One of the most common questions you’ll receive in almost every interview is, why are you interested in this position? 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
How to form your answer
Form your answer by studying the job description. Make sure you understand what they’re 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. After that, match your previous experience and future plans to the role. And above all, highlight your connection and passion for the role—this is your biggest selling point.
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?
As you develop your response to this 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.
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 that add value to the organization. Remember to articulate what you bring to the table.
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.
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 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.
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?