Interview Question: "Why Do You Want This Job?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

"Why do you want this job?" has become an interview question that you may have come to expect. Preparing an answer that focuses on both your skills and the role can help you respond effectively. Employers can be favourable to candidates that have a strong desire for the position.

Answering this question well can leave a positive impression on your interviewer. In this article, we discuss why employers ask this question and share steps to prepare an answer to impress.

Why do employers ask, "Why do you want this job?"

Hiring managers frequently ask the question "why do you want this job?" in job interviews to assess a candidate's suitability for the role. Employers want to know if a candidate is interested in their company and aligned with their values. This interview question can allow candidates to explain why a particular position is right for them. It can also show employers how the role fits into a candidate's career goals.

Companies want their staff members to like their jobs, as it usually means they're motivated to do well and help the company. A successful answer to this question should communicate this motivation and interest in the company.

Preparing an answer to this question before your interview can help you respond well. If the hiring manager can see that you have taken time to determine why you want the job, they can be positively impressed. It shows that you have thought about the position and leaves them feeling more confident in your success.

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

Preparing an answer to this question involves some reflection and practice. Reflection can help you highlight the key points that show your desire for the role. Practise can help you articulate these points and impress the interviewer. While preparation can be important, try not to memorise your answer word for word. Remembering key points to bring into your answer naturally can be a great way to answer the question authentically.

Here are four steps you can consider when preparing a successful response to this interview question:

1. Reflect on the question

The first step to preparing a successful answer is to reflect on the question. When doing this, put aside any ideas you have about how you should answer this question. Let answers and statements come into your mind, and write these down. This can give you some legitimate reasons that accurately sum up why you want the job.

As you reflect, you can make a list of what you're hoping to achieve by working in a particular position. This can include new professional skills you may learn or the industry that you'll be entering. It can also contain personal reasons why you might enjoy the role, such as particular areas of interest.

Outline your goals, your expectations and how the role could help your career advancement. Then try to link these goals up with particular experiences in the job description. For example, if your long term goal is to run a cafe, a front of house position can teach how to use Point of Sale systems.

By reflecting on the question, you can find the answers naturally. It can be a great way to prepare yourself to construct and articulate a successful response that is authentic. Being authentic shows that you're genuinely interested in the role and can help the interviewer relate to you.

Reflecting on the question and making a list can also help you identify any questions you may have for the interviewer about the position.

2. Do your research

Accurate information can help you deliver a great response. You can research the company and the position by looking at their website and news articles. Try to identify their values and goals as an organisation. If you can determine the company priorities, you can relate them to your goals and include them in your answer. This can position you as an ideal candidate who's aligned with the organisation.

For example, a company could prioritise sustainability and incorporate measures to meet this value. If you are also environmentally driven, you could include this in your answer to show that you're a good fit.

In the above example, your answer could look like this:

"I'm inspired by the lengths that your company goes to reduce your carbon footprint. I try to ride my bike as much as possible because this is also a value of mine. This position motivates me because I could support my desire to help the environment by working for you.”

This answers the question directly, and it shows your determination by putting in the extra effort to understand the company

3. Promote yourself

Another step in responding to this question could be to promote yourself. Selling your skills and experiences at any part of an interview can be a good move. "Why do you want this job?" is a question that is centred around you, so it's a great time to promote why you're a perfect fit. When preparing for this question, review the job description to highlight the specific skills and experiences required. Try to remember specific terms and keywords that they use because it can help to connect your answer to the particular job.

For example, a job position could list "The ability to work in a fast-paced environment" as a requirement. Answering this question could be a great time to explain how you enjoy being busy at work and provide an example of when you were successful in a 'fast-paced environment'. If the interviewer mentions that the job would require you to work closely with people, you could discuss how you thrive in collaborating with others. This can show your motivation for the position and highlight a valuable skill that you can bring to the job.

4. Share your goals

A final element that can tie the answer together is your career goals. As this question is trying to determine your motivations for the position, talking about your career goals can explain your suitability. Try to outline the development and experiences that you need to reach your goals. Discuss how this role ties into this development and why it could be a significant step to achieving your goals.

Suppose it's a more senior-level position than your previous role. In that case, you can talk about how eager you are to have more responsibility and learn the skills to progress in this particular industry. If it's an entry-level position, you could mention that you're excited to enter the industry and talk about your ideal future position relevant to the industry.

Explaining how this role fits into your long-term goals can highlight to the interviewer that this is more than a job to you. It can give the hiring manager confidence that you have the drive to be successful in the role. Outlining your career goals also shows that you aim to grow and improve within the position to reach your goals. Employers can value this ambitious mindset because companies also benefit from your drive to improve.

Example answers for "Why do you want this job?"

Below are some full-length responses that can show you a complete answer to the question "Why do you want this job?"

Example 1:

"I am impressed by PortSmith's commitment to their employee's professional development. I really appreciate a company that values growth among its employees, and I would love to work with a team that is focused on advancing in their careers. I read that last year, PortSmith promoted over half of its business development team. That dedication to training and improvement resonated with me and my goals. I am excited by the prospect of working for a company that shares my values."

Why this is a good answer? This response focuses on what the job seeker likes about the company and how they're aligned to the candidate's goals. It also shows that the candidate has invested time researching the company and is motivated to fulfil the role.

Example 2:

"I want to work at Evergreen because I believe it will help me achieve my professional goal of becoming a more effective ecologist. Evergreen's reputation in research and development studies inspire me, and I believe working here would help me understand the complete life cycle of a research project. I know how highly regarded some of the ecologists who have worked for you are, which motivates me to absorb as much as I can and continue my professional growth. Evergreen has an excellent reputation, and it would be a privilege to work as part of your ecology team.”

Why this is a good answer? The candidate has connected their professional goals to the company. They have explained how working in a particular position can help them reach these goals and motivate them. This can help the employer see that they see themselves as a long-term employee at Evergreen.

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