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How to answer the interview question, “Why do you want this job?”

by | Feb 4, 2022 | Career Advice

“Why do you want this job?” is one of the most common job interview questions. While it seems simple to answer, people often make the mistake of focusing too much on themselves and too little on the company. This question is another way of asking “why do you want to work here versus another company you are interviewing with” and an excellent opportunity for you to show off what you have learned about the company, what attracts you to their work, and what value you could contribute. 

Your interviewer is looking for specifics here, so don’t approach the question as “Why do you want to be a data analyst?,” but instead focus on answering the question “Why do you want to be a data analyst at this specific company?” 

Below are a few tips that will help you respond effectively to this question and a few mistakes to avoid. 

Tip 1 – Make sure the company is the right fit for you

To successfully answer this question make sure you know why you’d be excited to work for this place. Set aside time to sit down with a pen and paper and be honest with yourself. Make a list of what you want to achieve if you get the job. Think carefully about what you expect from the job, what goals you have, and what the company can offer in terms of career advancement. Is the schedule right for you? Are there learning and development opportunities? Are they offering a fair salary? Do you really resonate with their values, etc? 

This list will help you identify questions you may still need to ask the interviewer, note any reservations you may have, and ultimately determine if this is the job for you.

Tip 2 – “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

You can’t genuinely answer this question without learning about the company you want to work for. Researching them won’t take hours. Check out their website or read some of their recent publications. Their values, mission statements, and accomplishments are usually located on the site. Another valuable resource to use is Glassdoor, which provides insights about millions of companies and jobs. If you have some extra time, try to conduct an informational interview with one of their current or former employees. If you know the name of your interviewer, see if they have written anything publicly about their work or the company. Listen to any interviews or talks they may have given. If you understand the specific perspectives of the interviewer and have a sense of the things they value about the team or company, you can speak specifically to the things they care about, which can often go a long way.

Then zoom in on specific details that resonate with you and incorporate those unique details into your pitch for why you’re interested in this job with this company. Doing your homework will set you apart from other candidates and impress your interviewer. 

Tip 3 – Connect your skills and accomplishments to the job 

This is the time to “sell yourself.” First, focus on the company. Write out a list of your potential employer’s strengths, weaknesses, achievements, or goals. If this is your second or third round of interviews you may have learned more about their goals as a company. 

Then establish which of your strengths and accomplishments you want to showcase when answering this question. You should choose one or two and incorporate a story that highlights the value you will bring to the company and how you will fulfill their needs or help them improve on their weaknesses.

An example of what this could look like:

This job requires a candidate that has strong marketing and Salesforce skills, two of my greatest strengths. In my previous role, I increased sales by 30% during a period of time where our competitors were flat. I also see that the company is expanding to include more products in the healthcare space. I’ve always been passionate about equity issues in healthcare and am excited to work for a company that is prioritizing this important topic.”

Tip 4 – Share your career goals or career path

Explain how the job fits into your career journey. You want to make sure the interviewer knows that you want to grow within the company and that you see yourself with the company for some time. This will make them feel more comfortable investing in you. 

Finally, try to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Rehashing your resume. Remember this question is a balance of talking about the company and yourself. The trick is to pick one or two stories that will emphasize your skills and the value they bring.
  • Focusing only on what you will gain. This could set off alarms. They may think you are using them as a stepping stone to enter an industry or launch a career versus seeing you committed to their company.
  • Memorizing your answer. Being your authentic self is important. You want to be prepared, but not sound like a robot or like you’re reading from a script.

 

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