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Why Are You Applying For This Position: The Answers

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Hiring Managers Want to Know What You Like About the Company

A commonly-asked interview question is “Why are you applying for this position?” The hiring manager is trying to ascertain what your motivations are to help determine whether you’re qualified and will be a good fit for the position. The way you answer tells the hiring manager what elements of a job are most important to you from a professional standpoint.

Enthusiastic Response

An enthusiastic response to this question should be based on unusual, interesting or exciting things happening with the company. By aligning yourself in this way, you demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and highlight how you see yourself fitting into the corporate climate. Examples:

  • “The company has been named one of the best places to work in the city for the past five years. I want to be part of a team that strives for excellence.”
  • “This company is currently seen as a national leader in healthcare innovation. As a healthcare professional, I’m excited about the prospect of being involved in new practices and cutting-edge clinical trials.”
  • “You have a reputation for being an incredible supporter of local educational and community outreach initiatives. This is important to me personally, as well as professionally. Working in this community relations position, I feel I can bring a great deal of passion to the role and help the company advance its objectives.”

Status and Reputation Response

When you want to work with a company because you genuinely respect the way it does business, let this fact be notable in your interview. It will help show your sincerity.

  • “As an attorney, it's very important to me to be associated with a firm that is known for its integrity.”
  • “I've never heard a single complaint about this company, only glowing reviews, even from the competition.”
  • “I understand you have an incredibly low turnover rate, which tells me that employees are happy working for you. Paired with the fact that I think this position is an exceptional match for my skill set, I like the idea of being with a company for the long term.”

Professional Development Response

"I'm looking for a place where I can grow" is a standard response to this kind of question, but you can set yourself apart by discussing the ways you want to professionally evolve.

  • “I'm continually looking for ways to improve my skills and be an asset to my employer, and with the variety of professional development opportunities and mentoring practices this company has, it seems like an ideal fit.”
  • “I love the fact that this company has won numerous industry awards from its peer groups. The fact that your work is widely recognized and lauded tells me there's a great pride in workmanship that I'd like to be part of.”
  • “When I first became a nurse, I knew this was the hospital I wanted to work for. Your reputation for patient-centered care is recognized on a national scale, and I want to be part of that movement.”

Relate Your Skills

Every time you broach the subject of why you want to work for a company, use it as an opportunity to highlight your own skills that match corporate objectives. Prior to your interview, learn about the company by reading its mission statement, or messages from top leaders. This will help you determine what’s important to the company and help you craft responses that show you’re a good fit.

Why Did You Leave Your last Job?

If you’re interviewing for a new job, it usually means you’re leaving another position—and the hiring manager for the new company will want to know why. Be honest but temper your result with professionalism, and never speak poorly or critically of your previous employers. Example:

“There wasn’t room for advancement, like there is here, and I felt I outgrew my previous role.”

If you are re-entering the workforce after a period or changing jobs, use this line of questioning to express your enthusiasm for embracing new professional opportunities.

Since many people change jobs because of workplace conflict, you may be asked how you handle stress and disagreements in the workplace. Offer a level-headed response that demonstrates your ability to remain calm and effective at all times. Example:

“While I’ve worked with challenging personalities in the past, I focus on fostering an environment where all people are respected and all ideas are heard.”


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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