There are some VERY common mistakes to avoid when answering this question, and it’s something you need to think about before going into the interview. Here’s what to do to prepare:
First watch the short video above, it’ll walk you through how to give a great answer for “why do you want this job?” and the similar questions you’ll face. Then check out the steps below as a refresher and to make sure you’re clear on what to do in the interview
The first potential mistake with this question is if you give off any sign that you haven’t thought about what you want.
Hiring managers want to see that you’ve put effort into thinking about your career, your job search, and what your priorities are in the next position you take.
Think about it the other way around. What if you asked a company, “what does your ideal candidate for this job look like?” and they said, “hmm, we’re not sure, we’re just looking for anyone who can do the job.”
That doesn’t make the job seem very desirable, does it?
If you give a similar answer about what you’re targeting in your search, you’ll have the same result.
So, when they ask “why do you want this job?”, the first thing to do in your answer is define something that’s important to you in your job hunt or career overall.
Maybe you want advancement or a higher level role. Or more leadership, more responsibility, more chance to work in a certain area or build a certain skill. More exposure to any number of things (a technology, a certain industry, etc.)
Here’s an example of how your answer might begin. Notice right away I’m describing what is driving my current job search:
“I really love interacting with customers and my last job took me a bit away from that. I’m looking to find a role that will let me get back to the direct customer interaction that I enjoy so much.”
Once you’ve given the hiring manager an idea of what you are targeting, talk a bit about what you did to make sure this position offers what you want.
Companies like to see that you’re careful in your job search and not just desperate for anything.
Show the hiring manager that you put some effort into researching as much info as possible about the position.
This might be as simple as reading the job description. Other times you might need to go on the company’s website or LinkedIn page to find info about the area you’re targeting in your job hunt.
Here’s what your answer might look like after a bit of research:
“I really love interacting with customers and my last job took me a bit away from that. I’m looking to find a role that will let me get back to the direct customer interaction that I enjoy so much. I took a look at the job description before coming in and it seems like this role involves a lot of customer-facing work.”
So far you’ve told the hiring manager what you want in your next job. Then you talked about what you saw in this position that made it interesting.
You’ve proven why you want this specific job.
There’s a final step now that will really set you apart though…
Companies hire based on their needs, not yours. So to really give a strong answer, we need to conclude in a way that puts their needs in focus.
So after you point out the things about the job that excited you, talk about how your strengths would play into what they need.
If something is mentioned a lot in the job description, it’s not just a career opportunity they can provide you… it’s something they need help with.
They have to find somebody willing and excited to do this work. You can show them that you’re the right person in the end of your answer.
Here’s what the full answer might look like now:
“I really love interacting with customers and my last job took me a bit away from that. I’m looking to find a role that will let me get back to the direct customer interaction that I enjoy so much. I took a look at the job description before coming in and it seems like this role involves a lot of customer-facing work. I was excited because that’s a strength of mine and I think that not only would this position fit what I’m targeting, but it would also allow me to come in and have an immediate impact and make the best use of my skills.”
Here is completely different example in case you need more ideas. This example is explained in the YouTube video above too:
“Well, I think my biggest priority right now in my job search is to continue building my business development skills. I took on more and more of that in my last role as a Recruiter and enjoyed it a lot. I checked out the job description and saw this is mentioned a lot here too so I thought the position seems like not only a good fit for what I want, but a role where my skillset would be well-used and needed.”
That’s it! Combine the 3 pieces we talked about and you have a great answer when the hiring manager asks why you want this job, or why did you apply for this position.
Got a question on any of this? Leave a comment below!
And if you want 7 more questions and answers in similar format, check out this page.
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How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” (Interview Question)