In all honesty, most jobs are repetitive. Maybe 90% of them. But one typically bears easier with repetition when they earn $60,000 annually than when they bank measly $20,000 a year, for the same amount of hours spent at work. That’s why this question is more typical in interviews for manual jobs, such as in a warehouse, factory, on a farm, or some boring clerical position in a corporate world.

Having said that, employee motivation is an important factor for each and single employer. Hence you can face this questions in any interview–even for jobs that pay over 100K USD annually. As always, it is your attitude that counts. Whether you can find an extra gear, or have some special driving force, something that will help you overcome any crisis of motivation.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this question now. My list includes some typical choices, but also few unconventional and philosophical answers–good for people who do not want to say the same thing as everyone else in the interviews…


7 sample answers to: “This is a repetitive job. What will motivate you to try hard every day?” interview question

  1. To be honest, I prefer repetitive jobs. I’m not the smartest guy in town, and though I can be creative sometimes, I prefer if I do not have to face new challenges in work each day. Such jobs are not my cup of coffee. I enjoy having my routine, knowing exactly what I am responsible for each day. Task after task, hour after hour, time can fly pretty quickly when you are busy with work. I had repetitive jobs in the past, and motivation has never been an issue for me.
  2. The answer is easy: money motivates me. Look, I am not in the position to choose. With my education and experience (or lack of it), I cannot really get some managerial or engineering job that pays 100k a year. But just like the engineers and managers and everyone else, I have bills to pay and kids to feed. I know that you do not pay your people for doing nothing. You certainly have some goals in place, some norm we have to meet each day or week. And if I failed to meet it–what can easily happen when motivation is gone, I would not retain the job. And that would make my life only more complicated as it already is…
  3. In my opinion, this job is not repetitive. Look, I know that I will stand behind the cash register and more or less do the same things with every customer. But people change, everyday someone else ventures to the store, you hear stuff, you have conversations with them. At the end of the day it’s all about finding the beauty in the ordinary. I’ve never struggled to recognize the uniqueness of each moment, and do not think that I will struggle with motivation in this type of work.
  4. I understand it may be hard, especially here in the warehouse, when the tasks are super repetitive. But I try to look at my job as a sort of a game. It doesn’t mean that I approach it irresponsibly or anything similar. But I try to set for myself some small tangible goals, and achieve them in work. For example a certain amount of materials to stock each day, or the time it takes me to unload a truck, or other. It’s more fun when you try to improve, for example to shorten the times, which adds a factor of play to your routine job.
  5. I have vision of what I want to buy with the money I earn here. A new house, after two or three years. Since in your country I can earn four times as much as back home, and with a frugal lifestyle save almost everything I earn, and the houses are cheap in my country, this is definitely a viable objective. So anytime I feel bored or tired or like I do not want to continue anymore, I will recall my dream, envision it, and it will help me to push on.
  6. To speak honestly, in my view 90% of jobs are repetitive. It doesn’t matter if you carry bricks or are some corporate rat who takes care of a few simple repetitive tasks each day, something a monkey can learn to do, if trained properly. If I wanted to have an occupation in which I’d truly grow as a person, and do a variety of stuff each week, I’d go for a career of an entrepreneur. But I can in no way afford such risks with my commitments–mortgage, bills to pay, kids to feed and send to school, and other stuff. I do not go to work because I love it–not many people can say that really, at least when they are honest. I go to job because I need to earn money to have a decent lifestyle, together with my family. And that will motivate me to try hard, regardless of whether the job is repetitive or not.
  7. I guess that goals will really motivate me to push hard. Goals you will undoubtedly set for me in this work, goals that won’t be easy to meet. But I like to be ambitious, and I am not here to be just an average member of your sales team. I aspire to be the best, to generate the highest sales volume, to reach the clouds–or even break them. And I know that in order to achieve this I have to make countless calls–always saying the same thing, always pitching the customers. Minute after minute, hour after hour. And trust me that I am fine with the proposition…


Do not be afraid to tell the truth

Look, most hiring managers aren’t naive. They know that 80% of employees who have simple jobs simply tolerate them. They do not love their work, and would not get up in the morning if they did not get paid for doing what they do at work.

It’s fine telling them that money motivates you, or some dreams you have (buying a house, sending your gifted kid to a private school, get an expensive lover, whatever). Most employers prefer to hire honest candidates. If you do not sound rude and your goals are realistic, they will be happy with your answer.

* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent 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 make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!

What’s repetitive for one person isn’t necessarily repetitive for another one

In a true sense of the word, there’s nothing repetitive on Earth. You won’t find two leaves that are exactly the same, and you won’t have two days at work that are exactly the same.

If you pay attention to detail, and can spot the subtle differences, you’ll find out that each moment of your life is completely unique, and will never be repeated again. This is a wonderful attitude to life, and if you can describe it well (see sample answer no. 3 for your inspiration), it can be a very powerful interview answer.


Life’s a game, but game is not a life

Gamers know this quote better than anyone else, but it can be applied also to the life in the workplace. A boring task can become an objective, and if you do not compete with your colleagues you can always compete with the clock. Trying to do things a bit better, or a bit faster, can turn a routine day into a playful experience.

Of course this is easier in certain jobs, like in a warehouse when you drive around with a forklift, moving materials from one place to another. But you can refer to “gaming at work” in any interview, as long as you manage to explain your answer convincingly…

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

Matthew Chulaw
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