5+ Best Answers to "Why Do You Want This Job?" (+ Answer Guide) [2020]

why do you want this job

When a hiring manager asks, “Why do you want this job?” it’s important to be prepared with an answer. A good answer to this common interview question requires researching the missions of the company and aligning professional strengths and weaknesses within the response.

Why This Question is Asked in Interviews

A common question from a job seeker regarding this interview question is, “Why does the hiring manager ask this?” A hiring manager will ask this type of interview question to test how prepared the candidate is. The answer should be one that contains an understanding of the company’s missions or general benefits that attract candidates. And simultaneously aligns with an understanding of what value the candidate can both bring to the job title and take away from the job experience.

For example, a very generic answer this question might be:

This is my dream job.

That’s not a great answer. A more sophisticated answer would be:

I’m passionate about the company’s mission to connect everyone in the world, embrace small businesses, and bring economic opportunity to the lives of people across the globe. I’ll be able to apply my sales skills while learning more about this industry and gain experience that will be able to advance my career.

This answer contains a mention of the company’s mission statement or objectives, which shows the interviewer that the candidate isn’t simply “attending every interview they can”.

It’s a common occurrence for a job candidate to attend every job interview they can with a potential employer. And often, the job seeker feels this is the best way to go about their job search. Unfortunately, when an interview question like “Why do you want this job?” is asked, and the answer lacks a tailored response, the interviewer knows the candidate isn’t passionate about the opportunity and might not be a good fit for the job.

Answering This Interview Question

Before answering this question, it’s important to look through the company’s website, LinkedIn, and other social media presences. Within these online properties, information about the company culture, company goals, company objectives, and other key information should be available.

From there, it’s important to recognize what’s a key driver in the company. For example, the company’s mission is to bring healthcare to the world. Or the noble mission of bringing self-driving vehicles to every American in the United States. This is something that can be used in the interview answer and statement.

Next, it’s important to have a general sense of career goals. Because while answering this question, it’s best to use both the opportunities that are available in the position for career progression and why the job opportunity or company is uniquely positioned to be able to gain that (the mission, objectives, and other goals of the company).

Here is an example of an interview answer that uses only past experience and the job opening as an opportunity to show why there is a passion for the job role:

In my previous job and current position, I was able to work closely with other departments. But I didn’t get the opportunity to work closely with the sales team. This job clearly requires a heavy amount of work with the sales team and I believe this will help me gain the right kind of experience required for the career growth I’m seeking.

From that example, it’s an okay answer. But the “perfect answer” lies in the inclusion of the company’s goals.

In my previous job and current role, I was able to work closely with other departments. But I didn’t get the opportunity to work closely with the sales team. I recognize how this company values collaboration and innovation by creating inclusion amongst multiple departments. It will expose me to the sales team, which will be a new experience for me. But it will also test my creative and quantitative skills.

For the prospective employer, this is a far more targeted answer. And reflects some idea that the candidate has an understanding of the job position (each job requirement that’s needed to achieve success in the position).

Tip: Performing an informational interview can be useful in preparing for this interview question. An informational interview is when a job candidate sits down in an informal session to ask career advice questions to employed personnel.

Sample Answers

Below are sample answers to this common job interview question.

1. I’ll be exposed to new departments and gain valuable experience

Sample answer: “In my current job, we work in isolation from other departments. Coming into this company, I know that inclusion of multiple departments and sparking innovation between them is one of the company’s missions for how we work. This is going to be really useful for my career, to be exposed to multiple departments, and to see how my work can increase the efficiency of their work.”

2. The mission of the company is close to my heart

Sample answer: “There’s a part of the mission statement that really touches me. Not to recite the entire mission statement verbatim but the mission of bringing healthcare and accessible medicine to the lives of many across the globe is something I appreciate. I would take any job inside this company just to have the opportunity to work closely with this mission.”

3. The way the company operates is something that I value

Sample answer: “I’ve read many articles about how this company operates. Working closely with a team of really intelligent and special people is something that will make me passionate. I appreciate being able to take what I know, share it with others, and learn from others. I’ve found this is the best way to advance my career. By having the opportunity to shadow those more experienced than me.”

4. The working environment is conducive to gaining experience

Sample answer: “Every advisor that I’ve spoken to has told me that this is the company I should be involved with. Either they worked here or had friends who worked here. And they knew that somehow, this company brings a significant amount of experience to a professional. It’s a staple company on the resume. And for me, I know this would be an incredible start to my career path.”

5. I’ll be able to interact with customers

Sample answer: “Being able to interact with customers is a wonderful and noble opportunity. It’s part of this company’s culture and it’s what makes the product such a great fit for its customers. The idea that we speak to them, learn who they are, what their needs are, and address them. I really want to be part of that.”

6. I’ll be able to utilize my existing skillsets for a new type of industry

Sample answer: “The job opening seems to have a few things that align with my previous job experience. And particularly a few skills that I have. The first being the ability to automate a sales process. And the second is some type of engineering background. But I have not been able to apply my skills to this industry before. And for me, that’s going to be significant in terms of my career growth. I’ll be able to demonstrate how my skills translate amongst multiple industries.”

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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