A good answer to the question “Why do you want this job?” can significantly increase your chances of success at your next job interview. But what's the perfect answer to this common interview question?
In this blog post, I share a simple, four-step approach to craft an answer that will help you build trust with your interviewer and encourage them to choose you over any other candidates.
Why is this a common interview question?
If you’ve ever had a job interview, chances are you’ve been asked a variation of the question: “Why do you want to work here?” And if you put yourself in the shoes of your future employer, it's a fair question to ask. After all, they want to make sure the person they hire wants this job.
In my experience as a hiring manager, I’ve often come across candidates who will answer this question by saying things like:
- "Because you are the market leader."
- "Because you offer great career development opportunities."
- Or even "Because it's the right next step in my career"
However, I never found these answers convincing enough. Why? Because they feel one-sided and don't sound genuine. They don't really tell me, the hiring manager, anything about you - the candidate.
What makes a good answer to the interview question "Why do you want this job?"
A good answer to this question combines the applicant’s interests with what they can contribute to the role.
When answered corrently, this question can give great insight into what the applicant can bring into the company, and employing them becomes a win-win situation. It’s a win for the candidate, but it’s also a win for the company.
Also, a convincing answer won't stop at what the candidate likes about the company or job, but it will also explain why these things matter. When you answer this interview question bearing this in mind, your answer becomes more personal and, therefore, more driven by more genuine motivation. This helps you build trust with the interviewer, and it gives them the feeling that you intend to work for the company long-term.
How to prepare your answer to the question "Why do you want this job?"
Here's a simple four-step approach to help you prepare for your next job interview.
When planning your answer, ask yourself, why would working for this company make me feel proud?
First thing first, identify what you like most about the company - is is their mission, vision, values, products or services? Is it the type of customers or clients they work with? Or maybe it's their background, their history, or the impact they make on the world around them?
Once you have identified what it is, think about why this matters to you. For example, why do you want to work for the market leader? Is it because you want your job to make an impact? Is it because this role will give you the opportunity to solve big problems? Gather your thougths and jot your answers down.
Why do you feel you are a good cultural fit for this company? In order to answer this question, do some research about the company's culture. If you know people who work there (either now or in the past), talk to them.
It's important that you identify a few things that would keep you motivated when working there. Once again, think about why this matters to you. For example, if the company is known for its diverse culture, you may find this a motivating factor if you feel this would help you broaden your horizons. Don't just stop at what you like about the company - try to also focus on why it's relevant to you.
Why is this the right role for you? Think about what you like about the role and why this is the right next step for you. And don't forget to consider what you bring to the table. Remember, if the hiring manager chooses you over another candidate, it's a win for you, but it needs to be a win for them too.
Now compile the results of the first three steps into your answer. You don't need to pull out all the details - just choose what you feel is important. After all, your answer doesn't need to be much longer than 30 seconds or so.
To craft your perfect answer, make sure it covers these points:
- What makes you want to join this company?
- Why does it matter to you?
- And what will your contribution to the role and the company be?
Top tip: avoid talking about the company's benefits, as this (in most cases) creates a one-sided answer and doesn't tell the interviewer much about you.
Example of how to answer the question "Why do you want this job?"
Let me finish by giving you an example of a good answer. Imagine a candidate who applied to a company specializing in healthcare technology. A good answer will be something along the lines of:
"There are a couple of reasons why I want to work here. One is your track record of improving healthcare with innovative technology. I want to make an impact with my work, and as part of your team, I could help solve some of the biggest healthcare problems.
Also, I like that diversity is one of your core values. Working in a diverse environment inspires me and helps me broaden my horizons. Having worked in five different countries, I'm convinced I can add new perspectives to your team, and I like the role because I can contribute with my project management skills and 10+ years of industry experience. At the same time, with the additional responsibilities and the technology-focus of the role, this feels like a great next career step for me."
This answer covers what the candidate likes about the company, its culture, and the new role, why this matters, and how the applicant can contribute. It's a genuine, thought-through answer that is guaranteed to stand out, help you connect with your interviewer, and increase your chances of receiving an offer.
Have you ever been asked this question in an interview?
If you found this article useful, you might also be interested in How to answer the interview question “What are your greatest strengths?” and How to answer the interview question “What are your weaknesses?”.