How to Answer “What Gets You Up in the Morning?”

A guide for understanding how to answer an interview question that gets personal.

Maddie Lloydby Maddie LloydGet The Job, Guides - 6 months ago

When you prepare for an interview, you’re busy thinking of answers to questions about your experience and qualifications.

But sometimes, interviewers like to throw you for a loop and ask, “So, what gets you up in the morning?” It’s likely that you’ll hear this question — don’t put your interviewer to sleep with dull answers, otherwise you’re going to have to figure out what gets them up from a boredom-induced coma.

What They’re Really Asking

A large part of the interview is meant for the hiring manager to learn how you would work as a member of their team, so you should prepare to answer personal questions like this one.

Don’t just list off seemingly obvious answers – your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about your love of coffee or how your cat with borderline diabetes meows at you until you get out of bed to feed it. This question is meant to help the interviewer learn more about you, what you value in life, and what motivates you.

What Gets You Up in the Morning? Coffee!

Believe it or not, the interviewer is interested in more than just your education or work experiences. If you’ve been waiting for someone to ask about your deepest passions in life, this is your moment. Answering this question is a great chance to make yourself stand out from other candidates and help potential employers see your value.

How to Prepare Your Answer

You’re probably going to hear this question at some point during your job hunt. Not knowing how to answer or giving a boring, generic answer would be a big mistake. You should show them that you would be an asset to their team. Here’s how:

  • Talk about what motivates you personally and professionally.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about career goals — this is a great way to show them that you’re motivated to succeed.
  • Spend time focusing on what motivates you through life in general — a desire to help others, giving back to your community, etc.
  • Explain why these values are important to you, how you plan to work them into your career, or how they have shaped your career path.
  • Mention specific tasks you’re good at and how the positive feelings you receive from doing them motivate you throughout the entire day.
  • Be detailed! Show off your strengths and background. Use examples from your work or education experiences that relate to the skills required for the job.
  • Stick to talking about motivators that highlight your specific qualifications. Be sure to mention how they add to your success.

Your answer for this question is a great opportunity to show off the qualifications that make you perfect for the job. Connecting your values to the position you’re applying for will show the interviewer that you could be a great addition to their company.

Mistakes to Avoid

With such an open-ended question, it’s easy to get lost in the process of answering. It doesn’t have to be scary! Here’s how you can stay on track:

  • Use personal examples, but not too personal. Your interviewer wants to hear about how your desire to help others leads you volunteer in animal shelters, not that you get out of bed looking forward to playing beer pong at the end of the work week.
  • Don’t waste the interviewer’s time talking about how you love the industry or how great the work environment is. Use your answer to strengthen your specific qualifications.
  • Avoid vague statements. Just saying that you love a particular industry is not an effective answer. Give specific examples. Talk about why you love the industry and explain all the aspects of the job that make you excited.
  • Don’t use timid or uncertain language. Express your enthusiasm for the job by being descriptive and positive.

Examples of How You can Answer this Question

I have a deep passion for helping others. Knowing that there is an opportunity to help another person or educate them motivates me throughout the day. I love feeling like I have made a difference in someone’s life, which is why I decided to attend medical school and work in healthcare.

This is a great answer because it specifically mentions the candidate’s values and that these values motivate them. The candidate connects their values to the industry they work in and reiterates that working in said industry is rewarding to them, while also mentioning their credentials.

My biggest motivation is to improve the world around me. I found that I can have a positive impact on the world by taking steps to preserve the environment. While studying Sustainable Technology in college, I found that I’m most interested in working with solar energy.

I am motivated by working to maintain and install renewable technologies and knowing that I’m making a positive impact on the environment. Eventually, I would like to be a project manager and help others create a positive impact on their environment.

This answer is successful because the candidate has connected their values and motivators to the job they’re applying for. The candidate mentions their qualifications and the specific work that they perform in their industry, while also mentioning their goals for the future.

Just try to avoid mentioning that you’re secretly Captain Planet, otherwise they’ll see that you’re overqualified and give the job to someone with fewer superpowers.

Don’t let them know you’re Don Cheadle either, then you’ll be overqualified for everything.

Wrapping Up

Make sure to show that you’ve really thought about the job and how it would fit into your life. Mentioning your goals for the future and how they inspire you will show the interviewer that you’re thinking ahead and taking steps to further advance your career.

Every question that you answer during the interviewing process should be focused on making you stand out as the best candidate possible. Talking about your personal life and interests is a great opportunity to stand out from other applicants.

Now that you’re ready to prepare, go ahead and make your morning cup of coffee. We all know how you really get up in the morning.

Morning Coffee
Thank you, coffee, for everything.

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