"Why are you interested in this position" is a common question in the early stages of a job interview as it can help set the tone for the conversation and filter out any potential job applicants who aren't interested.
Preparing a good answer requires self-reflection and research, but a good answer can help you emphasize your interest in the role and company culture, show off the research you've done about the company, and help you expand on your career goals. Ideally, you'll weave in a few accomplishments and relevant past experience to highlight why you're a perfect fit for the particular position.
Even if it isn't your dream job, it pays to consider what about the job description drew you in. A generic answer can ruin your chances as a job seeker and a good answer can put you ahead of others.
In this article, we'll walk through why hiring managers ask this question, what they're looking for in an answer, and provide example answers, common mistakes, and tips to stand out to potential employers.
Why do interviewers ask "Why are you interested in this position?"
"Why are you interested in this position" is a common interview question because it helps hiring managers and recruiters learn:
- How well you understand the position: The interviewer's first job is to assess whether you understand the role you are applying for. A good answer shows the hiring manager you know what the new role entails and how you'd be able to contribute to the company's mission.
- If and why you're excited about the position: Employers want to hire candidates who do not only understand the role but are excited about the job opportunity. It's a good idea to weave in the ways you can contribute to the company.
- How well your previous experience and skill set align with the position: To stand out, it's not enough to understand the role and be passionate about the company, you need to have relevant work experience and the right skill set as well. Use the STAR method to draw the employer's attention to specific scenarios that show that you're a great fit.
- How well you know or have researched the particular company: If you want to rise to the top of the candidate pool, invest time into researching the company. Start with the company website and familiarize yourself with their products, services, and mission statement. Don't skip this step. A generic answer won't help your job search. Interviewers want to hear a passionate answer to the question: "Why do you want to work here?"
- What contributions you can make in the position: The best answers go beyond the things outlined above and outline the contributions you know you can make to the company's culture and mission. This could include achievements from your current job, past work experience, a large social media following, or unique skills you can bring to the table.
If you incorporate these ideas into your answer, you're one step closer to getting a job offer and progressing on your career path.
How to answer "Why are you interested in this position?"
Preparing to answer "Why are you interested in this position?" is a great place to start your job search. A good answer will help you stand out as many candidates don't follow the steps outlined below and only provide a general area. Here are the steps you need to take to successfully answer this question:
- Get clear on why you're applying: While hiring managers ask this question to assess how well you could fit into the company, the most important step to answer this question for yourself. After all, if you are hired you'll be working at the company and life is better when you're interested in your work. Common reasons include the company's reputation, products or services, senior leadership, wanting to learn from the hiring manager, or seeing it as a necessary step in your career path.
- Understand the job: Read the job description in full (you'd be surprised how many people don't do this), think about what the hiring manager wants to hear, and how your skillset and past experience align with the new job's responsibilities. Doing this well helps reinforce why you're a perfect fit for the role.
- Research the company: Start with the company website and familiarize yourself with their products, services, and mission. From there, we recommend watching or listening to interviews with the CEO or members of the senior leadership team. This is a great way to understand the company's North Star metrics and their company culture. A good place to start is with our remote company database.
- Explore their media coverage: Go beyond the usual channels and look at social media, company reviews, press releases, and blog posts. To really stand out, read about things that are related to the role you are applying for. For example, if you're applying for a developer role, research the company's tech stack and look on Reddit to see what people think of the company's products.
- Leverage your network: If you've worked in a specific industry for a while or know someone who is working at the company, don't be afraid to reach out. They'll be able to tell you what it's like to work there, what skills the company is missing, and whether they think you'd be a good fit culturally and for the job itself.
- Find alignment and focus on the value you can add: Now that you're clear on why you're applying, the role, and have researched the company, it's time to start thinking through your key talking points. You don't want to come across as robotic, so avoid writing out a complete script. Instead, jot down the key points you want to cover. Talk about how the role aligns with your skillset, work experience, interests, and career goals. Use the research you've done to personalize your answer to the company. Bonus points if you provide reasons why the specific role is exciting to you. We recommend using the STAR method, answering questions with the STAR technique helps the hiring manager follow along by providing a digestible answer in a compelling format.
If you follow these six steps, your answer will help you stand out among a sea of potential candidates. Remember to always focus on the value that you can contribute to the company. Your answer should focus on why you rather than them. In other words, it should answer why they should be excited to hire you!
Example answers to "Why are you interested in this position?"
How you answer the interview question "Why are you interested in this position?" will depend on your motivation for applying for the role. Use these sample answers as a base and adapt them to suit your specific situation.
Example answer 1: Skills
"I'm interested in this software engineering position at Shopify because it revolves around two of my greatest strengths: Ruby on Rails and GraphQL. I've worked solely at Rails companies and optimizing the performance of large-scale Rails projects is something that I excel at and enjoy. Seeing the impact of my work at Basecamp, and witnessing it cascades across our customer base was immensely satisfying for me.
I know that Shopify is operating at an even larger scale, so I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity for my code to help even more people."
Why it works: This isn't a general answer. It shows the interviewer that you've read the job description, researched the company, and understand how you could contribute to the company's mission. It also shows that you understand Shopify's tech stack and how your skills and prior experience could help.
Example answer 2: Company values-focused
"I've been following GitLab for years as a remote worker, and I'm fascinated with your focus on transparency and asynchronous communication. In my prior role at Loom, I relied heavily on GitLab's company handbook to help my team learn about remote collaboration.
As someone who prefers deep work over meeting culture, I'd love the opportunity to put my growth skills to work at GitLab, I successfully grew Loom's SEO traffic by 200% in a year and I feel I could contribute heavily to GitLab's organic growth too."
