When looking for a new job, what motivates you to apply for one role rather than another? Psychologists talk about intrinsic motivation (motivation related to the work itself, eg the tasks and responsibilities performed on the job) versus extrinsic motivation (motivation unrelated to the day-to-day duties of the job, eg pay and benefits).
A recent investigation conducted by Rellie Derfler-Rozin at the University of Maryland and Marko Pitesa at Singapore Management University has confirmed that employers tend to be biased against job hunters who express extrinsic motivations.
You will likely be viewed more positively by focusing on intrinsic factors
Candidates who were rated as ‘interested in the job because it helps him/her to achieve other objectives in life’ were viewed less favourably than candidates who were ‘interested in the job because he/she finds the work itself enjoyable’.
In reality, you may be interested in a job because of extrinsic factors, such as a shorter commute, a higher salary or bonus, more favourable terms and conditions, or greater prestige associated with it.
However, you will likely be viewed more positively when answering questions such as ‘Why do you want this job?’ by focusing on intrinsic factors such as the responsibilities you would have, the culture of the organisation, learning opportunities and the enjoyment or personal gratification you would get from the job.