Answering the “Why Are You Interested in This Position?” Interview Question
- Grasp the importance of the “Why are you interested in this position?” question in interviews and how to structure a comprehensive answer that demonstrates genuine interest, company knowledge, skill alignment, and long-term career goals.
- Recognize common mistakes made by candidates when answering this question, allowing readers to proactively avoid them and improve their chances of making a positive impression.
- Understand the significance of balancing personal aspirations with company benefits, ensuring answers resonate with the interviewer’s expectations and showcase a candidate’s potential value to the organization.
“Why are you interested in this position?” is another one of those introductory interview questions, meant to set the mood and ease you into the interview. But that also makes it extremely important. Your response can set the tone for the entire interview, so you need to have a plan of action.
Other common questions to kick off the interview include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- How would you describe yourself?
- Walk me through your resume.
- Why did you apply to this position?
How to answer “Why are you interested in this position?”
The interviewer wants to know that you understand the role and that you actually want it. Your answer should demonstrate that this position is a great fit in every way—so you need to be prepared. You need to prove that you:
- Truly want the role.
- Understand the role.
- Would be good at the role.
To ensure you check every box, follow these steps and review the example response for each section:
1. Demonstrate enthusiasm to show that you want the position.
The whole point of this question is to convince the interviewer that you want this role. Apathy has no place here. Additionally, you don’t want to go on and on about the company. It’s super tempting to work for a tech company that’s revolutionizing travel, but if you’re an HR intern, you’re going to be focused on the employees, not the product. Your answer should reflect why this particular role appeals to you. For example:
2. Do your company research to show that you’re knowledgeable.
If you want the role, you’ll know the company inside and out. You need to prove that you understand what this role entails, so review the company’s website and social media accounts, and then share something unique that appeals to you.
3. Review the job description to show that you’ll add value.
Next, you want to prove that your skills and experience make you the perfect fit for this position. The best way to do that? Share a time when you used those same skills to make a measurable impact.
4. Connect your response to your longer-term career goals.
End on a positive note by assuring the interviewer that you’re around for the long haul.
“Why are you interested in this position?”: Example answers
Here are two more examples for strong responses that utilize the framework above.
Example 1: Software development internship
Example 2: Recruiter
Common Mistakes When Answering “Why Are You Interested in This Position?” and How to Avoid Them
- Being Overly Generic:
- Mistake: Responding with, “I’ve always wanted to work in this industry.”
- Recommendation: Be specific about what draws you to both the position and the company. Connect your answer to the company’s unique values, products, or culture.
- Focusing Solely on the Company:
- Mistake: Overemphasizing the company’s reputation or success without relating it to the role itself.
- Recommendation: While it’s good to acknowledge the company’s success, be sure to highlight how the specific position aligns with your skills and career goals.
- Being Too Self-Centered:
- Mistake: Saying something like, “I need a job,” or “I heard the perks and benefits are great here.”
- Recommendation: The interviewer wants to know how hiring you will benefit the company. Balance what you hope to gain with what you can offer.
- Lack of Research:
- Mistake: Clearly not knowing what the company does or what the role entails.
- Recommendation: Always research the company and role before an interview. Reference specific aspects of both in your answer.
- Overusing Buzzwords:
- Mistake: Relying heavily on industry jargon or clichés, like “I’m a team player” or “I’m a perfect fit.”
- Recommendation: Use concrete examples from your past experiences to demonstrate your qualifications instead of leaning on buzzwords.
- Showing Short-Term Interest:
- Mistake: Implying that you see the job as a short-term opportunity or stepping stone.
- Recommendation: Emphasize your commitment to the role and company. Speak about potential growth and how you envision contributing long-term.
- Being Overconfident or Arrogant:
- Mistake: Stating that you’re the best fit without any supporting evidence or saying that the job seems easy.
- Recommendation: Confidence is good, but back it up with examples of your achievements and be humble about areas where you might need growth or training.
- Being Too Modest:
- Mistake: Downplaying your achievements or deflecting the question.
- Recommendation: This is your opportunity to shine! Be proud of your accomplishments and make sure to communicate how they’ve prepared you for the role.
By following the tips above, you’ll prove that you’re truly interested in the position—and you’ll make the interviewer truly interested in hiring you.