Why Do You Want This Job? (Frequently Asked Questions in an Interview)

By Joe Stein

It is amazing how such a simple question can be so challenging. As a Job Seeker, you have reviewed lots of advertisements for job openings. You have done your analysis of your past work history and decided what you like and what you want to avoid.  You have prepared endlessly for the interview, anticipating every challenge you will face. So, why is it so difficult to respond to the Hiring Manager or Recruiter when he or she asks something so simple such as “why you want this job?”   
As we continue to review the most frequently asked questions in an interview, let’s explore the dreaded “Why Do You Want This Job?”
Why Is It Asked?
·        Checking for Fit – The prospective employer wants to make sure you are focused on being the best person for this position. It also can inform the Interviewer whether your values are in alignment with the company culture.
·        Determine Interest Level – A really interested candidate will have an answer using the knowledge of having researched the company. It provides a glimpse into whether you really want the position or whether you are going through the motions of an interview.
·        Determine Preparation/Thought – This question is often asked very early in the interview process. The idea is to get an early read on whether you have researched and prepared for the interview. It also allows an Interviewer to determine whether you have analyzed how you are qualified for the position.
How Should It Be Answered?
·        Without Hesitation – This is not a question that you will have the luxury of being able to pause and reflect during the interview. Any hesitation will cause the Interviewer to question your preparation, or even worse, your desire for the position.
·        Be Specific -   Most Job Seekers rely on a general “fluff” answer like “I heard this is a good place to work” or “the job is something I have done before”. Reflect specifically on your experience and skills and how you can be impactful in the position. Stress how you can benefit the company rather than focusing solely on what will be good for you.
·        Focus on What Motivates You – Provide a glimpse of your inner-drive for the Interviewer. This can be done by stressing how you will want to get started quickly and how exciting the position and company are to you.
·        With a Little Flattery – Don’t cause the Interviewer to have to put “hip boots” on, but a little flattery won’t hurt. Praise the respective employer, as some positives regarding the organization can be most likely found on the Internet.   If you use the company product that you are interviewing with, then try to weave that into your answer. If the organization has a history of being socially and/or environmentally conscious, then this may be noted.
·        Stress the Opportunity – If this position is at a higher level than you are currently working in, then stress how this will be a good career move. Consider speaking about the opportunities that this position will afford you. 
·        Sound Genuine – This will be helped by your preparation. The Interviewer needs to believe that the answer you provide is from the heart, so you do need to believe in whatever answer you provide.
What Not To Do:
·        Give an Unmotivated Answer – You do not want to provide an answer that will cause the Interviewer to question your motivation or work ethic. Among the answers not to give are:
o       “I need a job” – Of course you do, especially if you are currently not employed. The Interviewer will want a much better reason to consider hiring you.
o       “My unemployment ran out” – Perhaps the worst of all answers. This tells the Interview a number of things and they are all bad. Conclusions drawn will be that you “milked” your unemployment to the end, or you have job searched for months and have not been hired.
o       “Sounds Easy” – It is amazing how many times I have heard this one. This is never an acceptable answer even if the position does sound easy. A prospective employer does not want to hire a person who is interested in doing the minimum.
o       “The Medical Benefits” – We all want them and need them. This should not be the focus of your answer. Especially avoid giving detail regarding a medical condition you or a family member has necessitating the importance of these benefits.
·        Give a Questionable Answer – An Interviewer would like to think that you are focused on the position and the company, and how you can impact both. There are a few answers that can cause a person to question your motivation. Among these “questionable” answers are:
o       “You Pay More” – Any answer that is money related is probably not in your best interest. We all know that money is important but you do not want to communicate this to be your motivation for this prospective position.
o       “The Schedule is Better” – This may be alright as a secondary reason but should not be your focus. Too much emphasis on this and a prospective employer may think you are inflexible to future schedule changes.
o       “Sounds Like Something I Can Do” – An answer such as this reflects a lack of confidence. It may lead a person to conclude that the position would be a stretch for you.
Although this can be a challenging question, it can be mastered with some preparation. Prepare a flattering answer that will cause the Hiring Manager to conclude that you are a motivated person who is the best fit for the position.
As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

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