How To Answer Why Are You Interested In This Position
The resume gives Human Resources an idea of what you can do; if you have the necessary skills to qualify for the open position in the company. Job applicants who fit the bill move on to become job candidates and are invited to an interview by the Hiring Manager.
The interview is a big step in landing the job you want because it’s where the company learns more about you. The Hiring Manager will ask you a number of compelling questions that aren’t answerable by “Yes” or “No”.
He wants detailed, well-structured, and purposeful answers to questions that have been developed to help HR find the right candidate for the position.
One of these key questions is, “Why are you interested in this position?”
Why Do Hiring Managers Ask “Why Are You Interested In This Position?”
The answer to the question might seem obvious but that’s where mistakes happen.
After exchanging pleasantries to get you situated, a Hiring Manager might lead off the formal interview by asking why you’re interested in the position the company is offering.
The first mistake a job interviewee can make is to give a generalized answer such as:
- “I know I can do a good job.”
- “The job description fits my work experience.”
- “I like your company because it’s big and successful.”
The second mistake is assuming the question is just an ice-breaker and becoming honest to a fault:
- “I heard your company offers the best compensation package.”
- “The office is close to where I live.”
- “Your company was the only one that invited me to an interview.”
Put yourself in the lenses of the Hiring Manager. What answers would impress you enough to consider hiring a person with your skills, knowledge, experience, and attitudes?
When you’re asked this question, the Hiring Manager wants to learn these things about you:
- How do your skills, knowledge, experience, and attitudes align with the company’s goals?
- Why are leaving your current company to work for us?
- How well do you know the role of the position and its duties and responsibilities?
- How much do you want to work for our company?
- What types of contributions can you make to our company?
A third mistake job interviewees make is to think this question is similar to “Tell me about yourself”.
The question of “Why are you interested in this position?” is more specific to the job you’re applying for. In comparison, “Tell me about yourself” is asked to give the job interviewer insights on who you are as a person and how your character fits into the organization.
How To Answer “Why Are You Interested In This Position?”
You all have different reasons and motivations for applying to a certain job. Similarly, everyone has unique skill sets and experience levels that determine their qualifications for the position.
Therefore, everyone’s answer will be different and that’s what the Hiring Manager expects to hear from the job candidates. And the difference lies in the details – the bits of information that make your response unique to your skills and experience.
HR professionals have heard it all before. You can’t help if your answer might sound similar to someone else’s. What irks job interviewers the most are cookie-cutter answers that sound like they came out of an assembly line.
Some job interviewees give safe, highly-generalized answers that they believe are what the Hiring Manager wants to hear. These answers are intended to keep them in the safe zone – not win them the job outright!
Here are our tips on how to make your response to “Why are you interested in this position” become top of the Hiring Manager’s mind:
Highlight Your Skills
The Hiring Manager’s attention span will be at its highest during the first few seconds of your answer. You can expect his focus to be zoned in on your initial statement.
You can’t go wrong by leading off your answer with your most relevant skills – the technical qualifications that validate your decision to apply for this position. Yes, the Hiring Manager is aware you’re qualified. He read it on your resume and your summary of skills and experiences is probably what got you the interview.
But hearing about your skills and other qualifications is different from reading about them:
Align With the Company’s Values
Hard skills or the skills that are acquired through formal education, specialized training, and practical experience remain important considerations when recruiters are selecting candidates for open positions.
However, the last few years have seen a noticeable shift in the HR landscape as more companies have given equal if not, greater priority to soft skills as the key consideration when qualifying new employees.
Soft skills refer to your most identifiable behavioral or personality attributes. They define the specific attitudes that influence your decision-making in life and work. Companies prefer to hire candidates whose values are aligned with their own.
That’s why the webpage that highlights a company’s core values is one of the most important sources of information. “Core values” and “Mission Vision” are no longer empty words. These words have meaning, purpose, and help chart the course for the company’s direction moving forward.
