As an interviewee, you want to get the “Why do you want this job?” question. Compared to all of the other challenging brain teaser questions, this is the best one to use to your advantage—if you handle it the right way.
At the most basic level, an employer seeks to learn about the job seeker’s motivation to interview for a specific job. The manager desires to investigate if the applicant truly desires this position. She also wants to determine if he is merely seeking out any old job, running away from a bad situation at his current employer, solely cares about the compensation or is selfishly desirous of the prestige associated with having the company’s name on his résumé and LinkedIn profile.
When an interviewer asks why you would like this particular role, she is really saying, “Here’s your chance to sell me on why you’re the right person for this position.” By framing the question in this fashion, you now have an understanding of how to craft an answer. This is the time to mentally pull out your elevator pitch. You should share specific details of how your background, experience, talents, interests, education and other attributes make you a great fit for the job and asset to the company. Respond by adding that you will be intellectually challenged and afforded the opportunity to grow your career while creating value to the organization. Offer solid reasons why the company appeals to you, including the corporate culture, its reputation, the ability to advance and any other valid details as to why you would like to work there.
Stay away from the generic answers that everyone else gives. This is your chance to be yourself and talk from the heart. Remember to come across enthusiastic, dynamic, engaging and highly motivated. You can say the same thing in a boring monotone and the hiring manager will have no interest, but if you come across passionate and excited, you will get her rapt attention.
I believe that you should be authentic in the interview process. The probability of success measurably increases if you possess the right background and are truly interested in the job and in working for this particular company and demonstrate your interest. Your elevator pitch will ring true if you really feel that you possess the right stuff for the job and are undoubtedly excited about the opportunity. Conversely, your answers will ring hollow if you are not going after the job for the right reasons.
If a candidate seems only mildly interested, he will lose out to the passionate applicant. If the job seeker plays hard to get and puts the burden on the interviewer to answer why her workplace is better than others, you will lose out to someone who is all in on the job.
Here is a cheat sheet on how to answer the question:
- Compliment the interviewer and company by acknowledging something favorable about their reputation, products and services.
- Clearly articulate why this job jumps out and speaks to you.
- Match up your skills, experience, academic background and personality to the job description. Then, express how they are relevant to the job, will enable you to succeed within the organization and make the hiring manager’s work life easier.
- Discuss why the company would be a great fit for you and vice versa.
- Explain briefly why you believe that this job will help you grow and advance your career.
- Cite several examples of how you will help the company.
- Offer your best pitch to sell yourself.
Now, you’re prepared to ace it!