How to answer, 'Why do you want this job?' in an interview

7 min read | Maureen Lynch | Article | Job searching Accepting a job offer Interview advice

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Find advice on answering the interview question, “Why do you want this job?” from Maureen Lynch, operations director for Hays Ireland.  

“Why do you want this job?” Candidates often make the mistake of providing a generic, simple answer for one of the most commonly asked interview questions. For instance, some candidates may respond with, “I want a new challenge” or, “because you seem like a good company to work for”. These are answers the interviewer has heard numerous times before. The interviewer wants to know why you want this job at this company and why you are here at this interview today. 

Hiring new people takes time and money, so when they ask you, ‘why do you want this job?’, take this as an opportunity to prove you’re the right candidate. 


Interview preparation at a glance 

In this blog, you’ll learn how to successfully structure the important interview question, “Why do you want this job?”: 

  1. Highlight your passion for the role and the company 
  2. Show your ambition 
  3. Show your appreciation for the opportunity 

‘If you can take a more personal, well-thought-out approach to your answer, you will set yourself apart and potentially be shortlisted as the preferred candidate.’ 


Here’s how to successfully structure your answer: 

1. Highlight your passion for the role and the company 

People who are most passionate about the company they work for are usually the ones that stand out from the crowd; they aim to achieve the highest success for the organisation as well as for themselves. 

  • Discuss how the value of the company align with yours 
  • Mention which services and products excite you the most 
  • Give examples of recent achievements of the company that particularly stood out to you 

When the interviewer is listening to your response, you want them to feel confident that, not only are you interested in the role, but that you will also enjoy it. Show this by highlighting which key areas of the job description attracted you to apply in the first place. 


2. Show your ambition 

Your potential employer wants to hire someone who will not only add value to the team today, but in the long-term also. They will look for someone with ambition and who wants to continuously develop and achieve a successful career. When answering this part of the question, explain: 

  • How you want to grow your skills 
  • How this role will help you do this 
  • Why you want to progress your career in this particular organisation 

The key, however, is not to oversell this part. Find a balance of showing your ambition, while, at the same time, not over-doing it, as it may come across that you’re using the role as a steppingstone. Which leads to the final point… 


3. Show your appreciation for the opportunity 

Last but not least, finish by thanking them for inviting you to the interview and for the chance to showcase your suitability for the role. 

Put your thoughts into practice. Below is an example of a strong answer using the above structure given by a marketing executive interviewing for a position in the cyber security industry: 

“Cyber security is such an important, ever-growing and ever-changing industry. It’s an industry I’ve grown to be very passionate about over the years, and during this time, I have paid close attention to [employer’s name] as a pioneering market leader. I know that you provide robust, pre-emptive solutions and I read your industry commentary with interest regularly. Needless to say, I was very excited when I saw you were hiring for this position. 

When I initially read the job description for the role, one of the things that particularly appealed to me was that it has a strong social media focus, which is perfectly suited to my strengths. While social media marketing is my strongest skill, I am aware that as a profession it is always evolving, and I will need to continuously develop my expertise. Working for a forward-thinking market leader such as you, with a sophisticated and strong social media strategy, will allow me to learn from the experts, keep my finger on the pulse and progress to my full potential using the learning and career opportunities available. 

To sum up, this role and company are well suited to my interests, skillset and ambitions, and I am very pleased to be interviewing for this opportunity.” 

Providing an answer that includes the above elements will impress the employer and enable them to see your potential.  


What you need to remember about answering, “Why do you want this job?” 

It is important to remember, they will hear similar responses from other candidates throughout the process. But, if you can take a more personal, well-thought-out approach to your answer, you will set yourself apart and potentially be shortlisted as the preferred candidate. 


About this author

Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland

Maureen Lynch is the operations director for Ireland. Having joined Hays in 2000, Maureen has extensive experience partnering with organisations, in areas including accountancy and finance, technology, procurement, HR, and life sciences, to find the best talent from unparalleled talent networks. She also provides professionals with personalised services to ensure they are able to achieve their career goals.  

Contact Maureen today to find out more about how she can provide expert career advice and workforce solutions to match your interests, aspirations, and needs. 

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