Career Motivation

Choosing a career can be a daunting process and it is important to be clear on your own motivation and reasons for entering into a job or profession. The Careers and Employability website has a full list of the types of things you should consider when generating career ideas. You should work out what matters to you most, what options are available and undertake research into these options. Choosing a career depends on many factors and there are a range of sources to draw from to help you.

This process is particularly important, not just to ensure that you end up with the job that you really want, but also because employers may want to ascertain during the recruitment process what your motivations for applying to them really are. Employers want to ensure they are recruiting people into their organisation who effectively match their needs and requirements, who have the correct skills, and ultimately, who have a keen interest in what they do.


Have a look at a company’s graduate recruitment website of your choice. From looking at the information available and other sources answer the following questions below on your assessment form.

  • What attracts you to the position you have applied for?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What do you think you will be doing in your first year at this company?

Employers typically ask these kinds of questions:

  • Why do you want to work for our organisation?
  • Why have you applied to this particular position?
  • What attracted you to the position?
  • What can you tell us about the organisation?
  • What do you think the role may entail?

Employers ask career motivation questions to determine why you want to work for their company in the first place but they may also ask questions about your long term plans. Their questions may include:

  • What do you think you will be doing in the first year at the organisation?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • Do you know anything else about the other roles that are being offered? Would they also be of interest to you at some point in your career?
  • What are your strengths or development needs? How do you know this, what evidence do you have?

Employers often state that applicants fall down at the application stage, particularly when trying to express career motivation, so think about the following:

  • Why would you enjoy working for the organisation?
  • What have you found out about them?
  • What information is available on their website?
  • Do you feel you clearly understand what the job may entail?

Employers often state that applicants do not tailor their applications:

  • Ensure that you complete high quality applications, as opposed to a high number that are not tailored to the job
  • Think carefully about your examples – are they relevant?
  • Are you sure that your skills match what the job requires?
  • What is it that particularly interests or energises you about the prospect of working for the organisation? How can you articulate this in your application?

Employers often state that applicants do not carry out enough research. Make sure you do as much research as possible!

This page uses an image from the Open Clip Art Library page "Marqueur / Marker", which is available under the CC0 PD Dedication