A question often posed during a job interview, the answer you give to this query can make or break your chances of getting the job. Mary Hope recently published a short tutorial on The Undercover Recruiter to help you prepare your answer to that question before you even get to the interview.
It is common to give a generic answer, such as: “I’m not happy in my current position; I am looking for something more challenging.” However, while true, this answer does not differentiate you from anyone else who is being considered. Worse, it does not actually answer the question of why THIS job (and not just any job that is more challenging than your current one).
Many, if not most, prospective employers will ask you why you want the job for which you are interviewing. So, come ready with an answer that will make you stand out from the crowd. Hope advises a four step approach to crafting your clear, targeted response. First, lead with a compliment. By telling the recruiter or interviewer what you like about the company, you are showing that you have done your research and (hopefully) earning brownie points at the same time. Second, describe what is challenging about the position (and what will keep you interested). Third, let them know what you really like to do in your work. Finally, anticipate reasons they might not choose you and refute them before they have the chance to question you.
Crafting the perfect response
To get you started on crafting your perfect response, Hope gives the following example of how she might answer the question if she were interviewing at a local Co-op shop:
“I think the Co-op is a great organization, I admire their ethical stance and I was very impressed when they had no issues over horse meat. That’s the sort of company I’d like to be in. I know you need staff who can work shifts, who are good with customers and who will make sure that the shelves are kept stocked and tidy. I really enjoy working with customers, helping them find things, explaining the difference between products and I hate untidy shops. It’s really important to me to be polite and friendly, when I worked in the garage I tried to get every customer to smile before they left! It has been a while since I have done shop work but I don’t think you lose the passion to please the customer and make sure they always come back – I haven’t.”
Don’t forget, you are half of the equation in the search for a job. If you are struggling to explain why you want any particular job, perhaps it is not a good fit for you. This will be apparent to the recruiter or employer and you will likely be passed over in favor of a candidate who brings more passion and decisiveness to the table.
Do you need more interview tips? Check out our blog post on 8 nonprofit interview tips!