Advancing Yourself

How to answer…’Tell me why you want this job’3 min read

Coaching4CareersAuthor: Coaching4Careers

Posted on: 27th Oct 2016

Whether you’re new to all this or an experienced career professional, this represents one of the more important interview questions you can expect to face as a job seeker. Unlike some interview tests, there are no traps or hidden agendas to be worried about; it’s about answering truthfully but in a way that reflects well on you and on the role itself.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to be aware of in forming your answer:


Understand what they’re looking for

Whatever the specifics of your answer, it needs to align with what the employer is hoping to gain in advertising for the position. Research the organisation, their recent activity and where they’re headed. For example, if the firm has recently gained a new client or entered a new market, you could refer to recent projects where you’ve helped break new ground.

Show your passion

Above all else, a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for genuine enthusiasm for the position and for the organisation itself. Try to work a little of your personal ‘story’ into your response; a typical answer might read: “I’ve always been ambitious and curious and I wanted my first full-time position to be with a firm at the forefront of harnessing new technologies, like cloud computing.”

Talk about your goals

Accompanying this should be a logical argument about what you hope to achieve with the organisation over the coming years. You want to demonstrate that you’ve thought clearly about your decision to apply and how it fits into your long-term aspirations – e.g. “I’m looking to add emerging market experience to my CV and I’d be excited to help the company expand in this region.”


Give generic answers

Be careful not to rely on stock answers you may have heard others give, which can be a common pitfall, particularly when reaching out to a number of employers in the same field. Try to express specific qualities about the firm rather than relying on buzzwords like ‘dynamic’ or ‘market-leading’.

Focus on the wrong areas

While the compensation, holiday allowance and other perks you may receive will naturally be at the back of your mind, allowing these concerns to take centre stage could undermine how you feel (or what the recruiter thinks you feel) about the role.

Offer irrelevant information

Likewise, talking about skills or interests that bear little relevance to the job may also detract from your hiring chances and may imply you haven’t spent sufficient time investigating the role or employer. A classic case might be talking about a university research project you worked on in isolation when teamwork is critical to the role.

To summarise, your response to this age-old inquiry should be an opportunity to showcase what you understand about a job position and how it relates to your skills and passions. So long as your interest in the role is genuine, with a little thought and time investment there’s no reason you can’t make this question work to your advantage.

This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at


Coaching4CareersAuthor: Coaching4Careers

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