Eight great ways to answer "Why do you want this job?"
It’s the question that no interviewee really wants to answer, but it's one of the most common interview questions a hiring manager will ask….. “Why do you want this job?” is an inevitable part of any job interview – and it’s the moment applicants groan inwardly before trotting out a stream of reasons which may or may not end up in a wall of waffle.
But, if recruiters ask it, it must be an important question, mustn't it? For many job seekers, the reason they want the new job is because, well, they want the job! Oh, and the salary is good too. Both of which are perfectly valid reasons for wanting the job but – surprise, surprise – they aren't the best answers and may not go down too well when verbalised in an interview.
Instead, in this blog, let’s look at a few compelling sample answers that you can give to this tricky question, helping you to avoid common mistakes and focus on what’s important while being clear and succinct.
What's the perfect answer when an interviewer asks "why do you want this job?"
Before we can draft a strong answer, the first thing we need to do is understand why employers ask the question in the first place.
Obviously, they want to know if you’ve understood the nature of their business and how you may play a part in that. They also want to know more about you – your aims, ambitions, career plan, personality. And while they may have already asked about these, the ‘why’ question will help them sum up their thoughts about you as a prospective employee.
So here is your moment to shine and deliver a great answer. And to do this effectively, you need to:
1: Prepare for the question in advance.
Aside from the money, why do you really want this role as your next job? Is it about achieving career goals? A company you’ve always wanted to work for? A workplace that aligns with your values? Write these down, and add in why you feel you’re the right candidate for the job – what makes you the person the firm just has to hire? By combining these two approaches you can then rehearse the answer in your head, honing it so that it becomes a strong message of intent.
2: Research the company and your prospective role.
It sounds obvious, but many HR managers talk of candidates woefully uninformed about who they may be working for and what they will be doing. Get to grips with the company’s core business, culture and values – by doing so you’ll be able to articulate how your own ambitions and values dovetail with the company’s. Re-read the job description, understand exactly who and what they’re looking for and consider incorporating some of the language they’ve used into your answer.
3: Consider your opening line.
When the question is put to you, speak calmly and clearly, beginning with something like, ‘I’ve given this question a lot of thought, and….’ before getting into the body of your answer. To respond in this way is to show that from the start, you’re taking the question seriously.
4: Talk about the company.
Don’t go overboard with your praise, but demonstrate that you’ve researched the firm properly by talking about what you see as its core values and objectives, and why you are attracted to the company as a whole, and not just the specific role. Then you can start to describe why you personally are a good fit for the company in general.
5: Get into the specifics.
Now is the moment to really sell yourself. Tell the panel how your skills, qualifications, experience and qualities will align with the role you seek. Pick up on what you have been told about the job in the interview and re-mould this as a reason for your suitability. For example, if you’ve been told that the job may entail some evening and weekend work (and this doesn’t bother you!) tell the interviewer that you’re a flexible and adaptable person who can be relied upon at key times. Demonstrating qualities, and giving examples from a previous job will help the panel to understand that you have just what they’re looking for.
6: Show ambition.
It might not be a good idea to tell the panel that you see the role as a springboard to bigger things elsewhere, but you can certainly demonstrate that you see the role as real progression in terms of challenge, responsibility and acquiring new skills. Firms want to invest in ambitious people looking io reach their full potential, so talk about how you see progression within the role on offer and the different ways it may benefit both you and the company.
7: Share your ideas.
If you would like to make changes to the role you’re being interviewed for and you think you can present these in a positive and energetic way, go for it! You may have spotted something about the job that you feel you can add something fresh, exciting and unique to – if so, tell the panel about it, describing how your experience will give you the confidence to bring something new to the table.
8: Don’t waffle.
It’s fine to be nervous – in fact, it’s expected – but it’s always better to keep your answers brief and tightly focus as opposed to throwing everything at the question, hoping that some of it will stick. Take your time, allow your answer to unfold and appear thoughtful and considered. This way, you will make the best possible impression. Good luck!
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