Guest Author: Jenna Allcock
‘ So, tell me, why do you want this job?’
It seems like such a simple and innocuous question doesn’t it? But it’s one that can be surprisingly tricky to answer!
Since it’s something that virtually all prospective employers will ask you- either in interview or on an application form- it’s worth preparing a great answer to have up your sleeve.
While ‘Why do you want this job?’ may look like one question, don’t be fooled! It is, in fact, three mini-questions rolled into one. Namely: ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’, ‘Why do you want this role?’ and ‘What makes you a good fit?’. You’ll need to answer all three parts to impress, so let’s go through how to tackle each in turn.
1. Why do you want to work for this company?
This is potentially the easiest part of the question to answer- it’s all a matter of doing your research.
A great place to start is of course the company website; look at what the company does, how they do it and who they work with.
To differentiate yourself from other candidates however, you’ll need to go beyond these fundamental facts. You must be able to talk about the company’s culture, ethos and mission, their competitors, their recent achievements and challenges etc. Try to include aspects which you think other candidates won’t research/mention.
While research is key, be careful not to regurgitate what you’ve read. Make sure you put everything in your own words; you have to make it seem natural and honest.
For instance, if the company’s website states its culture as ‘dynamic and progressive’ you might want say something like ‘I’m really attracted to the fact that the company is constantly perfecting what it does and how it does it’ rather than simply ‘I like the dynamic and progressive nature of the company.’
2. Why do you want this role?
When asked why you want a job, you must talk about the role itself, as well as the company.
Again, a good answer lies in good research. Look at the job description and get your hands on as much information about the role as you can! Look for any blogs/videos/interviews that give you more information about what you would be doing.
As a rule, steer clear from answers to do with salary, bonuses or holiday allowance- they imply that you are interested in the extras that come with the role, rather than the role itself! Likewise, stay well away from any answer that implies you need a job rather than want their job. Responses such ‘I’ve been looking for a graduate role in marketing for over a year now’ doesn’t answer the question about why you want this role. Employers want to hear that only have eyes for them!
Instead, keep things specific and focus on the tasks and responsibilities of the role being offered. Pick out a few that you like and offer genuine reasons why they appeal to you. Perhaps the role offers an opportunity to speak to clients, which is something you really enjoy, or maybe you’re really impressed by the level of training that comes with the position.
Whatever you say, say it naturally and don’t just repeat the job description back ‘parrot style’. Also make sure your body language is displaying your enthusiasm for the role; sit up straight, adopt a lively tone and use hand gestures.
3. What makes you a good fit for this company/this role?
This final part within the question ‘Why do you want this job?’ is the least obvious of the three, but arguably the most important. It turns an average response into a winning one!
While it seems like a question in which you should talk about your wants and your ambitions- ‘Why do you want this job?’ is in fact a bit of a trick question.
You must never forget your interview is your sales pitch and, as such, you need to sell yourself at every available opportunity! So rather than simply saying ‘I like this about the company’ or ‘I like this about the role’ ALWAYS relate what you’re saying to why your skills/experience make you the perfect fit and use examples as evidence to back up your claims.
For instance, when describing why you want a role you might say:
‘I’m attracted to this role because it involves analysing and solving problems, which is something I’m really comfortable doing and enjoy. During my internship with Company X last summer, I was asked to analyse the computer software being used and find ways to improve it. I identified several problems and managed to successfully fix them. My improvements meant that the software worked more efficiently, which increased office productivity by around 10%. It’s solving problems like these which really gives me satisfaction at work.’
Jenna is the marketing and branding assistant at GradTouch. GradTouch are a young and ambitious team of recent graduates helping students and graduates get passionate about their future! Check them out here.