Why it works: Recruiters are always looking for candidates who are passionate about the company's values before applying. Highlighting the aspects of the culture that peak to you shows you've done your research. It's also a great sign when candidates can speak to the quantitative impact they've had in a previous role and can outline how they will be able to contribute if hired.
Example 3: Growth
"I've been working at Mailchimp for a number of years, and while I value the friendships I've made and the skills I learned there, the recent acquisition has made me look for new opportunities. What excites me about this position and Customer.io is that I would get to learn about and sell a truly best-in-class automated messaging platform.
While this role is a big step up from my current content marketer role, I'm excited to take on new challenges and grow into the remote marketing manager role. My research has shown me that Customer.io is a great place to learn and level up your craft, and I'm committed to working harder than ever.
Why it works: You've clearly articulated why you've decided to learn your current job and why you're excited about the role. It's an added bonus that you've worked at an email marketing company as it implies that you understand some of the problems they face and have relevant experience that could contribute to their mission. You've also outlined that you understand that the role is a step up from your current role and that you're ready to put in the work to level up.
Example 4: Passion
"I love Bolt's mission to democratize commerce by setting a new standard for buying and selling online. My parents were small business entrepreneurs who have transitioned from selling offline to selling online, and Bolt has been a big part of that.
When we implemented Bolt Checkout, the fast, one-click checkout increased our conversion rates and grew our family business. I'm also a big fan of Bolt's tech stack, I love Go! And the four-day workweek is an added bonus of course."
Why it works: You've clearly got a passion for the product, in fact, you've done one better by being an active user! You've also outlined that you've done research on the company and their culture. That's the only way you'd know they were one of the few four-day workweek companies.
Tips for answering "Why are you interested in this position?"
There is no perfect answer to "Why are you interested in this position?", but they're a few tips you should keep in mind when preparing:
- Do the research: To answer this question well, you need to research. Look at their website, listen to interviews, and read their blog. If you know people working there, ask them about how it is and any quirks of the hiring manager. If you want to find a remote job and get hired, use our remote jobs listings and remote company database to research companies.
- Be authentic and positive: As we've said multiple times in this article, answering this question is far easier if you are actually interested. When we say positive, we mean you should focus on all the good things about the role and company, rather than how your current job doesn't appreciate your work.
- Reflect on your past achievements: Think about moments in your career where you've been able to achieve substantial results, and how you think you'd be able to repeat your success if you joined the company.
- Think about how you are uniquely positioned to help: Based on your research and the job description, tie your skills and previous experience to the role you are applying for. Help the hiring manager or recruiter understand why you are the best candidate.
- Put yourself in the employer's shoes: Always bring your answer back to the employer. If you can transition from talking about why you're excited about the work to how you'll contribute, you'll stand out.
- Practice and prepare: Prepare your answer prior to the interview and practice. While you don't want to come off as too scripted, it's better than coming off as unprepared.
- Be succinct: Avoid waffling on, provide the context you need to and no more. Don't drone on for twenty minutes and eat up valuable time for you and the interviewer.
- Ask follow-up questions: While you want to answer the question properly, don't be afraid to ask your own question once you've finished. For example:
- Your company values really resonate with me – are you able to explain how you use these values to drive decisions day-to-day?
- I'm really passionate about meeting with customers to learn from them, could you talk more about how often someone in this role would have the opportunity to do that?
- From reading your Glassdoor reviews and talking to a few friends who work here, it seems like a great place to work, what is your favorite thing about working here?
- The company has grown a lot in the past year, do you expect it to continue? And if so, could you talk about how this role would evolve over time?
Despite it being an open-ended question, answering "Why are you interested in this position?" doesn't have to be challenging. Use the tips above, and you'll be able to craft a standout answer that'll help you breakthrough in a sea of job applicants.
Mistakes to avoid when answering "Why are you interested in this position?"
If you prepare for it, "Why are you interested in this position?" is hard to mess up, but here are a few mistakes to avoid:
- Focusing on yourself: Yes, the question is asking about why you are interested. Yes, you should tie in your skills and prior experience. And yes, it's okay to talk about the personal reasons for wanting the job like remote work, salary, or benefits. Just don't forget also include why the company should hire you and how you can contribute to the company's mission.
- No enthusiasm: If you aren't interested in the position, it's going to be hard to provide a good answer. Do your research and only apply if you actually want the job. Remember, if you're successful you'll be working there!
- Generic answers: A generic answer does nothing but shows the interviewer that you haven't researched the company or position. Remember, you want to convince the hiring manager that you're the perfect candidate.
- Wasting the recruiter's time: If a recruiter reaches out to you and invites you for an interviewer, you should still invest the time to research the company if you plan on doing the interview. Otherwise, you're wasting your own and the recruiter's time.
- Repeating what's on your resume: This isn't a behavioral interview question designed to highlight key bits in your resume. It's okay for it to be less concrete. However, the STAR method can still help you shape your story.
- Forgetting about non-verbal communication: It doesn't matter how much you prepare your answer, praise the company, and align your skills with the job description. If your answer sounds dry or you don't look interested in the interview, it'll come across as insincere. Make sure you're saying the right things with your words and your body!
With all that said, don't worry too much if you feel like your answer fell short. Most companies understand that interviewing is stressful and mistakes can happen.
Possible follow-up questions
- Why do you want to work here?
- Do you have any questions for me? Read our guide on best questions to ask in an interview.
- What can you contribute to this company? This question is similar to "Why do you want to work here?" and will only be asked as a follow-up if you weren't able to clearly articulate your value in your answer.
- Any number of behavioral interview questions. Be sure to use the STAR method when answering.
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