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How to answer some of those trickier interview questions

If you are looking for your perfect next job in insurance or financial services, then you don’t need us to tell you that the competition is fiercer than ever right now.

To give you a competitive edge, we like to use our blogs to address some of those trickier interview questions.

We won’t give you a script but we will examine what the interviewer is looking for and help you understand how to give the response that will do you justice.

If you have an interview question that fills you with dread, we can help! Just fill out the form below the blog…


This week: “What motivates you?”

Why do recruiters ask this question?

The recruiter has seen your experience and is impressed – this is why you are sitting there.

Now they need to get a feel for the real ‘you’. What added value will you bring? Will you gel well with the team? Should they invest in you? Are you truly motivated or will you bounce out the door after only three months?

Be honest in your answers but consider carefully how they will be interpreted!


Answers to avoid

Talking about money or rungs on a career ladder will usually not endear you.

Money is mostly (but not always!) regarded as a superficial motivator. Giving the answer “Piles of lovely money”, will signal to many interviewers that you might just have an unreliable – mercenary – mentality. Roles only interest you as long as your pay is continuously hiked and you will happily leave any time for a better paymaster.

It’s up to you to judge the response to a money-centric answer. Some roles are heavily incentivised by bonuses or commission. In which case, this could be the optimal answer!

And if you are considering the role as a career stepping-stone, then the message to a recruiter might be that you are already planning your exit.

Leave clichés and hyperbole to Hollywood script writers. Unless you are interviewing for Sky Sports, you are best to remove “Leaving it all on the field”, “Giving it 110%” and “Failure is not an option” from your interview vocabulary.

These are but a few red flag answers.

If you want to get the green light, consider what really does motivate you:


Task or project delivery

If you get a sense of pride from how you deliver your daily tasks, main projects or assignments, then this would signal that you are an employee with real quality to any organisation.

Be prepared with strong examples which illustrate your response.



A self-motivated problem solver will always find doors open easily.

This quality is highly useful to an employer in myriad situations and disciplines, so you will need some concrete examples that will impress the interviewer.

For extra points, include aspects which also demonstrate your resilience.


Grace under pressure

Some candidates thrive under pressure. Depending on the role, this could be a strong winner.

Bear in mind that any proof you offer should preferably include data that demonstrates this whilst also showing that you get great results!

But beware! Stress-lovers often have the (unfair) reputation of being tricky characters to work with, so ensure you also reference lots of team player plaudits.


A league of their own

If you truly are someone who takes immense satisfaction in contributing to team success or leading a brilliant team, then now is the time to impress that on your interviewer.

It is a bit of an old chestnut, so be sure to have an inspirational anecdote to help the most jaded interviewer see that you really mean it!


What questions do you find hard/hardest to answer?



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