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How to answer "Why do you want this job?"

Book open Reading time: 7 mins

Interview questions are a great way for employers to see if you might be a good match for their company or team. However, it can be hard to know how exactly to answer them, especially when asked, "Why do you want this job?". However, you don't need to be concerned when this question comes up if you prepare properly. Bear in mind as well that the question might be phrased differently, such as "Why do you want to work for us?" or "Why did you apply for this position?", but the answer for all of these can be found in our sample answers below. We'll also cover what the interviewer wants to know, as well as things you shouldn't say.

Understanding the question “Why do you want this job?”

Obviously, knowing how to answer "Why do I want this job?" is easier when you know what the interviewer is actually asking. There are several reasons that an employer will ask this. Most of the things an employer wants to know from this question are:

  • If your goals align with the company's goals
  • How you intend to grow within the role
  • How much you know about the company
  • How well you have researched the role
  • What you think you can bring to the team

Needless to say, this can make it hard to prepare for this question.

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How to prepare for the interview question “Why do you want this job?”

The key to doing well in any interview is preparation. This means you should absolutely prepare for your "why do I want this job?" answer before you attend. There are several things you should think about for this question, such as:

Why did you apply for the job? - Presumably, the job is something within your skillset, but this shouldn't be the only reason you applied for it. Read back over the job description and try to think how you felt the first time you read it. Did anything really appeal to you? Did you feel excited? Do any of the job specifications look like a fun challenge?

What is the company's goal? You should research and read up on the company to see what its goals and aims are. This should help you look at how your own goals and motivations fit in.

What is the company culture like? While researching, you should also look at the company culture. Company culture is a big reason for people applying for specific jobs and you should look for ways that you will fit into the culture at the firm where you are applying.

Is it a very specific job? If you are looking for a general administration role this might be harder to answer, but if you are applying for a very specific tech niche you might feel that this job description is the closest you've found to your skill set and interests.

Best sample answers to the “Why do you want this job?” question

If you are unsure how to approach this question, pick a "why do you want this job?" sample answer and have a look if it might apply to your situation. You will probably need to tailor these to make sure they work for you, but they are a great starting point.

Sample answer 1 - Enthusiasm

"I was excited when I saw this job advert because I think it is the perfect mix of all the challenges I enjoy at work. I know I greatly enjoy working with children from my years teaching and I enjoy working within the arts' field"

Not only does this example show enthusiasm, but it also helps mention your experience in a relevant field.

Sample answer 2 - Qualifications

"I want this job because I feel it is one of the roles best suited to my skills. While my previous job in networking has been very positive for me, I feel the cybersecurity aspects of this role will give me more chance to use the knowledge gained from my advanced degree."

This answer helps you show knowledge of the job role while also helping emphasise that you have general experience but also the specialist qualifications needed for this role.

Sample answer 3 - Think about the future

"From researching your company, I see you have opportunities for employees to train and gain more qualifications in this field. I would love the opportunity to expand my knowledge as well as improve what I can bring to this company."

This answer shows that you intend to have a lot of dedication to the company, as well as how you want to grow in the future, both of which are good traits. Plus it shows that you have researched the company and looked into what they offer.

Sample answer 4 - Ethos

"I would love to work for this company because I strongly believe that your ethos of focusing on better employment equality and charitable work is great. I definitely intend to use the optional days off for charity work".

This shows that you have researched the company and how your values align with those of the company. It is a great way to profile your understanding of how the company looks to present itself to the world and how you fit into that.

Sample answer 5

"One thing that really appealed to me about this job is that I would be working in a close-knit team. I have always valued being able to collaborate with co-workers as I find that everyone works better and solves problems better if they have the help and support of others."

Here, you can showcase your knowledge of what to expect in the job, highlighting your preparation and understanding of the job description. It also shows that you are aware of how you work best, as well as saying how you will fit in well with the team you would be joining.

Sample answer 6

"I want this job because I love working for small start-up companies. I really enjoy muddling in and helping a small company grow however I can, as I find it very rewarding."

This answer profiles an awareness of the company's history, as well as talks about how you can contribute to the company's future. Employers are looking for talent that is dedicated to the furthering and improvement of the company, its culture and its values.

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What not to answer

You might not want to stick strictly to our "why do I want this job?" examples, but they are solid answers which can help give you a starting point of how to answer these common questions. On the other hand, there are some things that you should avoid saying when you are asked this interview question, such as:

  • "I need a job" - This can be a very desperate-sounding answer, which is not ideal when you are job hunting. You should instead focus on what you are looking to offer to the company rather than just needing to be there.
  • "The pay is good" - This can sound like you are only after the money, while the employer wants you to be more invested than that. Otherwise, they might expect you to leave as soon as you get a better offer.
  • "I want to work in this field" - This might be entirely true, but this doesn't say why you want this particular job in the particular company. If you make it sounds like you would be happy in any similar job role, they might think you aren't invested.
  • "It will be good for my career" - Employers want you to focus on what you can bring to the company, as well as what the company can do for you. mentioning advancement within the same company is better as this suggests you intend to work for the company for a longer time.
  • "I hate my current job" - Never focus on the negatives, especially if it involves talking badly about your current company. Always talk about why you want this job, not why you want a different job in general.

To Sum Up

"Why do you want this job?" can be an intimidating question, and it's easy to answer badly. However, with some prep work, you'll be able to give a great answer. Focus on what matches you to the job description. Also, be sure to do some research beforehand so you can talk about how well you will suit the company. Avoid discussing negatives or talking in very general terms though, and make sure to positively focus on how you and the job are a great match.