Certain questions seem simple at first glance, but become more complex the more you think about them. For example, “What should we get for dinner?” should be a pretty straightforward question, right? Until you start considering all of the factors at play for you and your dining companions; from reservation times to personal tastes, to prices and location, special considerations start piling up that you haven’t even considered! After minutes of heated debate and delay, if you’re not careful you might end up shrugging and suggesting, “leftovers, anyone?”
Interview questions can be tricky in this way, too. In an interview, a question might seem general enough for a quick answer, but grow in depth the more you think about it (and you can’t afford costly hesitation!)
No question exemplifies this better than, “Why are you interested in this position?” You may have also heard it phrased like:
“What interests you about this job?”
“Why did you apply?”
“What are the reasons for wanting to join our team?”
Tucked into these seemingly simple questions are requests for key information from the hiring team. They may be interested in the reasons why you are suited to complete the tasks needed for the role, why you chose the company overall or even what excites you outside of the day-to-day responsibilities.
Here are some tips for cutting through the confusion and answering this question with confidence:
Be Specific about the Impact You can Make
When confronted with a question gauging your interest in a role, be sure to highlight the skills you plan to bring to the position. Tying specific skills and experiences from your resume into the responsibilities detailed in a job description can be a good way to connect your talent to your reasons for applying.
Once you’ve outlined the obvious reasons, however, it is a good idea to take this a step beyond role responsibilities alone; why are you interested in this particular company? Citing examples from your pre-interview company research about culture fit and organizational programs help explain your reasons for applying further.
In the end, recruiters and hiring managers are most interested in learning how you can make a unique impact in this role, so be specific about what you bring to the table!
Connect the Role to Your Story
An interview is just a story – the story of you! When answering a question that aims to answer why you’re passionate about applying, it’s important to tell the interviews how the position fits into your professional journey. Sure, you may be generally qualified for the role, but why are you applying at this moment in your career?
Take time to develop the story of your career journey prior to any interview, making sure to highlight each stop along the way. This can help you to connect this new potential role to the big picture that is your interview story.
Say it, Show it
Finally, no special selection of words and phrasing will ever have the impact that a positive attitude will! On interview day, it is always important to be an engaged, enthusiastic participant. If you exude confidence in your skills required for the role, and share your passion for the position/company explicitly, interviewers won’t need to guess about your level of enthusiasm.
In the end, no one wants to settle for leftovers – either at dinnertime or hiring time. If the question, “why are you interested in this position?” has ever caught you off guard, just remember: Be specific, bring the interviewers into your story and be upfront with your enthusiasm!
Do you have any experience on how to answer questions like this? Share your interview stories below!