The interview question “Why do you want this job” or “Why do you want to work here?” is a variation on “What interests you about this position and our company?” In a dating situation, this is the equivalent of “Why me?” or “Why are you interested in me?” Your answer should be about why this employer is unique and special in your mind and how your skills are a match to their needs.
Not About You
You probably have personal reasons why you want the job, such as you’re out of work, you need a paycheck, it’s a short commute or the company offers good health insurance. The hiring manager doesn’t care about your personal reasons. In fact everyone he or she interviews probably has similar reasons for wanting the job. Sharing your personal reasons will not help you get hired.
You may also have professional reasons why you want the job. Perhaps it’s right on your career path, the company has a good reputation or the job uses your skills and offers you the chance to grow. Again, these reasons will not advance your candidacy unless they are tied directly to your ability to bring value to the company.
Instead of focusing on your reasons, ask yourself “How can I answer this question in a way that further convinces the hiring manager that I am the best person for this job?” Some possible answers:
- This job would allow me to use my proven skills to bring great value to this company (followed by a specific example of how your skills bring value)
- I want this job because I like solving problems and creating value. I am confident I can do both of those in this job because . . . (example of past success that relates to this position)
- I want to be in a job where I can really have an impact. In this position, my impact will be . . . (example based on what you’ve learned about where this position has impact)
- I want to work for a company where I believe in the product (or service). That passion will drive me to great results (example from past)
Notice that each answer includes a specific example. It’s easy enough for any candidate to say “I know I would be good at this job”. Your examples of past successes are your proof of that. You know you would be successful, solve problems, drive value and excel because you’ve done it before in other jobs.
It can be challenging to think of such examples on the fly. That’s why preparing brief and memorable stories in advance is helpful. While you want to be prepared, do not let your answer sound stiff or canned. Be genuine as you share the real value you will bring.
Good advanced research on the company will help you understand their mission and what is unique about them. If the company is built around a passion, product or mission that resonates with you, this is a great time to let them know. Employers like to hire people who have a genuine passion for the company and product.