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Motivational question checklist – how not to fail

If you want to pass your video interviews, make sure to demonstrate the following – all in one answer.
• Strong research on the firm outside of readily available information. Knowledge of clients, awards, and where the company/department sits in the market. 
• Commercial awareness; knowledge of how the firm operates and what the trends and challenges the industry is facing.
• Evidence of a broad range of interests outside of academics and work experience. You have to demonstrate that you have held positions of responsibility and can work collaboratively in a team. 
• Clear problem-solving skills and the ability to think through a difficult situation methodically and practically. 
• Attention to detail and strong communication style. 

Example 1:

By doing accounting for two years, I decided to pursue a career in audit as I’m passionate about it and I will excel in and contribute to XYZ’s success.

  • What did we learn from this sentence? The assessor already knows that you want a career in audit as you applied for that position.
  • Why are you passionate about the audit?
  • How will you excel and contribute to success?
  • Which skills are demonstrated in this sentence?

This entire sentence doesn’t give any additional value to your content. You don’t demonstrate any skills. The entire sentence is vague. Therefore, you should not use sentences like this. It is not a problem if you have 1-2-3 sentences like this during your entire interview, but if every second sentence is like this one, then you may have the best CV ever, but sorry, you won’t pass.

Example 2:

Another reason that appeals to me is that XYZ cares for people and will recognise my value and individual contribution, supporting me to perform to my highest standard.

Why is this important to you? How is this relevant to you? What values? Individual contribution? The sentence is incomplete.

Example 3:

I have been interested in the financial world since my high school accounting teacher ran a shares competition that got us to look at the stock market and understand how it works. I went on to do an internship with ABC in their Investment Banking Division where I got to develop my commercial awareness and gained a valuable insight into the type of work that goes into IPOs, mergers & acquisitions and restructuring deals.

This example is better, especially the personal connection to motivation about accounting. However, it still can be improved. How this will help you at ABC? Have you developed commercial awareness only by working in one department? You have to connect it to ABC and not purely to list things. Instead of saying what your skills are, try to demonstrate them so that the reader/listener can make their own conclusion.

Example 4:

I am passionate about starting my career at XYZ for the following reasons: I agree with all of XYZ’s values, as I was raised with those and keeping them during my everyday life.

You can’t agree or disagree with values; you can say that your values are aligned with XYZ’s values. However, this is something that 80% of candidates say (and the majority of them fail). If you want to maximise your chances of success, avoid this part and instead use something more unique. Indeed, being aligned with values is cliche, if you are not ‘aligned’ then why would you like to work for that company – so there is no point in mentioning this.


Since a very young age, I have always been intrigued by businesses and the way they operate. This curiosity has led me to gain work experience across many different sectors ranging from Banking, Sales, Legal to Consulting. These experiences have significantly developed my understanding of the challenges businesses face and how they are tackled.

Much intrigued to put this all in practice, working for XYZ alongside studying towards the globally recognised XXX qualification would be a stepping stone to my aspirations. Especially in a firm which values my input and test my technical competencies from the very first day. Studying Engineering has taught me how to be analytical and creative when faced with complex problems, and I’m eager to exploit these when seeking solutions as a business consultant.

Forget about copying this part, as now so many candidates saw it :-).

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