SHL Motivational Questionnaire - Complete Guide and Prep [2022]

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Shlomik, SHL Test specialist at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_shlomik@jobtestprep.com

What Is the SHL Motivation Questionnaire (MQ)?

The SHL Motivational Questionnaire (also referred to as SHL MQ or MQM5) is a 150-question self-report personality test, designed to assess what motivates you at work. It will usually complement cognitive SHL tests or the SHL Personality Test (OPQ32).

In the test, you will be presented with approximately 150 short statements and need to rank how they affect your motivation at work.

The test is untimed, but you should expect it to take around 25 minutes.

Here’s what the test questions generally look like. Further below we discuss how to answer this question.

SHL Motivational Questionnaire Sample
  • Tip #1: During the SHL Motivational Questionnaire you can go back and change your last response, but no further than that!
  • Tip #2: During the test, you will be able to track the percentage of questions you have completed, but you will not know how many questions you have already answered, or how many there are in the test in general.

SHL MQM5 Sample Questions and Answers

Here are two SHL Motivational Questionnaire sample questions, adapted from an actual SHL MQ test:

SHL Motivation Questionnaire – Sample Question #1

How does this affect your motivation at work?

The ability to affect the professional advancement of other employees.

  • Very Demotivating
  • Demotivating
  • Neutral
  • Motivating
  • Very Motivating
How to Answer This Question?

This question relates to the Power motivation factor, one of 18 motivation factors assessed by the SHL MQM5.

The Power motivational factor describes how an authoritative position and ability to influence affect your motivation at work.

It is highly sought after in management positions but is considered far less desirable when it comes to team members or administrative roles.

As such, if you are applying to a management position, it is recommended to indicate Power-related statements as highly motivating.

Neutral or demotivating responses are recommended for positions requiring more rule compliance and cooperation.

 

SHL Motivation Questionnaire – Sample Question #2

How does this affect your motivation at work?

Being encouraged to seek different opinions on something I have done.

  • Very Demotivating
  • Demotivating
  • Neutral
  • Motivating
  • Very Motivating
How to Answer This Question?

This question relates to a different motivational factor out of SHL’s 18 – Autonomy.

Autonomy relates to the need for individual work. Employees with Autonomy as a low motivation factor are in constant need for close monitoring and control.

Therefore, applicants for management positions are expected to have Autonomy as a highly motivating factor and should rank this statement as demotivating.

Applicants for team member positions will be wise to rank it as motivating.


Preparing for the SHL MQM5

While the SHL Motivational Questionnaire initially seems a pretty simple and straightforward task, it is a sophisticated assessment that uses a variety of techniques to ensure your consistency, balance, and motivational fit for the job you want.

Here are several key points to consider when preparing for the SHL Motivational Questionnaire.

 

Step #1 – Understand the Motivational Profile YOU Need

The best answers on the SHL Motivational Questionnaire highly depend on the job you want.

As you’ve seen in the sample questions above, answers will greatly differ between a management position candidate and a team member candidate. The same goes for technical, administrative, customer service, sales, etc.

To ace the SHL MQ test, you must first get an understanding of the desired motivational factors for the job you are after.

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Step #2 – Recognize What Statement Relates to What Factor

As I have previously mentioned, the SHL MQM5 analyzes 18 motivational factors.

So, after you know what factors you need to emphasize, the next step to ace this test is being able to quickly and accurately identify which statement relates to which factor.

 

Step #3 - Maintain a Consistent Profile

The SHL Motivational Questionnaire wants to make sure you are being authentic, so it will assess your answers' consistency. So, make sure your answers align with one another. Don’t come off as a dominant leader in some statements and a humble team member in others.

If the test interface senses you are being repetitive in your answers, a notification will pop up!

This ability is quite difficult to master, but with careful attention and a good understanding of the motivational factors, it will get easier.

 

Step #4 - Maintain a Balanced Profile

Although some traits are more important than others in your overall profile, you usually don't want to score very low in any particular factor/s.

It gives an impression of the kind of employee employers often do not “take a risk with”.


Tips for Passing the SHL Motivational Questionnaire

The SHL MQ Test instructions provide several tips for succeeding in the assessment.

Some of them are good. Others, not as much.

Below we analyze these tips and whether you should follow them.

 

SHL Official Tip #1 – Think About Yourself at Work (Recommended)

That tip is true for any pre-employment behavioral assessment, including the SHL MQ.

Your employer is interested ONLY in what motivates you AT WORK. When taking the test, detach yourself from unrelated past experiences and focus on your work-related behavior and feelings.

 

SHL Official Tip #2 – There Are No Right or Wrong Answers (Not Recommended)

As I always say – if there are no right and wrong answers, why are you taking this test in the first place?

The answer is that there ARE right and wrong answers, only that those aren’t constant, and they depend on the job you are after.

Remember – in the SHL Motivational Questionnaire, any response to any particular question is meaningless. Your aim is to create a whole, consistent, and balanced profile that suits your job.

 

SHL Official Tip #3 – Don’t Overthink (Partly Recommended)

Time is not a major factor in the SHL Motivational Questionnaire, and therefore the test is untimed.

However, you are encouraged to take answers quickly, and stalling too much on questions may indicate that you are not being authentic.

So how to balance these two?

Prepare.

By being familiar in advance with the SHL Motivational Questionnaire (MQM5) 18 motivational factors, you will be able to quickly identify which factor relates to what statement.

That way, your answers will be both quick AND in line with your desired job’s profile.

 

SHL Official Tip #4 – Take the Assessment in One Sitting (Recommended)

Regardless of whether you have decided to prepare for your SHL Motivational Questionnaire or not, it is important that you keep track of your previous answers during the actual test (due to all of the reasons we have already mentioned).

Preparing in advance will greatly develop this ability.

Remember – on the actual assessment, you will only be able to go back and change your previous answer.

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