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How to answer the ‘why do you want this job?’ question

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Published: 15 September 2021

Student being interviewed

You’ve been shortlisted for a job, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for the most common next step – the interview.

There are plenty of questions you could be asked at this stage in the application process, but the truth is there are few that almost always come up.

That’s why it’s so important to prepare your answers to the most asked things.

For example, ‘why do you want this job’? You’ll find the question, or something that looks similar, turn up early in the interview.

It might sound like an easy one to answer, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a good idea to think through why the question is being asked and have a great answer prepared.

What the interviewer is looking for

There are few reasons this is a common question. They might be hoping you show real passion about the role and the company, for example.

Equally, they could be testing how well your values match those of the business. Do you want the same things as the wider company? That would show you’d fit in well with the team.

Are you customer-focused? Whether the company sells products, services or anything else, every business has customers. This question is a chance to show you have an actual desire to serve them.

How to answer it

The trick with the question is to show you have a passion for this job in that company specifically.

So you can’t just use the same answer for every interview you get, you need to adapt it to the role you’re applying for.

See it from their perspective

Think about what the hiring manager would like in their ideal candidate.

Are they looking for an experienced person with no interest in the actual role, or a motivated candidate who loves the company and is eager to learn?

Skills can be taught; motivation must come from you. Show off that you really care about the role and the company.

Be as genuine as you can though. People can always tell when you’re making it up.

Talk about the role specifically

Another way to look at it is that you need to show you care about this specific role.

Say you’re applying to be a data analyst at Google, they expect you to talk about what made you apply for the specific role, not just that you want to work in the company.

Make it long-lasting

Another tip is to show the hiring manager that the role is right for you in the long term. Unless it’s temporary work, they’re not going to be looking for someone who wants to get the job done and leave.

They need to know that the continued growth and development of the position will keep you excited and engaged in the long term.

Proving this shows you’re a reliable and stable choice they can trust.

However you plan on answering the question ‘why do you want this job?’, make sure you speak with passion and honesty.

The more research you do for the role, the more you’re likely to find reasons it's the perfect fit for you.

So get to work and good luck!

Whatever you decide to do with your future, the University of Sunderland in London Careers and Employability Service is here to help.

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass.

Alternatively, email out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.