Imagine this scene: You’re on a first date, and, so far, it’s going well. Then, your date asks a question that makes you squirm: “Why did you want to go out with me?” If you answer, “Because you said “yes,” where do you think the date would go from there?
Your date wanted reassurance that you weren’t issuing invitations all over town, hoping someone would accept. She wanted to know that you saw something special in her. And you blew it. In a similar way, when an interviewer asks, “Why are you interested in this job/our organization?” the last thing you want to say is, “Because you have an opening.” That “date” would be over before it ever got started.
Employers want reassurance that you know something about the company and have given some thought as to why you’d be a good fit. They’re not likely to be impressed by someone who’s sending out resumes to every organization that has a position available. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some answers that will get you that second date…uhm, interview.
“Why are you interested in our organization?”
The secret to answering this question is to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and have a pretty good idea of who the company is. “Because it’s a great company,” isn’t going to cut it. You need specifics. Here are some examples:
- “I read your annual report and was intrigued by your plans for the future, specifically regarding the implementation of emerging technologies. I’d love to be a part of that.”
- “The recent additions to your executive team have some of the best reputations in the industry. I’d love to learn from them and use those lessons to help the company go even further.”
- “I’ve been impressed by your commitment to corporate responsibility, especially when it comes to sustainable growth.”
“Why are you interested in this job?”
The secret to answering this question is threefold:
- Demonstrate that you understand the job.
- Sell yourself as a good match.
- Show that you’re interested in what you can contribute, not just what you can gain from the job.
Here are some good examples:
- “I’m interested in this job because, with my background in corporate communications, I’m certain I could make an immediate impact. Beyond that, I’m ready for the challenge of applying my writing skills in the social media arena.”
- “I love the challenge of using my sales background in an industry that is predicted to be flat over the coming years. I’d make it my personal goal to show positive growth, regardless of what’s happening in the rest of the industry.”
- “As a HR executive, I’ve handled several mergers, and I know what the challenges are. I love being able to help companies through the uncertainty that a merger brings and seeing them come out stronger on the other side.”
“Why are you interested in this job/our organization?” isn’t the kind of question you can answer effectively on the spot. You need to give it some thought in advance. Try to think about what the interviewer is really trying to find an out, and construct a response that provides specific, positive answers to those questions. The point is to convince the interviewer not just that you’re a perfect fit for the job, but that you’re a perfect fit for each other.