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Interview Question: "Why Are You Interested in This Position?"

May 29, 2020

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Employers usually ask job applicants a variety of interview questions, many of which require more than a yes or no answer. These sort of questions allow employers to assess your ability to answer honestly and quickly. One open-ended question you can expect is “Why are you interested in this position?” Your answer will help the employer determine your excitement about the opportunity and the motivations that led you to pursue the job.

To answer this question, focus on the position for which you are interviewing. Aim to discuss the opportunities you see with the new job rather than voicing concerns with your current position or company. Positively framing the conversation will communicate confidence and professionalism.

Some other ways employers may ask this question include:

  • “Why are you interested in this role?”
  • “What made you interested in applying for this position?”
  • “Describe why you are interested in this position.”

All varieties of this question require a similar response. In this article, we discuss the best ways to answer this question with examples.

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Why do employers ask “Why are you interested in this job?”

Interviewers are typically trying to get answers for four core questions when they ask “Why do you want this job?” including the following:

  • Do you understand the position you’re applying for?
  • Are you enthusiastic about the position?
  • Do your goals and experience align with the role?
  • Will you positively contribute to the company?

Many interviewees address the first three questions, but it is easy to overlook the fourth. Remember that employers value candidates who aim to meaningfully contribute to company goals while also advancing their own career.

Related: Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

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How to answer “Why are you interested in this role?”

While you should certainly craft an answer to this question that addresses your unique skills and qualities as it relates to the position, there are several general steps you can take as you prepare before the interview:

1. Research the position

Thinking about this question prior to the interview will enable you to quickly answer the hiring manager, demonstrating professionalism and preparedness. To develop a response, you must first understand the responsibilities of the position. Thoroughly reviewing the job description before the interview is a good idea. Are you going to interact with customers? Will you be responsible for accounting-related tasks? This knowledge is essential to properly communicate your motivations for pursuing the role and to understand which of your qualifications are most relevant.

For example, if you’re applying to an accounting position, your responsibilities might include:

  • Counting and managing inventory
  • Ordering supplies
  • Uploading inventory invoices
  • Reconciling invoices
  • Communicating with vendors

This information tells you which professional skills to highlight in your answer. With the above example, you could respond with an answer such as:

“I want this job because I am looking for an opportunity that lets me exercise my skill with numbers and eye for detail. I feel this position will allow me to succeed because my interpersonal skills help me establish meaningful relationships with vendors, and my experience with accounting software allows me to confidently manage invoices and inventory databases.”

An answer with keywords from the job description like this one will communicate your motivations for applying and your relevant qualifications.

2. Research the company

In addition to reading the job description, be sure to learn about the company you’re interviewing for. If you show the interviewer that you researched the company and its business model, you demonstrate a specific interest in the position.

Here are good places to start:

  • The company website: Begin with the “About Us” page, and look for company press releases, blogs or social media profiles.

  • Outside media coverage: Find recent news stories or press releases related to the organization.

  • Personal networks: Consider reaching out to your own connections to learn about the company culture and inner workings.

For more advice on this topic, visit our Complete Guide to Researching a Company.

3. Structure your answer

After you’ve done research on the company and job description as it relates to your background, condense and structure your answer. While you can certainly write down your answer for practice, you should be prepared to respond without information in front of you. Instead of memorizing it, remember a couple of key points you want to address.

To prepare your answer, consider addressing the following three pieces of information in your answer:

  • How is this position going to help you advance in your career?
  • How does the position align with your future goals?
  • What is unique about this job?
  • What makes you an especially good fit for this company or role?

Your answer should show that you took the time to thoroughly read the job description and reflected on whether the position was honestly a good fit for you now and in the future. Finally, it indicates that you’re interested in that specific opportunity as opposed to other similar roles.

4. End your answer with a question

A great way to stand out from other job applicants is to end your answer with a related question for the interviewer. Ending your answer with a question creates a two-way dialogue, making the interview more conversational. Plus, it shows that you’re willing to ask questions when you need more clarity.

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“Why are you interested in this role?” example answers

For inspiration as you craft your own answer, here are a few example answers following the above steps:

Example 1: Marketing manager

“I’ve enjoyed the past 15 years with my current employer, but I’m ready to take on a role that requires more leadership. While I manage five teams consisting of 10 employees each, I noticed that this job would require me to manage at five teams of 20 employees—a challenge I’m excited to take on. Would you tell me more about the various types of teams you need someone to put together?”

Example 2: Business Analyst

“While I highly valued my time at my previous company, there are no longer opportunities for growth that align with my career goals. This position fits perfectly with my skill set and how I’m looking to grow in my career. I’m also looking for a position at a company like yours that supports underserved communities, which is a personal passion of mine. Can you tell me more about how the company creates growth opportunities for people who work here?”

Example 3: Architect

“While I do enjoy working on small-scale residential projects in my current role, this position allows me to use my technical expertise for more large projects with higher impact. I’m eager to combine my artistic talents with my technical skills to create designs for an industry leader like Cloud Clearwater. Can you tell me more about what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate for this position?”

Knowing your answer to “Why do you want this position?” allows you to enter the interview calmly. If you properly prepare, you’ll also feel ready for other possible questions, such as “What do you know about this position?” and “What do you expect to gain by being an employee at this company?”

Read more: 12 Tough Interview Questions and Answers

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