Interview Question: 'Why Are You Interested in this Job?'

Illustration of a man and woman sitting at a desk and having a discussion

When you go for a job interview, hiring managers aren’t just looking for someone with a great skillset or a shining resume. They also want a candidate who has clear career goals and an interest and understanding of the company and job role in question.

To find out what motivated you to apply and why this position may a great fit for you, interviewers may ask the question, ‘Why are you interested in this job?’.

For you to answer this common interview question with confidence and professionalism, we’ve prepared some tips and examples on how to deliver the perfect response.

1. Research the company 

Interviewers want to see that you understand the job and that you took the time to research their company. They want to hire someone who’s interested in working for their organisation, not just any company. Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the firm by conducting some research beforehand.

If you don’t know much about the company, you can learn more about the organisation through their website, media coverage or on social media pages like LinkedIn.

By researching, you can prove to the hiring panel that you are aware of the company’s objectives and business models and later pair this knowledge with your skills and expertise to explain why this company is a suitable fit for you.

2. List your skills

Other than researching the company, you should also make sure to outline your skills and goals and how these can apply to the job role required. By understanding the job’s requirements and responsibilities, you can hone your answer by highlighting the skills and knowledge that are most relevant to the role.

Before the interview, make a list of your strongest abilities and try to match these with the job role. With a well-structured answer (more on that later), you will prove to the hiring manager that you are prepared for the interview and able to explain your motivations for applying.

3. Explain how the job aligns with your goals

You’re at this interview for a reason – to fulfil a career goal. This must be clearly communicated to the interviewer when asked the question ‘Why are you interested in this job?’.

Focus on a few things that demonstrate how the job can help you achieve your goals. For example, you may want to note how this job can advance your expertise in a certain area; how it offers you the chance to explore a new interest; or how it gives you a challenge:

‘I have been a copywriter for three years now, and it’s definitely the field I want to continue working in. I applied for this job because I believe it will give me a chance to build my skills in marketing communication. I’m ready to apply my existing writing skills to different sectors such as banner advertising and social media advertising while working in the industry that I’m interested in. I also think my past experience in writing for magazines would help me contribute greatly to this position.’

As you can see, you should elaborate on your skill set here and also use past work experiences to explain how this new role can be beneficial for you.

By being specific about the exact skills or responsibilities that attracted you to this job, you will demonstrate your passion for your career and your motivation to achieve your goals.

4. Describe what makes this job unique

This is a great opportunity to reveal how much research you’ve done about the company. As we said, interviewers want to see that you’re interested in the specific organisation. You can explain how this job benefits your career goals, and then shine a light on what attracted you to this company in the first place. It could be the company culture or values; the company’s business strategy; its growth and success; or its client base. Here’s a sample answer for you to consider:

‘I applied for a role at [company name] because your brand’s mission really stood out for me. I absolutely agree with your focus on developing cruelty-free products. As a brand ambassador for the past five years, I’ve developed strategies and overseen marketing programmes that completely adhere to a strict anti-animal testing policy, and I look forward to applying these strategies to your company.’

Select a certain quality about the company and the position and combine it with your interests, skills and beliefs to truly explain your motivation for applying. You certainly don’t want to mention the salary, holidays, or the shorter commute. Make sure you focus on company needs and factors that can help you grow your career.

5. Explain why you’re a good fit

So, you’ve mentioned why you want this particular position and explained why the company interests you. Now, it’s time to remind the interviewer how hiring you can benefit them. Explain how your skillset and past experiences can contribute to the company, what values you can apply and in what ways you can help them achieve their mission. For instance, you could say:

‘The reason I applied for this job was due to my skills and interest in learning and excelling in digital marketing. The job description appealed to me, thanks to its emphasis on mobile optimisation. With my experience in optimising site designs, site structures and page speed, I believe I can combine my critical thinking and technical knowledge to create a powerful SEO strategy for your mobile site with the latest SEO trends in mind.’

This answer not only emphasises why the job interests you, but it also highlights how your talents could benefit the company, too.

6. End your answer with a question

A great interview tip that’ll help you stand out among other candidates is to end your answer with a question. This will not only clarify any uncertainties you have, but it will also give your interviewer a good impression. A way to reply might be:

‘I’m currently looking for a role that involves more managerial tasks. Your job description stated that the candidate you will hire would manage teams of 10 to 12 people, which is something that excites me. Although I have led projects and directed a few colleagues, the company I work for now doesn’t offer a full managerial role, so the job description encouraged me to apply. Can you tell me more about the kind of projects I would be running as part of your company?’.

Adding a question at the end of your answer helps build rapport, lead to a conversation, establish a connection and most importantly, show you’re keen about this job role. So, when wrapping up your answer, throw in a question related to what you have said and let the interviewer take over again.

Interviewers are bound to ask you why you want to work for them. This common question, then, is likely to pop up in an interview, and without preparation or careful thought, you can easily be lost for words.

With our tips, however, you can answer this question confidently, make a great first impression to the hiring panel, and hopefully get through a successful interview.

Do you have any other tips on answering this interview question? Share them with us in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 19 October 2017.