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How to: Answer the question “Why do you want this job?”

Just like questions such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time” or “Tell me about yourself”, the question “Why do you want this job” is a common question you will get asked in an interview. It may seem like an easy question to answer, but even the simplest questions can trip you up, especially if you’re not prepared to answer them. To give you an advantage and an edge over other candidates we have put together a guide to help you answer the question.


Make a list

Before your interview make a list of 3- 6 reasons that are most important to you about the job. For most people salary is always on the top of the list. So you can start off by writing down the amount of money you would like for a new position.  Then ask yourself what else is important to you. These can be, being part of the team, work schedule, working for a company with a good reputation etc. This list is not for you to share with the employer, but something to help you curate your answer. Once you have made your list you can start prioritising your list.

Compare and contrast

Using the list you have created, evaluate and rank your current or previous job and the job you are interviewing for on a scale of 1-10. This is another way to get insight into why you are interested in a new job opportunity, making answering the question a lot easier. And then consider how the job you’re interviewing for meets your needs and make a note of the points where the new job fits your preferences. You may find that these career ranking chart to be useful for other opportunities you are considering.

Do your research

You need to show the interviewer that you have looked into what the company does. This will demonstrate how you have given the position a thought, and you can use it as a way to flatter the employer. Look for press releases, company development, and history. You can use the research you gather to explain why the company and job appealed to you and made them stand out from the competition.

Answering the question

Now that you know what is important to you and how the role fits your needs, consider what’s important to the employer and why they asked you the question. The employers want to know whether you are a good fit for them.

Consequently, employers want someone who is enthusiastic about the job and the company. Successful candidates let their enthusiasm shine. Your answer should show that this isn’t just a stop gap for you, it is something that you are actually passionate about.

Your answer should also emphasise what you can contribute to the company and what you will bring to the position. Mention skills and work experience that makes you unique and separates you from the rest.

You must be specific about why you would be a good fit for the company and the job. This is where you can use the list you made earlier to help you with this. Highlight a few of the abilities that qualify you for the job and include successful examples from your previous jobs.

Sample answer:

The first thing that caught my eye when I first saw the position was that it was at XYZ Company. I’ve seen some recent developments you have made in the tech industry as well as your latest press release on the launch of X product.

I was drawn to this position because it gives me the chance to combine [insert skills] I gained from my current position at a tech startup, and my passion for the industry and my growing interest in the development of X product. I was involved in launching a similar product which delivered xyz results.

So I want to work for a company that’s a leader and innovator in the market and use my skills to help you stay at the forefront of the industry. I’m really excited to learn more and see how I will be able to contribute to your company.

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