Most interviews will contain some variation of the question, “Why are you interested in this position?” Knowing this, every job candidate should do their due diligence before speaking with the hiring team, proactively thinking through how to answer this key query in a way that helps clinch the offer.
Below are some strategies to use when planning your response to this classic interview question.
Get Real About Your Reasons
Formulating an effective response should begin by considering why you actually are interested in the job you’ve applied for. Assuming that you really do want the job, answering sincerely will make a better impression on the hiring team than saying something that doesn’t ring true. Think about what stood out to you in the job listing and what elements of the opportunity attracted you to the posting—and then frame your answer around those specifics.
For example, if you liked that the job ad emphasized working with a fully remote team and you have experience with success in a remote role, you might start your answer by emphasizing that.
A possible opener might be, “There are a number of reasons why I’m excited about the potential of working with your team, one of which is that I appreciate that you’ve kept your entire team fully remote, showing trust in your employees. I began working remotely when the pandemic started, and my productivity skyrocketed—I’d love to bring my experience as a successful remote worker to this position and help your department and company reach their goals based on what I’ve learned about effective remote working.”
Wrap the Company, Team, and Position Into Your Response
Once you’ve hooked the hiring manager into an initial reason for your interest in the job, don’t stop there—be sure to incorporate details about why you want to work for the company and team, as well as sharing your thoughts about the position.
This will require research on the front end to identify specific aspects of the organization that appeal to you, whether it’s the company culture or how the company stands out among competitors in the industry. If you would be working on a team, think on your feet about points you heard during the interview or anything you’ve gleaned from your initial conversations with the manager about the team’s dynamics, and address those in explaining your interest. Finally, hone in on the specific position and what intrigues you about it.
A sample answer might be, “I’ve admired your company’s culture from afar for a long time and have always felt that I would be a great fit for it. Also, from everything you’ve shared about the team I would work on, I know I could make a strong contribution based on my background to help round out the group with my skill set. Additionally, the job itself is right up my alley—as you may have seen on my resume, I have extensive experience in this role and feel that the way you’ve structured the position is a perfect next step for me to share what I’ve learned to benefit your group.”
Make It More About Them Than You
As you may have noticed in the answer above, it’s a smart strategy to bring your points back to what’s in it for the employer, rather than for you.
While you may have personal reasons for wanting the job, the hiring team will care more about how your expertise can benefit their department and company than about how the job will benefit you.
Avoid saying something like, “The benefits in this job are incredible, and that’s really why I want to work at the company,” or “I live right down the street from your headquarters, so it’s an easy commute for me.” By making your answer more about the manager’s, team’s, and company’s needs than your own, your answer to this question will be much stronger.
If in doubt, think about what you’d like to hear as a hiring manager about why a candidate you were interviewing wanted the job. If you can provide a genuine answer that addresses the needs of the hiring team and organization while showing how your career background can help the employer reach their goals, you’ll wow your interviewers.
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