Have you ever really wanted a job, but when it came time to tell the employer why, you drew a blank? If so, you’re in good company. Whether you’ve gone on one or one hundred interviews, you might still struggle with explaining why you want the job.
Ace this interview question with these key tips and example responses.
Why is the interviewer asking this question?
When an interviewer asks why you want the job, they’re generally looking to learn three things.
Whether you’re a good culture fit
This is your opportunity to show that you’ve done your research and are a good culture fit for the company. Harvard Business Review defines culture fit as “the likelihood that a candidate's values will align with those of the organization,” and in recent years, hiring managers have become increasingly concerned with hiring candidates who will fit well into the company’s culture in order to build a strong, innovative, and inclusive workforce. As a result, your answer to this question could be a deciding factor in whether you get the job.
How much you know about the company and the position
For example, a hiring manager for a beauty brand asks why you want the marketing coordinator job. You respond, I want the marketing coordinator position because I'm passionate about this brand. I've enjoyed several of your products, including the quartz rose mask, and would love to promote these products to your customers.
This response shows the employer that you have product knowledge and a personal connection to the brand, which is a useful marketing skill.
Read more: 11 Essential Items to Bring to an Interview
That you have something to offer the company
Most importantly, the interviewer wants to know that you’ll be good for business.
They want to see that you’ll bring valuable experiences and ambition to the role. For example, when the hiring manager asks why you want the account management role, you might answer: I want this job because it draws upon my expertise in account management. In my most recent job, I managed three of the company’s largest accounts and increased sales by 10 percent in each. I’m confident that I could do the same for this company.
Common mistakes to avoid
Focusing too much on what you will get from the job (instead of what you will give)
Explain why your joining the team would be mutually beneficial. It's okay to talk about how the job would benefit you, but remember to focus on the ways you can benefit the employer.
Omitting soft skills
Hard skills, like data analysis and project management, are impressive to employers, but soft skills—like communication, organization, leadership, and management—are also key. A 2017 study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management found that soft skills training increased productivity within organizations. If you leave them out of your answer, you may hurt your chances of getting the job.
Giving a generic response
Don't just say what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Provide a clear and thoughtful answer to help employers get to know the real you and understand what you can bring to the role.
Why do you want this job? Example answers
Telling an employer why you want the job is your time to shine! You get to show off your skills and knowledge of the company, express your personality, and describe why you're the best person for the job.
Use the following examples to guide you in answering this question and scoring major points with the interviewer.
I’m excited about working for a company whose mission is to save the environment. This job would allow me to make a social impact and connect with community members, all with a team that is committed to social good.
Working with your company as a data analyst would give me the chance to expand my skills in programming and machine learning. At the same time, I can bring my data visualization skills to the team to break down complex relationships between data sets and support decision making.
Based on what I read in the job description, the social media coordinator job is a great mix of project management, community engagement, and marketing, which are all areas I have experience in. Furthermore, I’d love to work for a company like yours, which embraces new ideas and values employee feedback.
As we talked about earlier in the interview, this job requires someone who enjoys working with children. In my last job as a school counselor, I gained a lot of experience helping kids succeed. This job would enable me to put my skills to use with a population I love.
I want this job because I'm excited to get back into performing arts with a company that prioritizes hands-on training for performers. I'm confident that my background in drama, theater, and filmmaking would help me promote the growth of other artists while gaining a stronger understanding of the industry.