A strong cup of coffee, an alarm clock–after you postponed it for five times, or a basic need to urinate. These things likely get you up in the morning, unless it is a crying child or a complaining partner, or a sun that shines into your eyes… As you can imagine though, hiring manages have something else on their minds when asking this question in a job interview.

They wonder what motivates you to get up, wash, eat breakfast (or skip it) and rush to work, so you can spend another eight or ten hours in a cold office, working on seemingly unimportant tasks, talking to people who do not really interest you, and dreaming about next weekend.

Studies done on the subject show us that most people do not really know why they work, or get up in the morning. They do so just because almost everyone else does the same thing. And they need to earn money to live and pay bills. Or to survive. As you can imagine, neither the first one nor the second would be a good answer to this question, though it would be an honest one in many cases. What should you say then? How can you make the right impression on the hiring managers?

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting question. My list includes some typical choices, when job applicants try to find meaningful purpose in their job, and also some rather unorthodox answers, either betting on brutal honesty, or trying to philosophize on the subject. Feel free to use any of them in your interview, or adjust it according to your job application, attitude, and situation in the interview.


7 sample answers to “What gets you up in the morning?” interview question

  1. Motivation to try hard and to change something in the adverting business gets me up each morning. I am actually sometimes so pumped up in the evening, thinking about the possibilities in this field, and what I want to do the next day, that I find it hard to fall asleep. And if I get a job with your company, one of the leading players in the field, and definitely the most innovative player from the big names, I won’t have any problems getting up, or find meaning in my days in work.
  2. Human need, or desire, to create, to change my time and energy for something valuable, gets me up each morning. Staying in bed and doing nothing is good only for people who want to be unhappy, who did not understand that the real happiness consists in helping the others, and in participating on something that goes beyond your little individual life. I have never had problems getting up and going to work, and with my attitude to life I see no reason why I should have such a problem in the future.
  3. Speaking honestly, my children get me up in the morning. I want them to have a good life, to have a chance to study at the University–something I didn’t have. Waking up each morning and getting ready for another shift–which isn’t easy in my present job, I think on them, and they give me power to go on, and to try hard each day in work.
  4. Nothing, because I am doing night shifts in my present job. Then I sleep all morning and get up late in the afternoon. But this is really horrible for my health, and also for my social life–I am awake when others sleep and sleep when others are awake. I really want to change my routines, and that’s exactly why I am applying for a job in your warehouse. I know you do only morning and afternoon shifts at this place, which is the model I am seeking.
  5. A motivation to change something in the local community gets me up in the morning. I have been working as a social worker for over a decade. I have seen a lot of suffering, and you can be sure that I do not live in a bubble of my small selfish life, just like so many people do nowadays. Honestly, there’s a lot of suffering in this city and area, and I see the meaningful purpose of my days in trying to make some difference in lives of people who weren’t as lucky as I was.
  6. Sense of responsibility for my team gets me up in the morning. And also the fact that I enjoy my job a lot, or at least I enjoyed it until recently, when the management changed. I like to have good relationship with my colleagues, and to try to achieve something as a team, to belong somewhere. This sense of belonging and responsibility gets me up in the morning, and I typically look forward to seeing the faces of my colleagues in the workplace. Regretfully with the recent change of management we had in the company, I have to look for another job right now. But that’s how things go in life, and I am sure I will be looking forward to my new colleagues as well.
  7. My job search gets me up in the morning. I’ve been unemployed for six months, and I am aware that the longer I stay home, the tougher it will be to get some decent job. So I try hard, check job boards, write applications, answer to emails, and so on, basically on each day. I am happy to be here with you today, finally interviewing for a good job. It seems that my activity is eventually paying off.


It is hard to find motivation without goals

People are lazy in general. Unless you know why you get up from bed in the morning, you won’t get up from it. Or maybe you will, to urinate and eat something, and then you will return back and hide under your blanket.

It doesn’t matter much what goals you refer to in your answer, but you should refer to some. It can be helping someone, earning money, providing for your family, getting a job, or even putting a dent in the Universe.

Check sample answers no. 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 for different goals that can get you up in the morning, and try to find something that resonates with you, or at least describes your present situation and feelings.

* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for a great job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors and get the job. Thank you for checking it out!

Bringing smile to the faces of your interviewers can only help you

Why not saying something funny? For example that nothing gets you up in the morning, because you do night shifts in your present job. Or that a need to urinate gets you up from bed.

You can be sure that hiring managers do not expect such an answer, and it will make them laugh–unless they play poker faces.

At the end of the day, you will almost always compete with other people for the job. Saying the same thing everyone else says won’t make much difference for you in the interview. Do not be afraid to experiment with a funny answer, or with saying something unexpected. As long as it makes sense, it can only help you with getting the job.


You should love your present job–but not too much

Many people say that they see a meaningful purpose in their job, that they do not find it hard to get up and travel to work because they love their job so much. That’s a great thing to say–but not necessarily in a job interview.

Think about it for a while. If you love your present job so much, if you see a meaningful purpose in it, and enjoy going to work each morning, why would you try to get another job? It makes no sense really.

If you opt for this answer, it is crucial to elaborate on your words. Surely, you love your job, but there is something, some reason, why you want to change it anyway. It can be a desire to progress in your career, or a bad relationship you have with your superior, or perhaps your life circumstances forced you to change your place of living, and hence you also have to change your job. As long as it makes sense, they will be satisfied with your answer…


Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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