An effective way to hook the Hiring Manager is by giving an answer that shows your values are aligned with the company’s values:
“Years ago, I came across this report that your company allocated 20% of its net profits to projects that sought to improve the availability and quality of education to the marginalized sectors of the city. From high school throughout college, ‘education for all’ has been my advocacy and I’ve been involved in several activities from volunteer work to raising funds to support education in impoverished districts. Your company page states your core values as “Generosity”, “Equality”, and “Altruism”. I’m interested in this position because I subscribe to those same values. I’m inspired to contribute to the continued success of your company in order to further my advocacy.”
Talk About Career Growth
Can you talk about your current/previous/most recent employer? Yes, but the rule is to remain respectful and professional when describing your previous work.
The Hiring Manager understands that there are situations where the relationship with the former company is contentious. However, talking negatively about your most recent employer won’t do your job search prospects any favors.
You can talk about career growth and the lack of opportunities for promotion as reasons for leaving your previous employer and applying for the position offered by the company.
Here’s a good way to combine career growth with your interest in the new position:
“I’m interested in this position because I know that your company is growing and looking for talented people to manage key roles in the current expansion program. I worked for AE Smith Financial Consultants for 5 years as a Technical Analyst. While I learned a lot from AE Smith and greatly value my time there, the company runs a family-centered system of management and has a limited scope succession planning program. There aren’t many opportunities for vertical or horizontal promotion. I want to build a career as an analyst in the equities market and I’m hopeful that my skills and experience will merit your consideration.”
Share a Story
Who doesn’t love a good story? Hiring managers certainly enjoy hearing snippets of a candidate’s life during an interview. By sharing a story or an episode of your life, you’re giving the Hiring Manager a glimpse of who you are as a person.
If there is a connection between the job applied for and an experience in the past, it would be a good idea to share it as a response when the Hiring Manager asks you why you’re interested in landing the position in the company.
“My Dad was a Project Manager for a construction company. As a kid, he’d bring me to some of the sites he was working at and show me how buildings are built from the bottom up. Those were wonderful bonding moments with my Dad that also started my interest as an Architect because I became fascinated by the construction process. I’m interested in the position of Lead Architect because I’m confident that my skills and experiences can immediately contribute to the success of your company’s projects.”
Organize the Key Points In Your Answer
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect” and it’s always a good idea to practice your answers to questions the Hiring Manager will ask before your scheduled interview.
But you don’t have to be perfect to give the right response. All you have to do is to articulate your reasons for being interested in the position offered by the company. And you can do this by organizing the key points in your answer.
“I’m interested in working for YYZ Manufacturing not only because I have the skills required for the position but I’ve long admired the level of professionalism your organization has shown over the last few decades. In fact, I took up Industrial Engineering at the University of California because it was my dream to work for your company and contribute to the design of processes that reduce wastage and increase efficiency. Your company has long supported programs for a green environment which is very important to me. The 3 years I spent working for AED Engineering helped me gain the necessary experience and acquire my PMP and CME certifications.”
If you noticed, our final tip “Organize the Key Points in Your Answer” summarizes the 4 earlier tips. You can structure your response this way and check all of the boxes on the Hiring Manager’s list.
The important thing to keep in mind is to take the interview seriously. Getting invited to one is surely a win but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be hired by the company.
Research about the company, write down a list of possible questions and your answers to each one of them, and practice as much as time allows. Practice to a point that your answers roll out naturally.
After all, if you really are interested in the position, you should be willing to put in extra work to improve your chances of getting hired by the company.
Discover other job interview questions and how to answer them
- How to answer tell me about yourself
- How to answer what are your weaknesses
- How to answer why do you want to work here
- How to answer salary expectations
- How to answer why should we hire you
- How to answer what is your greatest weakness
- How to answer what are your strengths
- How to answer behavioral interview questions
- How to answer what makes you unique
- How to answer what areas need improvement