The how do you motivate people interview question is more likely if you are being interviewed for a leadership position or a management position. If you are interviewing for such a position you should be prepared to answer this type of question. When preparing for this type of question you should give some thought to the strategies that would be most effective in motivating staff members. This usually means making sure that you understand the perspectives and needs of staff, which can often be quite different. It is essential when you answer this question that you demonstrate your ability to understand the needs of your staff while also maintaining the ability to communicate visions and goals. You should also be able to gain a commitment from staff toward meeting those goals. Many managers find that establishing rewards and incentives that are appropriate in nature is a good way to support and lead staff toward the desired outcomes.
The interviewer is likely looking for specific skills when asking this question. Those skills may include teamwork, excellent communication, the ability to set a good example for others, praising performance when appropriate and the ability to recognize what each person can bring to the team.
Your answer to this question should fully demonstrate that you possess the skills that are necessary in order to succeed in this type of environment and to successfully motivate members of your staff.
If you have never worked in an environment in which you held a leadership or management position, you may feel as though you would have difficulty in answering this question but this is not the case. While you may not have any specific experience regarding motivating others in the workplace, you can certainly discuss how you would go about motivating staff based on your knowledge of the best way to provide incentives and encouragement to help teams accomplish goals and meet objectives. Knowledge of effective motivation techniques can be more important than actual experience in this type of situation, although it can certainly be beneficial to have a combination of both.
If you are planning to interview for a position that involves management or leadership this is certainly a question that you should be well prepared for. Take the time in advance to formulate how you would respond to this question so that you will not be caught unaware if it is posed to you.