During interviews, recruiters ask a variety of questions to help them assess applicants. These questions may seem random, but more often than not, they aren’t. Some of these questions have been consistently asked that they have become standard for anybody who has participated in more than one interview.
A question like “why are you applying for this job?” Or “why do you want this job?” has been asked frequently. Applicants know the question is coming but somehow manage to fumble it. Ironic, isn’t it? It is not the applicants’ fault, however, as some of these questions may seem like one thing while it means another.
The key is understanding the question, why it is asked, what is expected from you, and how to answer it the best way. This article will be focusing on the common interview question “why are you applying for this job”?
You must have been asked this question or a variation of it if you have attended an interview. Bear in mind that there are so many ways a recruiter can ask you this question. Some of them are:
- Why do you want this role?
- What made you interested in applying for this position?
- Why are you interested in this role?
They all mean the same thing and require almost the same answer from you. In this article, you’ll see how to answer this question the best way. But first, why do employers even ask this question? Why is it important to them?
Why Do Employers Ask “Why are You Applying for This Position?”
For a question to keep coming up in interviews even though the recruiters are not the same shows that it is essential, it has to be. Knowing why employers ask this question will help you understand the question better and what is required of you. Here are some of the reasons recruiters ask this question:
1. To Know How Well You Understand the Role
Recruiters will ask this question to know how well you understand the role. They want to see the level of understanding you have of the position. This understanding can only come from proper research of the position you’re applying for, and its needs.
Asking the “why are you applying for this role?” question will help recruiters know if you took time to research the role and how well you understand what it requires.
2. To Know if Your Goals and Skills Align with what the Role Requires
Recruiters will also ask the question to know if your goals align with that of the role. This is pretty important, especially as more and more people get into positions and get out as soon as the next shiny position becomes available. This shows a lack of alignment in what the applicant wants and what the role can give.
Recruiters have become cautious as they scrutinise the applicants to ensure their short term and long-term goals with that of the role are intertwined. For example: if an applicant has a goal of becoming a financial manager in the future, applying for a chef role makes no sense. In this instance, the goal of the applicant and the position does not align and will be a recipe for disaster. This is why recruiters want to know your goals by asking this question.
3. To Know how Enthusiastic You are About the Position
When you start talking about the role, your enthusiasm for it or lack of it will show. Recruiters are aiming to know applicants that are passionate about the position. Enthusiasm and passion for a role are vital as they can mean extra input and effort and not just about getting a job and paying bills.
Typically, employers look for passionate people who would take on the job with renewed vigour every day. By asking this question, they let you show your passion for the role.
How to Prepare ?
Now that you know why this question keeps recurring in almost every interview; your next step is preparing for it. If you don’t prepare for the question, you’ll still be confused when you’re asked, even if you knew it would come. So how do you prepare yourself to answer this question?
1. Research the Organisation
Nothing beats research when it comes to answering this question. You cannot respond well if you do not have the correct information. You can get this information by doing research. Researching the organisation will not only help you answer this question but also a myriad of other questions that may come up during your interview.
Even before sending in your application, research the organization deeply. You can get the necessary information by searching the internet for articles on the company, going through the company’s website, and even speaking to past and present employees. Here are some of the things you should seek to know about the company:
- Company culture: this is tCompany culture: this is the acceptable behaviour in a company. Company culture varies across industries and companies
- Achievements: you should know what the company has achieved
- Current projects: knowing what the major projects the company is currently working on will help you to tailor your answer towards the projects
2. Research the Role
After researching the company, you want to explore the role you’re applying for to know what it entails and all the requirements. First, this will help you see if you’re a qualified candidate for the role, then help you understand the position in detail.
A thorough understanding of the role will help you answer why you’re applying for the role. Researching similar roles in companies in the same industry can also be an excellent way to understand the role. Talk to people in similar positions in different companies to know some of the requirements.
With this information, you will know which of your skills you should highlight while answering this question.
How to Answer, “Why are You Applying for this Role?”
After taking in all the necessary information, you need to answer this question; knowing how to structure your answer is just as important. Without properly articulating your response, you will not convince the interviewer. Before you answer this question, here are some things to keep in mind; the company’s significant achievements, training, and opportunities available to employees that can help your career.
Here’s how to answer this question:
1. Mention How the Company’s Goals Align with Yours
After the research, you should know what the company’s goals are. Start by mentioning how these goals align with yours. Be specific, state a particular goal and explain how it aligns with yours. Vague answers will not set you apart from the crowd.
2. Showcase the Skills You Possess
Mention the skills you possess that can help the company. Remember, only related skills are needed. Talk about how this skill(s) makes you a unique candidate and sets you apart from others.
3. Be Passionate and Show Positivity
While answering the question, show how passionate and enthusiastic you are about the job. You can show this by using positive words, your tone of voice, and body language. Turning this question into a positive conversation will also show you as a positive and productive personality.
4. Mention Something Specific in the Job that Attracted You
By mentioning a specific thing in the role that got you excited and attracted, you show that you are particular about your job search and not desperate or just looking for a paycheck.
You can summarise by Recapping all you have mentioned and tying them all to a single theme – how the job suits you and what you can bring to the role.
Example of Answer to “Why Are You Applying for this Position
To make it even more practical and easy for you to assimilate, we’ve put together sample answers you can use to answer this question. By simply tweaking these answers, you can get a concise explanation for the role you want.
“I have worked as a graphics designer for three years, and I’m only getting started. It was clear from the job description that this is the right company for me to continue growing as a designer. My expertise in Adobe, Photoshop, and Illustrator will ensure I hit the ground running immediately by contributing to the team’s efforts.”
Here, you quickly stated your experience in the industry and then connected your goal with that of the role. You finally concluded with how you can help the company with the skills you have.
“As mentioned on the company’s website and several press releases, the company is embarking on some big projects that will help it grow. I want to be part of these projects and bring my five years experience as a project manager to help bring these projects to life.”
Here, you show that you’ve done your homework by researching and knowing what the company is doing. You then show how you can help the company achieve their goals.
“While I enjoy working on small scale projects in my present position, this role will allow me to bring my experience in business analysis to larger-scale projects with more significant results. I’m eager to bring my analytical, management and technical expertise to the fore. Can you tell me what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?”
You quickly show why you’re eager to join the company and how your goals align with the role. Then you show how you can help with the skills you have and then end by cleverly throwing the question back at the interviewers to talk more about what they are looking for in an ideal candidate. Ending with a question keeps the conversation going.
When asked why you are applying for the role or any of its variations, the employer wants to know your readiness and how well you know the role. The recruiter also wants to see how your goals align with the company and position. With the examples here, you can come up with a valid answer for your role.