Interview question: ‘Why do you want this job?’

Interview questions come in all shapes and sizes…

Some, like character questions, are all about finding out more about your personality. Others try and throw you a curveball, to see how you handle being put under pressure. But the truth is, they aren’t all about you – and that’s exactly where this particular question comes in.

We’ve already covered some of the most common interview questions that could come up, but here’s our advice for how to answer: ‘Why do you want this job?’

 

The real question

What they’re asking: ‘Why do you want this job?’

What they’re actually asking: ‘What is it about our company – and this position – that excites you? And what can you bring back to the business?’

 

Whilst on the surface this looks like a simple question about your aspirations, what the employer is actually trying to gauge is how much you really want the role – and why you feel their company is right for you.

Simple, right?

 

Step 1: Research, research, research

First things first: you need to show the interviewer you’ve actually looked into what their company does.

Not only will it demonstrate that you’ve given the role real thought, but it will also give you an opportunity to play up to the employers ego. And, let’s face it, flattery is never a bad thing.

Look up a brief history of the company, as well as any current news items, press releases or recent developments they’ve made, and use them as a template to help explain why they appeal to you – and how they help them stand out from the competition.

 

Step 2: Be enthusiastic

Next, you need to show genuine interest in the role.

What is it about the position that really excites you? Is it a chance to work on a particular project, for example? Or the knowing that your job will have a direct influence on the company’s output?

The most effective candidates let their enthusiasm really shine through – both for the position you’ve applied for, and for the company itself.

It’s not just a stop gap. It’s not just any old job. It’s something you’re actually passionate about, and feel is the best fit for you – and your skills.

 

Step 3: Shift focus

Finally, instead of thinking of this question in terms of what the company and the positon can do for you, switch your approach.

What can you bring to the job – and how will hiring you positively impact the business?

Focus on what your own personal contribution to the company could be, and use any previous achievements to reinforce your claims.

Remember: if you’re looking forward to helping the company succeed, you’re also likely to make your prospective boss look good.

 

Example answer

At first I was drawn to the heritage of your brand. But after doing a little more research before this interview, I’ve seen some of the recent developments you’ve made in the tech industry – as well as your latest press release about the launch of X product.

As part of my current role, working for a tech startup, I was involved in launching a similar service – which delivered a 200% ROI for our investors, and even managed to be nominated for some awards within our industry.  

So I’m probably most excited to be working for a business that’s a leader and innovator in the market, as well as having the opportunity to use my skills to help you stay at the forefront of the industry.

 

Need more interview questions?

Unfortunately, we can’t help you predict exactly which interview questions will come up on the big day. However, we can help you prepare for every eventuality and avoid any interview nightmares.

Buy James Reed’s new book: Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again to find out how.

Five interview questions you should stop being scared of

 

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