Why are you interested in this job? In our company?

I have been digging deep into how to answer specific interview questions. Tell me about yourself and Why should we hire you? are definitely worth a read if this subject is of interest to you.

Next: “Why do you want this job?” “Why are you interested in this job?” “Why us?”

Good questions. Why are you?

Alas, so many job seekers have trouble answering this question because their presence in this interview is a result of three reasons:

  1. A desire to have a new job (fair enough)
  2. Broadcasting their resume to as many possibly postings as possible
  3. And being lucky enough to get called in for an interview.

No wonder interviewers are looking for some assurance that you at least remember their company name and the business they are in.

First, if you are really shot gunning your resume, you will be lucky to get any interviews. Let’s assume that through one means or another – postings, recruiters, networks, you have an interview.

How should you answer this question?

Having good reasons shouldn’t be about telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear. This is a double-edged requirement. At some point in the process, you need to demonstrate “why them.” However, if you are going to make a sound decision, you better be clear in your mind about why indeed you are interested.

Here are some categories of responses to consider:

Opportunity: Let’s face it. This is a powerful motivator. Opportunity on a small scale might simply mean landing a job so you can get paid. On a larger scale, and more attractive to the hiring company, it might be about your recognition that the company is doing something exciting and important and you want to be a part of it.

Career Fit: One set of reasons would have something to do about the logical or your desired next steps in your career. This opportunity might represent an entry point for a new direction in your career, or the next logical step in your already established career. A lot of candidates talk about what they want to acquire from the job – skills, knowledge and experience. Okay. What if you could APPLY what you have learned and experienced before into this job? What if one of your reasons was that this job, and the requirements asked for, presents an opportunity to bring those things together? Wouldn’t that be a powerful reason?

Cultural Fit: If you know or sense a strong fit from a cultural / style perspective, that is a plus and worth stating. Of course, if the interviewer doesn’t see the fit, it doesn’t matter, but fit is often the deciding factor in who gets hired.

Interest: What is it about this particular company that draws you to them? Their reputation? The way they do business? The quality of their people? A strategy that they are pursuing? You need to be able to apply some of your reasons to this specific company.

Personal Value Proposition Fit: This is where it comes together. Your personal value proposition – what you bring to the table, then applied to a specific opportunity can be a powerful thing. Yes, it is a combination of some of the reasons above, but it is integrated, and on purpose. The candidate who knows

You Can Be Successful: You never want to take a job where you can’t be successful. When you sense that based on the role description, the mandate and all those other factors, you can succeed in this job, this seems to me to be a powerful reason. Interviewers aren’t interested in people who can’t be successful

Timing Of course, at the early interview stage, you may not be interested yet. You may be investigating them, just as they are investigating you. Not only is that fine, it is healthy. In this case, you can respond with statements like, “From what I have seen so far…” and “Based on my research so far…” and leave the impression that a) you wouldn’t waste your time or theirs if there weren’t real interest, but b) you are still in the courtship phase. If you really have something to offer this company, they will be fine with that, for now.

As long as your interest escalates as the hiring process proceeds. The hiring manager will understand if you have multiple opportunities and are carefully weighing your options. However, there is a point in the process where “hard to get” is not a good idea. To really seal the deal, you should think about demonstrating your escalating interest and explaining why them in a convincing way.

Demonstrating Your Interest Words are great. You can go further by demonstrating your interest. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

  • Non-verbal communication (body language, tone of voice, etc.)
  • The quality of your follow-ups (thank-you letters, phone calls, etc.)
  • Doing your industry and company homework
  • Asking to talk to more people in the company
  • Asking great questions
  • Further networking in the industry
  • Perhaps thinking more about the role requirement and coming up with a preliminary plan on how you would tackle the job
  • and others.

Do you see where I am going with this?

This is all about job search on purpose. The more targeted you can be about your search, the more likely you are to do well at the interview stage.

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