
Employers also want to see that you’re well-rounded and that you have a life outside of work. With that in mind, it’s also OK to talk about things in your personal life that motivate you to get out of bed in the morning – but try to look for ones that once again highlight your unique qualifications, and mention how they contribute to your career success. For example, you might talk about how your morning tennis game gives you the energy to work the long hours that your job requires or you might talk about how your love of chess has taught you to be a strategic thinker. Every question that you answer during a job interview should be laser-focused on making you appear to be the best candidate possible, so don’t forget that talking about your personal life is yet another one of those opportunities to make you sparkle.
Hiring managers may ask any number of odd questions when you’re in an interview. But by researching the job as much as possible ahead of time and looking for ways that your skills and qualifications align with the job, you’ll be ready for almost anything those hiring managers throw your way.