Often candidates make the mistake of providing a simplistic answer for one of the most common asked interview questions, “Why do you want this job?” For instance, some candidates may respond with, “I want a new challenge” or “because you seem like a good company to work for”. But these are answers that the interviewer has heard many times before, so something generic will most likely lower your chances of getting shortlisted. They want to know why you want this job at this company and, why you are here at this interview today.
Your answer needs to reassure your potential employer that you are passionate, engaged and enthusiastic to do great things for the company. Hiring new people takes time and money, so when they ask you ‘why you want this job’, take this as an opportunity to prove that you are the right candidate. Here’s how to successfully structure your answer:
1. Show your passion for the role and the company
People who are most passionate about the company they work for are usually the ones that stand out from the crowd; they aim to achieve the highest success for the organisation as well as for themselves.
- Discuss how the value of the company align with yours
- Mention which services and products excite you the most
- Give examples of recent achievements of the company that particularly stood out to you
Whether you have been following the brand for a long time, or not heard of the company until you came across this opportunity, it’s still important to communicate your passion and enthusiasm within your answer.
When the interviewer is listening to your response, they want to feel confident that not only are you interested in the role but that you will also enjoy it. Show this by highlighting which key areas of the job description attracted you to apply in the first place.
2. Show your ambition
Your potential employer also wants to hire someone who will not only add value to the team today but also in the long-term. They will look for someone with ambition and who wants to continuously develop and achieve a successful career.
When answering this part of the question, explain:
- how you want to grow your skills,
- how this role will help you do this and;
- outline why you want to progress your career in this particular organisation.
The key, however, is not to oversell this part. Find a balance of showing your ambition, but while at the same time, not over-doing it that it implies to the employer that you’re using the role as a stepping stone. Which leads into the final point…
3. Show your appreciation for the opportunity
Last but not least, finish by thanking them for being asked to interview and showcase your suitability for the role.
Put your thoughts into practice: The perfect answer
Below is an example of a strong answer using the above structure given by a marketing executive interviewing for a position in the cyber security industry:
“Cyber security is such an important, ever growing and ever changing industry. It’s an industry I’ve grown to be very passionate about over the years, and during this time, I have paid close attention to XXX as a pioneering market leader. I know that you provide robust, pre-emptive solutions and I read your industry commentary with interest regularly. Needless to say I was very excited when I saw you were hiring for this position.
When I initially read the job description for the role, one of the things that particularly appealed to me was that it has a strong social media focus, which is perfectly suited to my strengths. Whilst social media marketing is my strongest skill, I am aware that as a profession it is always evolving and I will need to continuously develop my expertise. Working for a forward thinking market leader such as XXX, with a sophisticated and strong social media strategy, will allow me to learn from the experts, keep my finger on the pulse and progress to my full potential using the learning and career opportunities available.
To sum up, this role and company is well suited to my interests, skillset and ambitions, and I am very pleased to be interviewing for this opportunity.”
Providing an answer which includes the above elements will massively impress the employer and will enable them to see your potential. Remember, they will hear similar responses from other candidates throughout the process. But, if you can take a more personal, well thought out approach to your answer, you will set yourself apart and potentially be shortlisted as the preferred candidate.
To find out more, or to discuss your employment needs, please contact your local consultant.
About this author
After a career in professional cricket Andrew joined Hays in London in 1987 as a trainee consultant within the Construction & Property business. He rose to the position of Managing Director of that business in the UK, a position he held until 2011.
Andrew was then appointed Regional Managing Director of the North West Region of Hays UK, responsible for 21 different businesses. This region has been one of the most consistently successful in the UK, in terms of both fee and profit growth. He has also retained responsibility nationally for the Construction & Property business and has both the national Finance and Education leads reporting into him. In 2017 he was also appointed Regional Managing Director of Hays Scotland, alongside his other responsibilities.