Eight. Personal Motivation

Since enthusiasm is linked to goal attainment and increased performance, the ability to do the job takes a backseat to motivation and the eagerness to succeed. Interviewers understand that zeal is the first step toward ingenuity, which in turn contributes to an environment where ideas flourish and positive energy is contagious. Therefore, as an applicant looking for employment, you need to display enthusiasm for your work and welcome competency-based questions that allow you to give evidence of that enthusiasm.

From the employers' point of view, people who drag their feet are a demoralizing presence in an office and that kind of attitude can spread like wildfire through a business. Interviewers are looking to avoid hiring persons whose attitudes and behaviors will drag down everyone else. So, questions regarding your ambitions and examples of taking the initiative will come up during the interview.


Interviewers understand that ambition is closely followed by success. As a result, they will ask questions to determine your level of determination to do what needs to be done in order to promote the organization's expansion.

Question 104. Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a goal.

situation: I applied to the Reliant Company because of its fine reputation for promoting from within. With my determination to go above and beyond what is expected of me, I hoped that soon after I was hired, I would be offered a promotion.

action: Within my first week of employment, I set up a meeting with the department head for the purpose of developing a list of objectives that were important to achieve within a three-month period. We came up with three action items and created a plan for achieving each.

result: For my three-month review, I drew up a checklist of the measures I had achieved, along with key ideas to enhance the department's productivity. My efforts and ideas garnered a promotion within a year's time.

Question 105. Recall a situation when you took on a self-starter approach to a project.

situation: When I was hired as an assistant for Editorial Secrets, I searched for ways to carve a niche for myself. Concurrently, I took pride in performing the tasks that were listed in my job description, including taking minutes during departmental meetings.

action: From those meetings I learned a lot about writing copy for brochures and Web sites. Occasionally, I would take it upon myself to write some copy and compare it to the final product developed by the copywriter. Through this exercise I learned about the skills in which I excelled and what I needed to improve.

result: Over time, I had a portfolio of ads I had written and I showed it to the department head. She assigned me a small project, which was sent directly to the client. The client was impressed with the material, and after a while I was assigned more complex projects.

Question 106. Describe a time when you chose a course of action that had a significant impact on your career.

situation: When I graduated from college I wanted to work in the industrial design department of the Lion Plant Company because the organization's international reputation as an industry leader was well known. Unfortunately, there were no positions open in my department of choice.

action: I applied for the only open position, which was in the mailroom, anticipating that when a position became available as a designer, I could submit an application.

result: It turned out that I enjoyed the camaraderie in the mailroom. My desire for industrial design took a backseat to the mailroom's departmental concerns. When the mailroom manager retired, I took over his position and worked my way up to an even higher position.

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