How to Answer: What Motivates You on the Job?

During an airline company’s recruitment process, one of the frequent questions asked during a flight attendant job interview is, “What motivates you to do the best on the job?” or a variation of it. It may seem like a simple question, but it is one that requires careful consideration when answering. The recruiter is looking for more than just a simple response, as they want to learn what drives you to perform your best.

When answering this question, be honest and sincere about why you are motivated to do the job. Describe what energizes you about the role and how it connects with your larger career aspirations. But do NOT ever focus only on money salary and travel benefits and other flight attendant benefits you can get from this role. Be sure to talk about your own career goals and how this role will help you get closer to them.

We’ll take a closer look at why the recruiter is asking this question, provide variations to this question, and give you a step-by-step procedure on how to answer it.

Why is the airline recruiter asking this question?

This question is an open-ended one, which means the recruiter is giving you the opportunity to describe your motivations, your values, your character, and your work ethic. This question is to see what drives you, whether or not you’re passionate about the job, and your overall attitude toward work.

Working as part of the cabin crew team is a stressful and high-pressure environment. The interviewer is looking for applicants that have a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the job, and can handle all types of stressful situations. They’re looking for workers who are self-motivated and can handle the demands of the position.

Like any other company that will be training new employees, they are investing money and time into you. They want to make sure that you will stay motivated, stay with the job, and not just leave after a few months or a year.

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell Me about a Past Disagreement or Conflict with a Coworker

Other variations of This Question

This cabin crew job interview question can come in different forms. Here are some other variations of this question:

  • What inspires you at work?
  • What makes you excited about coming to work?
  • Why do you want to work for us as a flight attendant?
  • What motivates you to work hard every day?
  • What drives you to go above and beyond?
  • How do you stay motivated on the job?
  • What do you find most rewarding about the role?

Step-by-step procedure to answer the question

Here is a step-by-step procedure to help you answer the question:

  1. Take a moment to think about what motivates you in general. Consider the reasons why you enjoy the job and what drives you to do well.
  2. Reflect on your past experiences at work. Think about what made you happy at your previous jobs and the things that you look forward to doing in the future.
  3. Consider what you’re passionate about within the job. For instance, is it the chance to travel or the opportunity to serve passengers?
  4. Create a list of your motivations that match the job position you’re applying for.
  5. Choose one or two motivations that best describe your work ethic, your values, and your passion for the job.
  6. Practice your answer out loud or with a friend or family member.

Sample Answers to “What Motivates You to Do the Best on the Job?”

Below are some examples of answers you can use, please adjust them accordingly to your current job experience:

  • “I’m motivated by the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to solve problems and help passengers feel at ease. When the cabin crew and I work together seamlessly, it makes for a productive and rewarding working environment.”
  • “I’m motivated by the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world, whether it’s my colleagues or passengers. One of the things that excite me the most is the fact that every flight is different, and I’m always learning something new.”
  • “I’m motivated by the chance to help people who are traveling to new places. I know that traveling can be stressful at times, and if I can make a difference in someone’s day, that’s what matters to me.”
  • “I’m motivated by the chance to create a comfortable and safe environment for passengers. It’s rewarding to know that I’m making a positive impact on their experience.”
  • “I’m motivated by the chance to represent the airline and deliver a genuine service that ensures that passengers return to us time and time again.”
  • “I’m motivated by the opportunity to learn new things and grow in the industry. Continuously improving my skills and knowledge keeps me engaged and invested in my work.”
  • “I am motivated by the chance to contribute to the team’s success. Being part of a cohesive team that delivers excellent service motivates me to work hard and be my best.”
  • “I’m motivated by a sense of pride in my work. I take great satisfaction in knowing that I am doing my best, setting an example for others, and making customers feel welcome. I’m driven by challenges and opportunities to learn new things. Every day is a chance to grow and improve, and I take advantage of that.”

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell me About a Time You Took a Leadership Role

Tips on how to answer the question

Here are some additional tips to help you answer the question:

  • Be specific when describing your motivations.
  • Use language that is passionate and engaging.
  • Connect your motivations to the job position and the company values.
  • Avoid general answers such as “money” or “power.”
  • Keep your answer concise and to the point.
  • Be confident in your answer without sounding arrogant or boastful.
  • Avoid negative language or tone in your answer.
  • Be sincere and enthusiastic in your delivery.
  • Practice your answer before the interview to sound natural and articulate.
  • Use examples from your past experiences to illustrate your motivations.

Answering this question effectively will demonstrate to potential employers that you are well-suited for the role and have an enthusiasm for making a difference through your work. With thoughtful preparation, you can make sure that interviewers understand why you’re motivated to do your best on the job.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Answer the Question

You can ask yourself the following questions to help you answer the question:

  • What attracted me to the airline industry?
  • What do I enjoy about my current or previous jobs and how can I apply it to this position?
  • What aspects of the job resonate with me the most?
  • How can I contribute positively to the company and its passengers?
  • What are my core values and how can I apply them to my work?

Examples of Bad Answers

  • “I don’t know, I just need a job.”
  • “I’m not sure, you tell me.”
  • “I’m motivated by the salary and benefits.”
  • “I just want to travel and see the world for free.”

Focus Your Answers to Lean Towards How it Will Benefit the Business – It’s not about You!

Please avoid being selfish and have this “All About Me” mentality when answering this question because employers are more interested in how you can help them achieve their objectives. Focus your answer on how it will benefit the business you’re applying for. Remember, it is not about you but rather the customer and passengers’ experience.

Demonstrate that you understand their values, services, and goals and can help them achieve them. Showing an understanding of the company’s mission and how you fit into it will go a long way in setting you apart from other applicants.

Be sure to explain how your skills, experience, and values make you the ideal candidate for the job. Focus on the positive impact that you can have on their business and emphasize your commitment to doing your best work at all times.

But Money and Travel are My Main Motivations Factor in Applying for this Job…

We totally understand that the salary and benefits such as travel may be your motivation factors when applying for this job. Don’t we all want money and free travel?

Again, going back to what we mentioned above, it’s not about you. Employers are looking for employees who have more to offer than just monetary benefits.

So try not to prioritize the other rewarding factors when answering this question. Instead, focus on how you can contribute to the organization by highlighting your strengths and experience that are related to the job. Show that you understand and appreciate their values, services, and goals.

Video: What Motivates You?

Here’s a video by Professor Heather Austin where she shares her tips on how to answer the question “What Motivates You?”:

The employer is looking for a candidate who is passionate about learning, has a positive attitude towards collaboration and teamwork, can work independently, is motivated by challenges, and can handle tasks despite distractions.

To showcase that you are the ideal candidate, you need to prove that you have the drive, motivation, and passion to go above and beyond. Keep reading for a simple method to answer this question.


The question of what motivates you to do the best on the job is an important one, and it’s crucial to understand why the recruiter is asking it. When answering the question, think carefully about your motivations and values, and make sure your answer is tailored to the job position and company values.

Be honest, sincere, and enthusiastic in your answer, and remember that this is an opportunity to showcase your personality and work ethic. With these tips and sample answers, you’ll be well-equipped to respond with a confident and compelling answer that sets you up for success in your aviation career.