,   |  September 24, 2013

Common interview questions: Why are you interested in this job?

Common interview question: Why are you interested in this job? / Why did you apply to this job/role?

Why your interviewer is asking this question: In addition to figuring out why you want to work at the company, they want to know why you want to take on this particular job. Basically, how excited are you about it? And what’s motivating you to want to do it?

Why it can be tricky: In order to answer this interview question well, you need to have a really solid understanding of the job (but I suppose you need to anyway, so maybe it’s not that tricky!)

How to answer: 1. Use the job description to fully understand the job and then genuinely just share what parts of it interest you. 2. Avoid a common pitfall of only seeming excited about the “sexy” or glamorous parts of a job… and 3. make sure your interviewer knows you’re in it for all the right reasons (i.e. don’t just say “the money”).

Read on for a little more detail…

common interview questions - why are you interested in this job

Use the job description

The most obvious reason to be interested in a job is (of course) to be interested in what the job entails – the day-to-day responsibilities.

I think a good way to articulate that in an interview is by saying “I read in the job description that doing [insert responsibility] is a big part of the role. That is something I’m really excited about because of X, Y, Z…”

Choosing a few different tasks and letting the interviewer know that you not only fully understand them, but are also excited by them is the first step to answering this question.

Don’t give off the impression you think the job is all fun & no work

Especially if you are applying to a more junior role, the job is likely not going to be all rainbows and butterflies… but no recruiter or hiring manager is going to write a job description making the job sound 100% bland or administrative (even if most of it is).

So in addition to talking about the parts of the job you’re most excited about (that you should be excited about), also make sure they know you are willing to put in the work on the more mundane parts of the job. They are just as important.

A good way to phrase that is by saying “Even though I’m very excited about [whatever you mentioned above] I also understand that I’ll be doing X, Y, and Z, and I feel really confident that I can do a great job with those parts of the role as well”.

There are other good reasons too… feel free to add them

Though I think the #1 reason you should be interested in a job is because of the job itself, there are other good reasons too. Working for smart people, in a great environment, for someone you can learn from, etc. are all good reasons and if you mean it, there is no reason you shouldn’t add those in to your answer.

Be in it (or say you’re in it) for the right reasons

There are some reasons that you might want a job, but aren’t good to highlight. It can be a big turn off for an interviewer to hear that you only want a job because of money, benefits, vacation, or even title/prestige (aka: to build your resume). It’s natural that some of these things may be a factor in your decision making process, but now is not the time to put that on the table.

In closing…

Remember that the people interviewing you are spending tons of time and effort finding someone who is excited and enthusiastic about the position, so make sure you show them you’re that person. Showing that you’ve been thoughtful about the types of jobs you’ve applied for will go a long way (and admitting that you’ll pretty much take anything or just need the cash will have the exact opposite effect).

answers to interview questions

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