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Making a Great Case for You
A common interview question is, "Why do you want this job?" This query is designed to find out what you know and like about the company, how you see yourself fitting in, and what your motivations are for potentially joining the group. Parents are accustomed to continually responding to “why” questions, so you should recognize that the more research you do about the organization before the interview, the better prepared you’ll be to answer this telling question.
Why Do You Want the Job?
Whatever your genuine motivation is, share it with your interviewer. Maybe the company has a good reputation, you like the product or service, the position allows you to capitalize on your professional strengths, or you see a lot of room for upward advancement. Pick the true reasons you want to work for the company and package your response with tangible examples.
This company is known for its innovative approach to health care management, and I’d very much like to be a part of the exciting new developments you have in the works.
I’ve been looking to move from a position in retail sales to retail management, and since you advertised for an entry-level manager with sales experience, I thought I’d be the perfect fit.
I’m a great people person, so working in customer service for a forward-thinking company is an ideal role for me.
If your only motivation is money or a job close to home, keep those details to yourself. Employers are looking for someone who wants to work for the organization for reasons that benefit them.
Why Are You Looking?
If you’ve left a job, been terminated, or have a job but are looking, a hiring manager is going to want to know what you didn’t like about the previous position. This can be an uncomfortable question if you’re leaving because the corporate culture was cliquish, your boss was a cad or you didn’t get along with your colleagues. Regardless of why you’re looking, it’s always best to respond in a positive way, tying your response back into what you like most about the job you’re seeking.
I’m looking for an opportunity to branch out and explore new opportunities, and unfortunately, there wasn’t room for growth at my previous company.
I’d like to take on a management role, and at my last position, I had gone as high as I could in such a small company.
There are just so many dynamic aspects of this company that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to join your team.
What Are Your Career Goals?
This question is often asked in conjunction with the why do you want this job query. The hiring manager is trying to get a feel for how you see yourself fitting in with the organization and what your expectations are over the long term. Your response to this question should complement your other responses, reemphasizing the things you like about the business, the aspects of the position you find most appealing, and your thoughts on getting the most out of the role. This is an opportunity to tout your skills and ambition, as long as the focus remains on the benefit to the company.
I would like to be part of an environment where teamwork and collaboration are encouraged and where there’s room to be part of a company’s forward movement.
I have a real passion for brainstorming and being part of long-term development initiatives, and I think these skills would really help me advance the company.
I would love to continue growing professionally in ways that are most beneficial to the organization.
Keep in mind that the hiring manager who is interviewing you is looking for a person who understands the dynamics of the company, has researched the organization, and who shows a commitment and enthusiasm for helping the business meet its short- and long-term objectives. Always position yourself as a team player and a dedicated staffer who will be an active and contributing member who is focused on the organization’s success.
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.