When you are successful enough in a job application to reach the interview stage, then one of the most frequent questions you’ll get asked is the old favourite: “Why are you interested in this position?”
At face value, it sounds like a pretty easy question to answer. But, in reality, your answer is really important and you shouldn’t just blurt out the first thing that comes into your mind – even if it happens to actually be true!
By asking this question, your interviewer is trying to find out more about your motivations than you might think.
Get your answer spot on, and you can send strong signals to the interviewer about your motivation, enthusiasm and fit for the role. You can demonstrate your understanding of the company, the job requirements and how your skills and experience align with the vacancy on offer.
A well-crafted answer can set you apart from other candidates and really boost your chances of being offered the job.
On the other hand, a bad answer can really make you look uninterested or unqualified for the position, which can absolutely ruin your chances of landing the job.
So never take the “Why are you interested in this position?” question lightly. Your reply could be the make-or-break answer to the whole job interview.
In this article, we are going to:
help you understand the question and the reason why it is being asked
give you some slight variations of how the interviewer might phrase the same question
show you how to craft a great reply
give a few examples of good and bad answers to the question
“Why Are You Interested In This Position?” – What Does It Really Mean?
Before you can build a great reply to the question, it is important that you understand the actual intention behind the question.
The interviewer wants to understand your motivation, enthusiasm and fit for the role. They want to know what specifically attracts you to the position they are offering – and why you believe you in particular are a good match for the job.
By asking this question, the interviewer is looking to assess your level of preparation, research and understanding of the company and the job requirements.
Also, the interviewer may use your answer to gauge your level of interest in the company, as well as your career goals and aspirations.
Therefore, it is essential that you can provide a thoughtful, well-researched response which demonstrates your understanding of the role and your enthusiasm for the position.
Different variations of the same question
Although, “Why are you interested in this position?” is probably the most frequently-used way of asking the question, it can be phrased in slightly different ways.
You should be aware of each (and more) and be ready to tailor your answer differently, if necessary.
Here a just a few of the different forms of the same question that we’ve seen used in job interviews over the years:
Why do you think you’re a good fit for this role?
What made you want to apply for this position?
What motivated you to pursue this opportunity?
Can you explain why you want to work for our company and in this role in particular?
Why do you believe this job aligns with your career goals and aspirations?
What about our company and this position appealed to you?
How does this position fit into your long-term career plans?
What skills and experience do you bring to this position, and how do they align with our job requirements?
Can you tell me a little about what you find exciting or challenging about this role?
Regardless of the specific phrasing of the question, it is vital to understand that the intention behind all of these variations is the same; the interviewer is trying to establish why you are interested in the position and understand how you could contribute to the company if they offered you the job.
The Importance of a Good Answer
It is important to have a convincing answer to the “why are you interested in this position” question in an interview because it can significantly impact the interviewer’s perception of you as a candidate.
A good answer can help you stand out from the crowd and vastly improve your chances of being offered the job.
On the other hand, a poorly thought out answer can make you appear uninterested in both the role itself and the company you are hoping to work for.
With that in mind, it is crucial for you to take the time to prepare a well-crafted response that showcases your strengths and, ideally, aligns with the company’s goals and values.
How To Craft A Great Answer – The Four Pillars
We believe you can always build a great response to the “why are you interested in this position” – no matter what the role and no matter which company you are applying to – by framing your answer in reference to what we like to call the ‘Four Pillars’
Research the company and the role itself
Align your skills and experience with the job requirements
Explain your motivation for – and interest in – the job
Show enthusiasm and eagerness to learn
Let’s break those down into more detail for you…
Research the company and the role itself: Make sure you do thorough research into the company, its mission and values, as well as the specific job requirements. This will demonstrate that you are interested in the company and the position, and that you are serious about the opportunity. Use this research to inform your answer and explain how your skills and experience like up perfectly with the company’s goals and needs.
Align your skills and experience with the job requirements: Use the job description and your research to identify the specific skills and experience the company is likely looking for. Then, with this knowledge, explain how your own skills and experience align with those requirements. This will demonstrate to the interviewer that you have a clear understanding of what the job entails and that you have the necessary assets to thrive in the role.
Explain your motivation for – and interest in – the job: Be specific about what attracted you to the position and the company. Explain how the job will help you grow and develop professionally. This will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the job and the company and that you are excited about the opportunity to work together.
Show enthusiasm and eagerness to learn: Convey your enthusiasm for the job and the company by demonstrating a positive attitude and willingness to learn. Show how you intend to take on new challenges and responsibilities and emphasise your commitment to contributing to the company’s success. This will show the interviewer that you are not only interested in the job itself, but also that you are keen to excel and make a meaningful impact within the company.
Example of a Good Answer
“I’ve been following your company for a while now and I’m impressed by its innovative approach to the industry. I was particularly excited to see this position open up because it would give me the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology and contribute to the development of new products.”
“I believe that my background in engineering and my passion for innovation make me a great fit for this role. I’m also really drawn to the company’s culture of collaboration and its commitment to employee development. I’m excited about the potential to work with a team of talented professionals and to learn from experienced mentors.”
How To Avoid A Bad Answer
If you stick to the above advice then you should be assured of nailing a great response to any “Why Are You Interested In This Position?” question or its variations.
However, it’s also worth noting a few examples of what will be considered bad answers to these types of questions in any job interview.
Your aim should always be to show the interviewer that you are interested in the role because you are motivated and ready to contribute something to the company, rather than acting purely out of self-interest – or even worse, desperation!
Some bad responses we’ve heard over the years tend to revolve revolve around themes such as:
I just need a job
I don’t really know, it just seems interesting
The pay is good and I need the money
These generic and unconvincing responses show a lack of preparation and research – as well as revealing that you are focusing on personal benefits rather than company goals and a viable career path.
Here are some examples of bad responses to “Why Are You Interested In This Position?” questions:
Example 1: – “I just need a job and this one seems like a good fit” This answer is bad because it shows a lack of genuine interest in the job and the company. It suggests you are simply looking for any job you can get, rather than being specifically interested in this position at this company.
Example 2: - “I’m not really sure why I’m interested in this position but I need a change from my current job.” This answer is bad because it shows a lack of self-awareness and preparation for the interview. It suggests you haven’t thought much at all about why you are interested in the job or what you could bring to the table.
Example 3: – “I don’t know much about the company but the salary and benefits seem pretty good.” This answer is bad because it again shows a lack of effort to research the company and that you are not interested in the job except for the financial compensation. It suggests that you are solely motivated by money and are not genuinely interested in the position or the company.
We’ll leave you with just a few more pointers to make sure you can always nail these “Why are you interested in this position?” questions in your future interviews.
To be honest, these three bonus tips apply to almost any question you could possibly be asked in a job interview but they are always worth repeating as they are so important:
Prepare in advance: Before the interview, take plenty of time to research the company and the specific job you’re applying for. Look for information about the company’s history, mission, values and culture. Find out about specific job duties and requirements. Then use this information to craft a response that shows your understanding of both the company and the position you are applying for.
Practise your response: Once you have a good idea of what you want to say, practise your response out loud – or, even better, with a friend or family member. This can help you feel more comfortable and confident during the interview and can also help you refine your answer and make sure you’re covering all of the important points.
Be honest and authentic: While it’s important to prepare in advance and practise your response, it’s equally important to be honest and authentic in your answer. Don’t just tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. Always focus on your genuine interest in the job and the company. If you’re not truly interested in the position, it may be time to consider other opportunities instead…
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