Answering the “Why Are You Interested in This Position?” Interview Question

Dana Guterman
Updated: August 12, 2023

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • 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:


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:

ABC Zoo is one of the reasons I decided to tour University College in the first place. Your commitment to protecting wildlife is inspiring—so I’d love to be your birds intern this summer.

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.

I believe that zoos play a vital role in supplementing wild populations in a rapidly developing world. As the winner of the 2019 North American Conservation Award, your work in breeding and releasing California condors shows how zoos can be a force for good.

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.

Having worked as a volunteer wildlife care center assistant at the Audubon Society, I helped care for over 100 birds last year. I know about bird nutrition and how to maintain animal holding areas. And, as a seasoned researcher, I’ve conducted research on animal social behaviors and responses.

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.

I look forward to a life-long career in zoological conservation, and I know ABC Zoo is the best place to start that journey.


 “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

From automating processes to debugging, I love the creativity of programming. I’m so excited to get hands-on experience as a software development intern with TechCo. But what first drew me to your company was the egalitarian culture. I have a friend who interned here last semester, and she couldn’t stop talking about TechCo’s open, accessible environment. To have this platform for sharing my ideas, even as an intern, is a unique opportunity. I’m always looking for innovative ways to increase efficiency and decrease error. In fact, at my previous internship, I instituted new coding verification protocols, which led to a 12% reduction in reported coding errors. As someone who thrives in a collaborative environment, I know that I’ll be able to add value while learning a ton as your intern.

Example 2: Recruiter

I am the opposite of an introvert. If I could be around people 24/7, I would, and that’s why I want to be a recruiter. At Kirko, Inc., your slogan is “When your people matter, your work matters.” You’re all about building relationships, not just a quick fix, and that’s why I want to be a recruiter with you. Before I graduated this spring, I was the president of my fraternity, where I doubled applications over the previous year. I’m a great networker, and I thrive on connecting people to new opportunities. I can’t wait to grow with Kirko, Inc., while having a direct impact on others’ lives, as well as on businesses.

Common Mistakes When Answering “Why Are You Interested in This Position?” and How to Avoid Them

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.