What to Say When Asked Why You Want the Job You’re Interviewing For

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"Why are you interested in this position?" is one of several questions you should be prepared to answer during a job interview. Expecting it is a good thing—you'll be ready when you hear it, and if you give it sufficient thought before the interview, you’ll know what to say to increase your chances of getting a job offer. 

However, it’s not necessarily easy to formulate a winning answer to this common interview question. Below are three tips on how to come up with a stellar response. If you need constructive feedback before the big day, consider our mock interview services

1. Know your worth

A good way to prepare your answer is to be clear on what you have to offer the company and what you can bring to the position. Evaluate how your skills and experience can support the company’s goals and share your insights with the interviewer. Obviously, you have to present these qualities in a way that actually answers the question.

For example, if the job listing says the company wants someone who is driven, tell the interviewer how the position is something you truly enjoy and how your drive helped you surpass your goals in a previous job. Essentially, you want to frame your answer in a way that aligns with what the company is looking for while remaining honest and natural. Even if it’s not the same answer you’d give to a friend asking the same question, you have to use the job interview to sell the interviewer on you.

2. Learn the ins and outs of the company

Use your sleuthing skills to find out everything you can about the company and the position you’re after. Go to the corporate website, check out the social media accounts, and do a Google search to see what comes up. You can even get in contact with current or former employees and ask them some questions—they’re often happy to help enthusiastic job seekers.

Knowing the latest developments in the company and the industry gives you the upper hand. You can then use that information to tell the interviewer how your experience will benefit the company in its current circumstances. Detailed knowledge of your potential new employer is also likely to impress the interviewer, and it definitely lends weight to your claims that you’re eager to work there.

Finding out all you can about the company can also give you a better idea of its culture. That's another good thing to include in your answer to why you want the job. Maybe it's because the company gives to charity and that’s something you strongly believe in. Let the interviewer know how your work ethic and philosophy align with those of the company. It’s not only about your skills and qualifications—show the interviewer that you’re a well-rounded candidate right for the company in various ways.

3. Know what not to say

Just as important as knowing how to answer the question of why you want the job is knowing what not to say. Even if you only want it because you desperately need money or you need the experience so you can move on to something better, don't share that. The company already knows money is the primary motivator for nearly all applicants—you want to tactfully stay away from that uncomfortable truth and touch on the other reasons why you want the job. 

A hiring manager needs to know that you’re in it for the right reasons, that you sincerely want to work at this particular company, and that you're not going to take off the minute another job comes along. After all, while money may be the top motivator for most job seekers, there are plenty of non-monetary reasons to stay with a particular company.

Also, refrain from saying anything about what's in it for you. Sure, the company may have great benefits, and it's fine to acknowledge that, but not when asked why you want the position. It might come across as though that's the only reason why you’re keen on getting the job.

The bottom line is that a hiring manager is more interested in hearing what you can do for them than in what you can expect from the company. They don’t need to know what they can do for you—the purpose of the interview is to discover what you can do for them. Tailor your answer to show how your skills and experience align perfectly with what the company needs, how much you enjoy exercising those skills, and how passionate you are about the company’s mission. If you need help preparing for the interview, take a look at our mock interview services.

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