How to Answer Why You Are Applying for a Position and How It Relates to Career Goals

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

careertrend article image
Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images

When you prepare for a job interview, be ready for the standard questions. You should have something to say about your strengths and weaknesses, for example, and be able to answer questions about gaps in your employment history. An interviewer may also want to know why you’re interested in the position you’re seeking. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is another common question, so have something to say about your ultimate career goals as well.

Conduct a Self Assessment

Prior to a job interview, you may need to refresh your talking points as they relate to your recent accomplishments. Take some time perusing your resume to become re-acquainted with your work history and skills, then think about how these skills relate to the job you’re applying for. Craft language for the interview that describes the ways your experience will allow you to make a strong contribution in the job you’re after.

Why Are You Applying?

When an interviewer asks why you’re interested in a position at his company, it’s the perfect opportunity to use flattery, to let them know that you’re knowledgeable about their business and to affirm that you’ll be an asset to them once you’re in the job. To answer this question, you’ll have to do some research. Is the company a leader in the field? Have they recently expanded into new markets? Whatever sincerely impresses you about the company is what you should share with the interviewer once asked this question. You can even say that you’re a long-time user of their product or service. Finally, finish answering this question by stating the ways in which you would make a positive impact in the job. Connect your strengths with their culture.

The Job and Your Goals

It can be tricky to answer how a job relates to your career goals. For one thing, you may be applying for a job primarily because it provides a paycheck, not because you have interest in it as a long-term career. Or, you may simply be realistic enough to believe that it’s impossible to know where your life, your career or your chosen industry will be five years from now. You need an answer to this question that will get you the job, however. Two things that should be clear in your response are that you intend to still be with the company in five years and that the job you’re applying for makes sense as a step forward in your career trajectory. In other words, if you’re applying for a job as a chef, don’t say that five years from now you can see yourself as a fireman. Say you see yourself as an executive chef.

More Interview Tips

Know the company before you interview. If possible, chat with current and former employees. If this is not possible, do Internet research for helpful background. Keep up with developments in your field by taking classes and reading trade journals. Practice your interview skills with a friend. Videotape your practice session; this will give you a clearer idea of what kind of impression you’re making.