How To Answer “What Gets You Up In The Morning?” (With Examples)

By Maddie Lloyd
Feb. 7, 2023
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Summary. To answer, “What gets you up in the morning?” in an interview, talk about what motivates you professionally and personally. Tell a story to get your point across, and highlight your strengths, values, and qualifications while avoiding being overly personal and long-winded in your answer.

Interviewers like to throw you for a loop and ask, “So, what gets you up in the morning?” or “What lights your fire?”

They aren’t necessarily looking for answers like “my cup of coffee” or “needing breakfast.” They want to know what motivates you.

In this article, we will go over how to respond to the interview question, “What gets you up in the morning,” focusing on what interviews are looking for when they ask this. We’ll also provide example answers so you can create your perfect response.

Key Takeaways:

  • When answering this question, you want to talk about what motivates you personally and professionally.

  • You want to tell a story when answering this question and include details to show off your skills and strengths.

  • You should avoid being too personal and wasting the interviewer’s time when answering this question.

How To Answer

Why Interviewers Ask This

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.

This question is meant to help the interviewer learn more about you, what you value in life, and what motivates you. 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 Answer “What Gets You Up in the Morning?” Interview Question

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. As we alluded to earlier, interviewers’ real intention behind this question is to learn what inspires and motivates you.

    While you should always try to bring these questions back to your professional background, the interviewer is also saying “tell me about yourself.” You can bring up personal values that reflect well on your professionalism.

  • Talk about your career goals. This is a great way to show them that you’re motivated to succeed. Answer this question by talking about where you see yourself in the future, and the recruiter will be extra-impressed with your planning skills.

    Be prepared with some accomplishments that show how your motivations have led to success in the past, and they’ll have no problem answering why should they hire you.

  • Think about your values. Spend time focusing on what motivates you through life in general — a desire to help others, giving back to your community, etc.

    As an interviewee, don’t be afraid to talk about personal motivations; they humanize you and make the interview process a lot less stressful for everyone involved.

  • Tell a story. This is a sort of behavioral interview question, which means it’s not a bad idea to provide a narrative when answering this (and other) common interview questions.

    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.

  • Brag a little. Mention specific tasks you’re good at and how the positive feelings you receive from doing them motivate you throughout the entire day.

    Show that you take pride in your work and your reasons for working; it’s every bit as important as your accomplishments and qualifications.

  • 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.

  • Don’t forget your qualifications. Your motivations are important, but so are your qualifications. Stick to talking about motivators that highlight your specific qualifications. Be sure to mention how they add to your success.

“What Gets You Up in the Morning?” Examples

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.

Instead, wake ’em up like your alarm clock with an example answer like this:

  1. “What Gets You Up In The Morning” Adding Value Example Answer

    Well, besides a good cup of coffee, the chance to add value for someone in a tangible way is a big thing that gets me up in the morning. I like to be able to work on something, see and measure the result, and understand the impact it has on people, the business, and myself.

    Oh, and the coffee definitely needs caffeine. No decaf here.

  2. “What Gets You Up In The Morning” Healthcare Example Answer

    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.

    Why it’s a good answer: 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.

  3. “What Gets You Up In The Morning” Green Industry Example Answer

    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.

    Why it’s a good answer: 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.

  4. “What Gets You Up In The Morning” Statistics and Data Analysis Example Answer

    Curiosity gets me up in the morning. Ever since I was a kid following every baseball player’s statistics, I’ve been drawn to data. It’s such an exciting time to be a data analyst, and the desire to keep learning really drives me.

    I like to incorporate a bit of learning into each day, whether that’s through a full online course or just a couple of YouTube videos. Besides being deeply enjoyable, it also keeps me at the forefront of the industry.

    Why it’s a good answer: This answer focuses on what drew them to the field and how their genuine love for the field naturally motivates them to learn more. An employee who’s motivated by learning isn’t going to settle for the bare minimum or the old way of doing things, and hiring managers and recruiters will pick up on this is a major strength.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

With such an open-ended interview 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 to volunteer in animal shelters, not that you get out of bed looking forward to playing beer pong at the end of the workweek.

  • Don’t waste the recruiter’s time. If you spent time talking about how you love the company in answering this question, the recruiter or hiring manager will see it for what it is; fluff. Use your answer to strengthen your specific attributes.

  • 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. Wishy-washy answers on this kind of behavioral interview question make it look like you’re not that into the job. Even if that’s the case, it’s not your ticket to a job offer.

What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning FAQ

  1. How to answer what gets me out of bed in the morning interview question?

    To answer the interview question, “What gets you out of bed in the morning,” talk about what you’re passionate about and what motivates you professionally. Your answer should have a personal element to it too, but work to keep your answer connected to the job you’re applying for.

    You can do this by telling a story that highlights what motivates you and how that gives you the skills and qualifications needed for this role.

  2. What is a “What gets you up in the morning” example answer?

    An example answer to, “What gets you up in the morning?” is, “Solving problems to improve the world around me gets me up in the morning.” You could continue by saying, “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved finding ways to make processes more efficient.

    “For example, when I was in first grade, I made a Christmas gift wrapping assembly line for my family, complete with step by step instructions on how to properly wrap a gift.

    “Now, that passion helps me not only do my work with the utmost efficiency and accuracy, but it’s also allowed me to develop some new processes for my past employers that have boosted productivity and lowered costly errors.

Final Thoughts

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.

Ask the Experts

How To Answer “What Gets You Up In The Morning?” Tips From An Expert

Debraca Russell

What gets you up in the morning is a question I love! It is the new Tell Me About Yourself (TMAY). I am looking to hear what drives you. If I don’t hear that passion for something bigger than the pay range, I am not as interested in other questions. Every question asked in an interview is looking for a deeper meaning. Answering questions with fluff will not get you the return on your investment (ROI) which is your time and effort during your job search.

Be professional and transparent. What drove me into career coaching was looking for the high of being a change agent. I loved interviewing and hiring people when they needed a chance right out of college, with little to no work experience, or criminal background. I searched for opportunities to hire the underdog if they were qualified.

Passion looks different depending on the industry. If it is true passion the answer will be seamless and effortless to express. For example, asking an artist to tell you how to paint is difficult, asking the artist to show you how to paint is effortless.


  1. University of New Hampshire – Interview Skills

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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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