How to Answer "Why Are You Applying for This Position?" - Career Sidekick

How to Answer “Why Are You Applying for This Position?”

why did you apply for this position

You’re in the interview and they ask you, “why are you applying for this position?”… or “why did you apply for this job?”…

Are you prepared with what you’re going to say?

In this article I’m going to reveal why employers ask this, and the 3 steps for how to answer to impress the interviewer.

Let’s get started…

Why Do Employers Ask, “Why Did You Apply For This Job?”

Employers ask questions like, “why did you apply for this job?” to make sure you’ve done your research, and to make sure you know what you want in a role.

They don’t want to hire somebody who has no idea what they’re looking for. They definitely don’t want to hire somebody who simply doesn’t care either.

And finally, they don’t want to hire somebody who doesn’t know much about their particular job or didn’t do any research before the interview. (Because it shows them you either don’t know what you’re looking for, or are desperate and don’t care).

Now that you know why they ask, here are the 3 steps you can use to answer the question…

How to Answer “Why Are You Applying For This Position?”

  1. Explain what you’re looking for in your job search (something specific that will advance your career, etc.)
  2. Tell them something you noticed about THEIR job that you liked
  3. Tie steps 1 and 2 together and explain how their job fits what you’re looking for in your career.

For step 3, it’s even better if you also show them how your previous skills will help you succeed in their job if they hire you.

For example, you might say:

“I was reading the job description and noticed you mention needing someone who can do ___. This is really exciting to me because I’m interested in growing in that area and I have spent 3 years doing it already, including a project where I did ___. My past experience will help me contribute immediately in this area for you.”

Here’s why this type of answer will impress the interviewer:

  • You’re showing them you understand the job and took some time to research. Remember, they want to hire someone who wants THEIR job, not just any job.
  • And you’re showing them that you’re targeting specific things in your job search. This shows that you care about your career, which they’ll love. Why? Because it means you’re more likely to work hard, put effort into learning, and stay a while (if the job is good!)
  • And finally, you’re reminding them how you can help them, rather than just talking about what you want.

Let’s look at another word-for-word sample answer now…

Sample Answer For “Why Did You Apply For This Job?”

“Great question. Right now I’m looking for more leadership, since I’ve been in my current position for 4 years managing projects across our department. I saw on your job description that this person you hire will manage 4-5 projects, and will also have the chance to train a team of their own in the future and get into direct management. That’s something that excites me a lot, and unfortunately my company can’t offer that right now, so that’s a major reason that I wanted to apply for this job in particular. I think my past experience leading projects would help me contribute immediately in this role. Can you tell me more about what type of leadership role that this position can grow into in the long run?”

As another way to stand out in the interview, you can end your answer with a question of your own. You can see this in the example above.

It’s one of the strategies I recommend in my job interview answer guide because it turns the interview into a back-and-forth dialogue, instead of a nerve-racking interrogation.

Why ending your answer with a question works so well:

  • The hiring manager will start to see you as a colleague and someone they can picture themselves working with
  • They’ll respect you more.
  • You’ll seem like a more in-demand candidate because you’re asking great questions and evaluating them, not just trying to get the first job you’re offered
  • It’ll make the whole interview more conversational and less like an interrogation. The result? You’ll feel a whole lot calmer and less stressed. Which means you’ll give way better answers.

Now, before I wrap up this article, let’s cover a few mistake and things to avoid when answering:

What Not to Do When You Answer “Why Did You Apply For This Job?”

There are a couple of things you definitely shouldn’t do when the interviewer asks why applied for their job. Here’s what not to do…


  • Make it seem like you don’t care what type of job you get
  • Make it seem like you applied for every position out there, without reading or learning about the position
  • Make it seem like you don’t know anything about their company. You should never go into an interview without knowing what their company does, how they make money, etc. If you don’t know this stuff, you don’t deserve the job (and you proably won’t get it).
  • Tell them you don’t know or aren’t sure
  • Give any reason that’s about your personal needs… like needing more money, shorter commute, etc. Keep it focused on their needs and your career growth (try to balance both). That’s it.
  • Badmouth your previous or current company. Just don’t do it. Talk about the positives you want to GAIN in your next job, not what you’re looking to escape in your current job if you have one. That’s a rule you can follow in any of the interview answers you give.

So That’s It… Now You Know How to Answer:

  • “Why did you apply for this job?”
  • “Why are you applying for this position?”
  • And many other similar questions

In fact, you can also use this same 3-step formula to answer “Why do you want this job?”

Follow these steps any time an interviewer asks a question about why you wanted to apply for this position, why you were interested in interviewing for their job, or anything else.

If you do this, you’ll immediately impress them, and you’ll be one step closer to a job offer.


If you have interviews coming up and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.


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