In a job interview, you will more than likely to be asked this question.
It could be posed to you as simply ‘What attracted you to this role?’ or it could take a number of different forms including ‘Why did you apply for his role’ and ‘Why do you want this job?’.
Irrespective of how this question is asked, you will ultimately find that the interviewer is asking the same thing in each case.
What they certainly aren’t asking you about is what ‘you want’… frankly in most instances what you want doesn’t really come into the question, as far as they are concerned.
The wording of this question covers a number of areas of assessment and is intended to give the employer the opportunity to examine a few things which will be important in their decision making process, namely;
- How much you know about the job
- How dedicated you are to taking up the role
- Whether or not you understand the specifics of the role
Normally when giving interview advice we are advocates of the ‘Honesty is the best policy’ mantra. But in this case, the reason that you want the job may be so far removed from the answer that the employer is looking for, that it will often be a much better idea to modify your response accordingly.
There are many reasons why you might want this job including; the money, the hours, you fact that you hate your current job, you don’t get along with your current boss etc. But the problem with all of these answers is that they don’t tell the employer, why you deserve the job. Here are a few tips and advice that should help you to do just that.
It can be very useful to put the role in the context of your career. Explain to the employer how this role follows on from your previous role and is a natural step in the direction you would like your career to go.
If the role represents a significant career change for you, it is particularly important than you give credibility to your application. Explain to the employer the reason for your deviation from your previous career trajectory, and how this new role fits into your plans for the future.
By contextualising the role in this way you show that you have a good understanding of what it entails, its place within the industry, and the opportunities for future development.
Praise the company
However be careful, as unless you really know what you are talking about, there is a danger that your praise could come across as being insincere. This is why it is important that you do your homework well and have genuine reasons in mind why you would like to work for them.
Be specific as this will demonstrate that you have a good solid idea of how the company works and will make you stand out from any other candidates who give vague, and wishy-washy answers.
This is an excellent opportunity for you to flip the question around and tell the interviewer how you think that you could make a positive and lasting influence on the business, subtly pointing out all the reasons that you should be given the job over the other candidates.
This achieves a number of objectives;
- It tells the interviewer that you understand the ins and outs of the role
- It demonstrates that you will not get bored with the role, since you find some aspects of it challenging.
- It shows that you are someone who enjoys the challenging aspects of the job.
Of course be careful that you do not over-emphasize the challenging aspects of the role since this might suggest to the employer that you are not qualified or experienced enough to be successful in the job.
Use the job specification
As we have already said, this question is more about finding out about you as an employee, than it is about finding out what you are looking for in a job. It is a roundabout way of asking, why you, rather than all the other candidates in the process, deserve to be given the role.
The key duties of the role will be outlined in the job specification, and in order to eloquently and accurately display a knowledge of the requirements, you should work closely from this job specification.
Demonstrating a detailed knowledge of what the job entails, will help to put the employers minds at rest, that you know what the role entails and that you will be able to effectively undertake all that is required of you.
This question is one that needs to be navigated very carefully since there is often the temptation to give reasons, which whilst innocently intended, actually reflect negatively on you as an employee.
- Do not cite the salary as a main reason for your application. By all means, let them know that you welcome an increase in salary, but never give this as a main reason for your interest, as this may suggest that you are a fickle and venal person.
- Do not say anything negative about your previous (or current) employer since this will suggest that you are a confrontational person and not someone who is able to work well as a member of a team.
- Try to avoid saying anything negative about your previous or current job. Put a positive spin on things, regardless of how strong your negative feelings are towards them. Negativity in a job interview can be viewed as inappropriate and at worst suggest to an employer that you will be a difficult employee to manage.
Hopefully you have found our advice useful. Why not take a look at some of these recent interview posts.
How to handle unusual interview questions
Top ten worst interview questions ever