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How to answer ‘Why are you applying for this position?’ interview question

How to Answer, ‘Why are you Applying for this Position?’

In almost every interview you experience, you can expect to be asked the common interview questions, ‘why do you want this job?’ Interviewers want to try to ascertain your knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for their position, and these questions help them unlock this insight. 

It is important to have a clear and concise response in mind. Planning an answer will help you effectively communicate not only your personal interest in the opportunity but also your knowledge and attraction towards the company and industry.

Keep reading to learn more about what interviewers are looking for, as well as an example answer to guide your own.

Why do Interviewers Ask this Question?

Interviewers are looking to pick the strongest candidate who best fits the company’s ethos and culture. It is not enough to hire someone who, quite simply, requires a job. Appointing someone who has a strong skill set but no desire to be a part of their organisation poses the risk that they may look to move on in the short term, causing further recruitment costs.

By asking this question, interviewers can find out what attracted you to their opening. Therefore, it is important to answer this question in a way that shows you’ve done your research and you are enthusiastic about the role itself and the company. Employers will also be intrigued to find out if this role is in alignment with your career aspirations – your response should give some insight into what you are looking for. 

A good response will outline your understanding of what the role entails, and show that you will contribute to the company’s success as your goals and experience are similar to that of the company.

Preparing for this Question

Think about why you applied for the position, what made you think about applying? Is there any particular element of the role that highlights your interest in applying for the position? A good response will show that you have carefully considered applying for the role. 

Spending time before your interview to prep an answer will only highlight your enthusiasm for the role and your appreciation of the opportunity they have given you. Key ways you can demonstrate your interest in the role are by:

Understanding the company’s mission statement and core values. Do you share any common passions? Within your answer, you can talk about how you want to support them in achieving their goals and how you are aligned with their ethos.

Researching the company via its website and other platforms. Look into the size and type of business, as well as their customer and client base. Now, ask yourself why you want to be a part of this company. Do you have any industry knowledge from previous job roles that you can bring to the table? Maybe you’ve seen on their news channel that they are developing a new site in another location and you want to be part of a growing company with opportunities to work multisite.

Thinking about the duties in the job description. Are there any tasks/projects that are similar to what you have been involved with previously? Talk about how you can develop the skills you learnt here in order to take them to the next level or help others to further their own skill sets. How will you add value to this new company, team and tasks? 

Overall, you need to show the employer that you have researched the role and company and that you understand what they do. While, at the same time, demonstrating that you are interested and enthusiastic and ready to invest in a career with their company.

When to Expect this Question

Often you can expect to be asked a version of this question early on in your interview, usually following a question asking for more information about yourself. However, you can still reference why you applied for the role throughout the rest of your interview. Don’t be afraid to include phrases, such as ‘this was another factor that attracted me to your role.’

Other ways this Question can be Worded

Be aware that different interviewers will like to express their questions in different ways. The key is to recognise that they are all hoping to find out the same information. Additional ways this question can be phrased include:

  • What motivated you to apply for this job opening?
  • Can you share your reasons for seeking this role?
  • What inspired you to express interest in this job opportunity?
  • What made you decide to submit an application for this job?

‘Why are you Applying for this Position?’ Example Answer

I’ve applied for the position because I am looking for career development and feel this team leader role is right for me. Currently, I’m in a team of 4, but because I have been there for 5 years the team sees me as a senior and asks me for help when required. The manager is also confident to give me extra responsibilities including leaving me in charge when they are out of the office or on annual leave.

Why is this a Good Example?

This answer shows the employer that the candidate is likely to be a long-serving employee, who not only is happy to take on the management duties of the role but also has a keen interest in developing into management and therefore maybe be willing to take on further duties for experience and progression.

What to Avoid 

When putting together your ideas for answering this question, there are a few things to avoid. 

    • Wanting a job – Remember you need to align yourself and your career aspirations to those of the company you are applying to. Being desperate for a job means you could be applying for any role and not theirs in particular
  • Appealing salary – While it is important to consider the salary, it’s best not to focus on this too early on. Make sure you look at the other benefits this company offers you
  • A good opportunity before your next move – Be careful not to get ahead of yourself when demonstrating career drive and progression. Talking about a step away from the role you are applying to shows you’re already looking past their company. Doing so will raise red flags around retention.

Let Us Help

If you require advice on how to answer other common interview questions, our guides offering on handling a difficult situation, competency-based examples, examples of common behaviours, and even interview questions about your values are available. To find out more about how our recruitment experts can help you, contact us today or send an email to info@cloverhr.co.uk.

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