How To Answer “Why Do You Want This Job?” (With Examples): Job Interview Question

By Maddie Lloyd - Oct. 3, 2021
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When it comes to answering the most common interview questions, “Why do you want this job?” may seem like one of the easier ones. We all have our own reasons for why we want certain jobs, whether it’s the next step on the way to your dream job, or if you just need to pay rent and this position will get the job done.

Here’s the deal:

Even though your reasons for wanting a job may seem obvious to you, it’s important to frame your answer to this common interview question in a way that shows you have what it takes to do the job, and that you’re motivated to work with the company for the long haul.

We’ll cover why hiring managers ask this question, how to answer it, common mistakes to avoid, and provide some sample answers.

Why Interviewers Ask “Why Do You Want This Job?”

Interviewers ask why you want the job to determine how much you know about the role and the company. Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for interviewees who can express a desire and capability to fulfill the job requirements. But to adequately communicate that, you’ll need to know as much as you can about what the job entails.

Hiring managers also want to learn how invested you are in the company and its values. If your work values and career goals align with the hiring manager’s expectations of the position, you’ll stand out as a good fit.

This question usually comes at the very start or very end of an interview, so be prepared for either — starting out on the right foot or leaving a good impression at the end is a sure-fire way to be remembered.

How to Answer “Why Do You Want This Job?”

Preparing an answer for why you want the job should incorporate one or more of the following strategies:

  1. Research the company ahead of time. One of the best ways to let employers know that you’re excited about a job is to show them that you care enough to learn about the company’s background. Make sure you know their mission, a basic overview of their history, and any current projects they’re working on.

    To get up to speed on the company’s background, check out their “About Us” section on their website, and read any recent articles about them to get a feel for their current projects and company goals.

    Now when the “Why do you want this job?” question comes up, you can mention specific aspects of the company that make you excited to work for them, instead of just mentioning that you’re just in it for the paycheck.

  2. Show that you’re excited about the job opportunity. Be specific about what makes you the perfect candidate for this role and what you can bring to the table on day one.

    Use your answer to show how you can use any valuable skills in the position, and remember to show the employer how you can be an asset to their company.

    Mention any long-term projects you’re excited about and how they can help you build your skill sets. This will help you show the interviewer that you’re committed to sticking with the company, and that you won’t just ditch them when the next opportunity rolls around.

    Bring up any skills or previous work experiences that make you uniquely matched to the job. Make a list of the job’s requirements from the job description and note which ones line up with your skills experience. Then, when this question comes up, highlight these strengths to show that you’re the best person for the job.

  3. Match your skills and qualifications to the job requirements. One of the best ways to answer the “Why do you want this job?” interview question is to show off how your skills and experience make you perfectly suited for the position.

    Try to figure out the main functions of the job and describe how your professional strengths and previous work and volunteer experiences have given you what it takes to successfully perform the job duties.

    Focus on highlighting your most relevant qualifications and mention how excited you are about the opportunity to work with the company.

    Just remember to keep it concise. There’s no need to drone on and on about how awesome you are. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to do so when the interviewer asks follow-up questions, and with other interview questions like “What are your greatest professional strengths?

  4. Show how you’d fit into the company culture. Knowing how you’re going to fit in with the company culture and interact with your coworkers can be a big determining factor in an employer’s decision in whether or not they want to give you a job offer.

    So your answer needs to show the interviewer that your values and goals align with the company’s and that you’d be an ideal coworker.

    You should get a feel for the company’s values and culture when you do your research before the interview, but if you read their entire “About Us” page and still feel a little foggy on what it’s actually like to work there, check out their social media profiles, like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

    These may give a more honest look into their corporate culture. If anything you find resonates with your own values and goals, mention that in your answer.

  5. Connect the job to your overall career goals. Another great way to answer the “Why do you want this job?” question is to show that it fits into your long-term career goals.

    Show the interviewer that you’re looking to stick around for the long haul instead of just using them as a pit stop, and they’ll feel more comfortable investing in you as a candidate.

    Hiring managers and recruiters want to hire people who wish to grow with the company. Don’t just explain why you’re great for this position — describe how this job is just the start of a valuable professional relationship for both parties.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Answering “Why Do You Want This Job?”

While this question seems easy, it’s one of the most essential interview questions to get right. Avoid these common mistakes as you formulate your answer:

  • Talking about how you’ll benefit. The interviewer knows you need a job to pay the bills and have access to certain benefits. That’s not what they’re looking for here.

    Avoid all mention of salary, scheduling, and benefits. Focus on what you can offer them first; you can worry about what the employer can offer you when they send you a job offer.

  • Memorized answer. This is true for all of the most common interview questions. Being prepared is great, but you need to sound natural in your response. Come off as a genuine person by remembering the gist of what you want to say without reciting your answer like it’s a school book report.

  • Rambling. You might have a lot to say about why you want this job — especially if it’s your dream job. Stick to your top reasons and wrap up your answer in under two minutes. The more you can express in a shorter amount of time, the better your communication skills will appear.

  • Resume-reciting. If this question comes at the start of your interview, you may be tempted to tell the hiring manager or recruiter all of your most impressive accomplishments and qualifications. While you can certainly allude to one or two in your answer, but always bring your response back around to what you can offer the company.

Example Answers to “Why Do You Want This Job?”

Crafting your own answer to this question is heavily dependent on your personal reasons for wanting the job. That being said, let’s show each of the tips from above in action with some sample answers:

  1. Example Answer 1: Using Research on the Company

    “The first thing that caught my eye about your company is that you’re currently hosting a fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity. I also have experience working with that organization, so it really resonated with me that you have a company-wide focus on charitable giving.”

  2. Example Answer 2: Enthusiasm for the Job Opportunity

    “I’m excited for the opportunity to use my skills as a copywriter in this position. Being able to build upon my skills as a writer and editor, while continuing to develop in a growing company is important to me. It seems that there are great long-term opportunities here, and I would appreciate the opportunity to grow with the company.

  3. Example Answer 3: Skills and Qualifications-focused

    “What really stood out to me about this position was the opportunity to use the copyediting experience I gained from my role as Junior Copywriter combined with my coding skills. I feel that this position would give me the unique opportunity to actively build both of these skill sets while also growing with a company I’d be excited to be a part of.”

  4. Example Answer 4: Values and Company Culture

    “I’m particularly excited for this opportunity because of your company’s priorities for teamwork, ethics, and efficiency. These are all values that are highly important to me, and I see that reflected here. Having the same values and community interest makes me want to work with this company more than anywhere else.”

  5. Example Answer 5: Career Goals

    “I’m particularly interested in this position as Junior Copywriter because it ultimately fits into my long-term career goals of becoming Senior Copywriter for a major publication. This position would be a great opportunity to build my skill sets, contribute to a rapidly-growing company, and to see my projects and efforts flourish with the company.”

Final Thoughts

Even though our biggest reason for wanting a job may be to get a paycheck at the end of the day, it’s important to show employers that your motivation goes deeper than just a salary.

Use your answer to this question to show that you’ve researched the company, you have the qualifications, and that you’re a perfect fit for the company culture. This will show employers that you’re passionate, motivated, and enthusiastic about the job.

If you can show employers that you’re qualified, excited for the opportunity, and willing to stick around, you’re sure to make a good impression and land the job.

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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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