The Simplified Guide to Career Motivation Tests

Understanding what drives you to succeed will help inform your career decisions – and a career motivation test can be a great start.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Career Motivation Tests

Motivation isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. As with most concepts in psychology, manifestations of motivation depend on your unique mind. In fact, all employees, regardless their experience, profession, industry or career situation, express their own distinct professional values and motivations.

Employee motivation is undoubtably important; it’s what drives effective performance and goal attainment. When we’re truly motivated, we want to work hard and give extra effort. Not for the money or because we’re fearful of our boss, but because we love our work.

So, if we’re each uniquely motivated to perform optimally, how do you find out what your unique motivation is?

That’s where career motivation tests come in!

They’re a type of questionnaire which determines your source of energy to go above and beyond expectations at work. If you know what drives effective performance, you’ll know how to unlock your workplace motivation and excel.

As with any career test, preparation is key. Here’s a guide on everything you need to know about motivational tests, to have you feeling prepared, confident and informed.

What are motivation tests?

There’s a lot of talk in the workplace about personality and ability tests, which have their place. However, motivation tests are notable and different. They measure your motivating factors and values – that is: what you regard as important and valuable.

Motivating factors and values relate to the most desirable, deeply ingrained standards that determine your future directions and explain your past actions. Essentially, they make up who you are.

These motivation tests are psychometric assessments which psychologists use to identify and understand your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Knowing these aids your self-awareness and potential suitability and development within a company.

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What do they measure?

Motivation tests identify and measure the level of strength of several intrinsic and extrinsic motivators you may possess. Intrinsic motivators are values that relate to personal beliefs and attitudes, while extrinsic motivators are values that refer to motivating factors at work. You may be motivated intrinsically and extrinsically, but generally we have a preference.

For example, if you’re motivated to complete a task because you find it personally engaging and rewarding, such as writing a report because writing is your passion, this is intrinsic motivation.

But if you’re motivated to complete a task because of the reward that comes with its completion, such as writing a report to get a paycheque or a compliment from your boss, this is extrinsic motivation. Naturally, this preference may change according to the task at hand.

Sounds simple, right?

Fortunately, motivation tests are more detailed than this. They measure your preference for factors of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to determine specifically which factors you're motivated by.

CareerHunter’s Career Motivators test, specifically, evaluates the following intrinsic and extrinsic motivators: 

Intrinsic motivators

  • Personal interest – finding personal enjoyment and excitement in the work you do
  • Personal values – doing work that aligns with your standards of excellence or moral codes
  • Competition – striving to win something by establishing superiority over others
  • Collaboration – being part of a team or working alongside your colleagues
  • Independence – having the freedom and autonomy to complete a task when, where and how you like
  • Innovation – being able to be creative, solve complex problems and think outside the box
  • Activity level – doing work that keeps you on the go
  • Fear of failure – not wanting to fail or underperform
  • Results orientation – focusing on the end-goal throughout the entire process of achieving it
  • Entrepreneurship – doing work where you can invent a new or renewed process, or a product or service which may benefit others

Extrinsic motivators

  • Influence – doing work that impacts the people and environment around you
  • Status – achieving some level of social or professional rank in the work you do
  • Material rewards – the money, benefits and perks associated with doing a job
  • Recognition – being recognised for your achievements, either through compliments, awards or public announcements
  • Job security – feeling that you have a small or no chance of losing your job  
  • Personal development – doing work that offers opportunities for personal growth and learning
  • Advancement – doing work that offers opportunities for advancement, including promotions
  • Work environment – working in an environment that inspires you to carry out your job

What are they used for? 

A motivation test serves as a great tool at work and outside of work. While motivation tests are generally used for employee development activities and sometimes recruitment, they’re also usedin career counselling or for self-development and awareness. They’re fitting for anyone wanting to know how, why and what motivates them.

Managers request psychometric motivation tests if they’d like to find out what motivates their employees, then enforce those factors to get better performance results. Or if they notice that a team isn’t working well together, motivation tests may be done to bring a better awareness to each individual of the team and how they can work optimally.

Sometimes, motivation tests are used in recruitment to discover if a potential employee’s values are a match to the company’s. If the candidate is motivated by material rewards, and the company offers a great salary package, there’s a match! But if the employee is motivated heavily by their work environment, and the company doesn’t tend to their environment at all, the candidate will possibly feel less motivated if hired.

More popularly, motivation tests are used in career counselling as a self-discovery activity. Our motivation plays a huge role in why we behave the way we do. To find out the factors which drive performance gives us insight into who we are. This may assist us to know how we’ll react to future work scenarios and which work tasks and jobs to opt for. Knowing yourself always leads to effective decision making.

What should you keep in mind? 

Be yourself and don’t stress!

The best way to get the most out of the process is to answer honestly and openly. It’s a great opportunity to discover your true self. Motivation tests are also self-explanatory, easy to navigate through, and you’ll be given ample instructions on how to answer.

Day by day our moods fluctuate. Being honest to ourselves and ignoring the test jitters may be harder than it sounds. So, it’s important be aware of a few tips:

  • Prepare well: Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep before the test, follow your normal diet routine, and get to the test early.
  • Read the instructions carefully: Take your time to understand the test, and if you’re unsure about anything, ask the psychologist on duty for clarity.
  • Be honest: We may feel pressure to answer questions according to what our company may admire, but don’t give the likeable response if it isn’t an honest one. Psychologists grading the psychometric motivation tests actually pick up if you’ve answered in a manner to please the public.
  • Don’t overthink: Take your time, but don’t overthink the questions; often your first inkling is the most truthful response.
  • Answer personally: Often, if we’re taking a motivation test at work, we’ll answer according to our working habits and work identity. However, we’re motivated in our private life, too; therefore, answer the questions holistically thinking back on your whole personality.
  • Keep an open mind: The results may be surprising at times. Rest assured that motivation tests are very accurate, so take the opportunity to learn something new about yourself; don’t resist the results.


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Final thoughts

Motivation tests are fascinating and practically useful in that they help you identify what fuels your determination to succeed at work and in your career, whether it’s job security, material rewards or status.

Have you ever taken a motivation test? Got any questions for us? Let us know in the comments section bellow!

This article is an updated version of earlier article published in July 2013.