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  1. Blog
  2. Interviewing
  3. October 14, 2020 (Updated November 22, 2021)

How to Answer: Why Are You Interested in This Position?

I want the job!

Young woman staring at camera ready to tell her interviewer why she is interested in the position
Image courtesy of Etty Fidele

One of the most common questions you’ll receive in almost every interview is, why are you interested in this position?

The answers could range from Because it's my dream job! to I'll take anything to get out of what I'm doing now... So what should you say about why you want the job? 

Typically, the interviewer wants to know four main things when they ask this question. 

  • That you’re passionate about this role

  • How your previous experience aligns with this position

  • That this role fits into your career goals

  • What unique value your bring to the company

While a million possible answers might pop into your head (or zero if you get nervous in interviews), here's how to approach telling your new potential boss why you're interested in being their next (best!) employee. 

How to form your answer to the "why are you interested?" question

The clues to a great answer to why you want the job can be found by studying the job description. Using that, here are four steps to nailing the answer: 

  • Make sure you understand what the hiring company is looking for in a candidate and what the responsibilities of the role are.
  • Outline any responsibilities you’ve had that correspond to the duties and requirements they listed.
  • Match your previous experience and future plans to the role.
  • Above all, highlight your connection and passion for the position—this is your biggest selling point. 

Example answers that show why you're interested 

Applying those tips, here are a few example answers showing your interest and why you're a great match for the position. Notice the key words and phrases used, pulled from the job description, and how the applicants' experience is compared to the job they're applying for. 

Example 1: customer success manager

In my previous role, I worked in customer success and account management where I was the trusted advisor for all clients and organizations. I led all client onboardings, implementation of internal trainings and operations, and worked in collaboration with the product team to improve the product and client experience. My experience working in fast-paced environments gave me the adaptability to work through any situation, develop relationships, build trust with clients, and have empathy and compassion while working with different types of people. I’d love to take what I’ve learned a step further and begin to teach others how to drive customer loyalty and deliver business value. This is what has prepared me to be a great manager and why I was so excited to apply to this position. 

Example 2: graphic designer

My passion is being able to bring someone’s vision to life. I’ve worked with over 40 brands and have had three years of experience in graphic design, photography, and social media. With my background, I not only understand the importance of visual execution and brand identity, but also how all assets need to be adapted to each platform to make an impact and hit company goals. I was eager to apply to this position because it’s unique combination of social media and graphic design would allow me to use all of my skills. I’m extremely proactive when it comes to developing creative solutions and am excited about the opportunity to support such a dynamic team. 

Read more: Do You Need an Interview Coach?

Mistakes to avoid when answering "why are you interested in this position?"

Whether you're nervous or not in job interviews, anyone can get tripped up and say something they don't exactly mean or don't mean to say in that moment. A little practice before the interview can get you ready to give the best answers possible. As you prep and develop your response to the "why are you interested" question, make sure to avoid these key mistakes. 

1. Don’t mention your interest in another department or position

For example, you may want to enter into a customer success role and use it as a stepping stone to eventually transition into product management, but the company doesn’t need to know that. The recruiter and hiring manager want to know your commitment to the role you applied for. If you tell them about other interests (or future goals outside this role), you’ll lessen your chances of moving forward. Keep your answers tied to the position you're interviewing for. 

Read more: How to Answer, "Do You Want to Tell Us Anything Else About You?"

2. Don’t just focus on how you’ll benefit from the role

Instead, focus on how they can benefit from hiring you. Many candidates make the mistake of mentioning how much they’d love to learn from a role and what being in the role will teach them. As much as companies want to invest in their employees, they also want to hire people who add value to the organization. Remember to articulate what you bring to the table. And don't sell yourself short - this is the time to talk about what you can deliver. 

3. Don’t bring up experience that isn’t relevant to the position

One goal of this question is to see how well you align with the role. Bring up past experience that matches the job description to show them you’re the right fit. That's why practicing this answer is so helpful - you can make sure you hit all the key skills they're looking for. Give yourself prep time to think of examples where you excelled at a task you'll be doing in this new role. 

4. Don’t tell an interviewer you’re still trying to figure out what you’re looking for 

...And that you’re using this as a way to do so. We’re all trying to figure out more about ourselves every day, but this is not something you need to mention in an interview. If you vocalize your lack of confidence in yourself and tell them you don’t know what you want, they won’t have the confidence to hire you. 

They typically want someone who will stay in the job for a while - even make it their own and potentially grow their responsibility over time. But the first step is to solve their problem of filling this position with a quality candidate. And that's what you're there to show them you can do. 

Overall, the most important factors in your response are confidence, clarity, and enthusiasm. As long as you’re positive, eager, and show you’re capable of handling the role, you have a good chance of moving forward to the next round. 

Read more: Does College Count as Job Experience?

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Cynthia Orduña

Contributor

Cynthia Orduña is a career coach and talent development advisor with a background in recruiting, career development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has helped 50+ startup companies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago recruit and retain talent and has coached more than 300 people in all stages of their careers. Her life mission is to amplify as many voices, cultures, and backgrounds as she can by helping people develop themselves personally and professionally.

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