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How To Answer The Question 'Why do you want this job?' in a Job Interview

Updated on June 22, 2011

Every Interview Question seeks to find out / draw out/ bring to the fore some trait or the other.   The interviewer uses a number of questions to get a 360 degree view of the candidate (YOU) and make up his/her mind on the following:

  • Are you the right fit for the company / position / team?
  • Do you know what the company does/ company's mission / vision etc?
  • Do you really, really want this job?
  • Are you as talented/hard working/ sincere/ etc etc as you are trying to show?


The whole idea of an interview is to make the interviewer think that you are the best person for the position.

Think of yourself as a doctor, a healer if you will.

The company is in pain and hence it has advertised for a position.They need someone who can come in, take charge of things and take care of them, they need someone to reduce that pain.You are the doctor they are seeking out.

The interviewer is there to selectyou and not to reject you.

Why would an Interviewer ask the question 'Why do you want this job?'

Think of yourself as someone buying a car, a second hand car.  You saw the advertisement, you liked what was mentioned so you went to see the car on sale.

You loved the car.  It was in brilliant condition, was practically not used at all, was in the color you adore and the make you wanted.

You ask about the price thinking it would possibly be more than what you could afford.  I mean if you were honest with yourself, if you could afford it you would probably just buy a new car.

The owner tells you the price and it nearly half of what you expected.  You cannot believe it.  You make sure you heard the price right.  It is.

How would you react?

Most of us would look at the car again and wonder why the hell is it that cheap.  The price would create a niggling doubt in your mind - maybe the car has some internal problems, maybe its stolen, maybe its an accident case, maybe maybe.

you may even be tempted to ask the question 'why is he selling this car so cheap?'

And therein lies the answer to your question, Why would an Interviewer ask the question 'Why do you want this job?'

Here you are, intelligent, smart, knowledgeable.  You claim you are happy where you are, you seem to be ok with the salary on offer.  'why?'

Its that internal problem situation.

It could also be asked to:

  • find out what your career goals are
  • how much you know about the company you are applying to
  • how much do you know about industry
  • what are your priorities in life
  • what motivates you
  • how logical are you
Your answer may determine the outcome.  Candidates who do not know why they want this job, may not be invited to it.  Reasons as flimsy as 'saw your ad, thought I would try' or worse 'I dont really need it or want it' could see you out the door sooner.

So HOW to answer the question 'Why do you want this job?'

So how should answer this question?

For one, answer it for yourself.  Only if you truly believe in your own answer, will the interviewer buy it.

The reasons for seeking a new opportunity may be many.  Some examples:

  • more money
  • more responsibility
  • new challenges
  • new location
  • bad company
  • bad boss
  • bad experience
  • values mis-match
  • new education, new skills hence a change in profile
  • new industry
  • transfer of spouse/parents
  • your friends are at the new company etc etc

Some of these reasons are acceptable in an interview, some are not.

You do not want to complain about your ex-boss or the team you worked with and the reason for a job change cannot just be a friend changing his/her job.

The ones that definitely fly are more responsibility, challenges, new location/territory, even money.

You would get a better answer if you researched the company you are applying to.  Read what to do before an interview.

Once you do that, your reason for joining the company can be a solution for the company.  for e,g.  lets say you know/read/find out that the company is starting a new office in XYZ location.  Your reason to move there could be family, but your answer would include that you are aware of the new office and that the location accords you the stimulus at work and the opportunity to fulfill your family obligations by being closer home.

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Some examples

I have spent the last two years at my current company and although I have learn a lot, I find that the company is not breaking new ground.  You are in the process of launching a new product and I see myself contributing to that tremendously, while finding new challenges for myself

My current employer has been very kind and generous, however, they do not have an office in XYZ city.  I am looking to move closer home and when I looked at options, your company was my first choice.  

I just completed my Masters in XYZ and am seeking a role where my recently acquired knowledge and expertise can be put to effective use.   I am afraid my current job does not have that.

I would be more than happy to help you improve your answer. Please leave the following in comments: Name, age, education, position applying for exact words yo

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      6 years ago

      tell us about your self ( for regional administrator

    • Nicky Smart profile image

      Nicky Smart 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom



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