Why do you want this job?
It’s one of the most commonly asked job interview questions, and while it seems like it should be easy to answer, many job seekers have trouble responding to it. Honestly, though, you can answer this question honestly! However, it's a little more nuanced than that.
When your interviewer asks, “Why do you want this job?” or “Why do you want to work here?” (or another variation of this question) she’s looking to learn about few different qualities and aspects of the candidate and her experience. Some are about you, and some are about the company. In your answer, you should address:
• How your experience and skills align with the company mission and values
• How you can improve the service or product the company offers
• What makes the company unique in your eyes.
Essentially, your reasons for seeking out this position are less important than demonstrating that you’ve done your homework. Still, while a good answer reveals what you admire most about the company, a great answer demonstrates why you’re the right person for the position.
So, do your homework.
First, read through the job description. Jot down key aspects of the position that appeal to you. Then, thoroughly research the company. Check out the website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Learn about the company mission. If you can find any articles and press releases about the company or a specific project it has undertaken, read them. If you know the name of the interviewer or hire manager, read her LinkedIn profile as well. That way, you can learn what kind of experience led her to this company and what she might be looking for in a candidate.
Then make a list of your own experience and skills, and draw links between them and the company mission and the job description. You want to make it clear that you're a good fit for the role, and that your skills align to the mission.
If you use the product or service the company offers, mention that in your answer. An anecdote about a time the company has helped you will not only demonstrate that you value what it does, but will also make your answer more interesting and personable.
Sample answer #1: “I once bought a rare edition of [product] from your website for my friend, and she still has it to this day. I’m so excited about the possibility of joining your marketing team so I can bring the same kind of experiences to other people. With my marketing background, I can help you reach more potential customers and achieve your mission of finding homes for and preserving antiques.”
Sample answer #2: “Your commitment to replenishing vital community resources and bettering the lives of the people who need them is so inspiring to me. I read an article about a family that benefited from your services, and I was really impressed. Since I’ve managed several high profile social media accounts in the past, I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring that experience to the nonprofit sphere and make a difference with you.”
There may be a lot you want to fit into your response. While you should aim to address key points, such as the most appealing aspects of the company and what your skills can bring to it, try not to ramble. You’ll probably have the opportunity to address more when your interviewer asks other questions.
A word of caution: Don’t disparage your current position when answering this question. If you’re not happy with your job now, explain why you think the prospective position might be a better fit. Describe what you like about your role and how moving to a new company might enhance those aspects along with bringing new challenges or whatever appeals to you more about the position. It’s fine to explain why your current position isn’t the right fit for you, but keep your tone positive.
If you’re responding to this question in a phone interview, usually the first stage of the interview process, you’ll be able to consult your notes. But in an in-person interview, you’ll need to remember what you want to say. It may help to jot down some notes when you’re preparing, since writing down an answer will help you remember it in the interview. Don’t work on memorizing specific sentences, because you don’t want it to sound rehearsed.
Remember, your answer should be more about the company than you and your own career. While it’s fine to touch on how the position fits into your career path, you should devote more of your answer to explaining what you can bring to the company.
So, why do you want this job?
An enthusiastic and informed answer can go a long way in helping you land the position of your dreams. Take some time to research the company and consider how the company goals match up to your own aspirations. You can—and probably should—be honest. There’s are probably many reasons why you want this job. Tell your potential employers what they are.