How to Answer "Why Do You Want This Job?" (Sample Answers Included)

Answering this question well relies on preparation and research. If the interviewer can tell you've done your homework, you'll stand out from other job seekers.

Abi Tyas Tunggal

Feb 18, 2022 • 10 min read

How to Answer "Why Do You Want This Job?" (Sample Answers Included)

In this article

"Why do you want this job?" is a common interview question. While it may seem easy, it can trip you up if you don't prepare.

The best answers to this question show your research into the company and outline why you're a good fit for the role.

This article discusses why employers ask this question, how to answer it and provides example answers, tips, and mistakes to avoid.

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Why interviewers ask, "Why do you want this job?"

Hiring managers ask this question in job interviews to assess whether you're a good fit for the position, team, and company and if your career goals align with their needs. While the interviewer wants to know what you want from your next job, this question focuses on how much you know about the company's values, mission, and goals.

Other variants of this question include:

The interviewer wants to assess your enthusiasm, personality, experience, and skills and if they align with the company values and goals.

Remote job interview

How to answer "Why do you want this job?"

Answering "Why do you want this job?" relies on preparation. If the interviewer can tell that you've done your homework, you'll stand out from other job seekers.

Follow these steps to construct a solid response to this common interview question:

Coworkers in office

1. Research the company and read the job description carefully

The first step to preparing for any interview question is to research the company and read the job description carefully. Research allows you to include unique details in your answer that relate to the company you're interviewing with, which will increase your chances of landing a new job.

Start with the company's website as it contains valuable information like their mission statement, team biographies, about us page, product pages, and customer testimonials. You should also listen to any interviews with senior management, as these can often give insight into what the company cares about and its current goals.

Once you've researched the company, read the job description in full. The job post contains the duties and responsibilities of the position. These are hints you can drop in your interview to show them that you've done your research. It's also a good idea to include these keywords or phrases in your resume to beat automated resume screening.

Related: How to create a STAR resume

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2. Get clear on why you want the job

Once you've done your research, it's time to think about answering this question for yourself. You need to be excited about the position.

Jot down a list of what you're hoping to achieve if you get the job, why you're excited about the opportunity, and how it could help you win your career. Consider how getting this job could help you and your family.

By writing these out before your interview, you'll be able to articulate why you're excited about the position when you're in the discussion. If it's your dream job, tell the interviewer! Show your enthusiasm!

Remote work job interview

3. Sell yourself by matching your skills, qualifications, and experience to the job

Now you have a list of your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience alongside why you're excited about the job. The next step is to think about selling yourself to the interviewer.

When hiring managers ask, "Why do you want this job?" They're giving you an excellent opportunity to sell yourself and explain why you'd be a valuable addition to the team.

When you're developing your answer, remember to include the specific terms or keywords you found in the job description, as well as any information you learned about the company from your research. While this isn't necessarily a behavioral interview question, you may find it helpful to use the STAR interview technique to structure your answer.

Job interview

4. Show you how you fit into the company culture

You've sold yourself. Now it's time to explain why you're a good fit for the company culture. If a particular company value or goal resonates with your values and goals, be sure to mention it.

Not only will this reinforce that you've done your research, but it'll also emphasize why you're the best candidate for the job.

Remote work job interview

5. Connect the job to your career goals

When answering "Why do you want this job?" the final element of your answer you should focus on is your career goals. You should be ready to share how this job fits into your career path and allows you to develop as a professional.

If it's an entry-level position, talk about how you're excited to join the industry and learn from the hiring manager. If you're making a career change, talk about how you have the skills from your previous roles to succeed. If it's a step up from your last position, talk about why you're excited to level up.

Explaining to the interviewer that you believe you could grow and improve in the role will convince them that hiring you is a worthy investment. You'll get extra points if you can show why you'd be likely to stick around for an extended period.

Job interview preparation

6. Practice, practice, practice

Once you've developed your answer to this question, you need to practice it aloud. Ideally, ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview where they ask you a variety of interview questions.

Job interview

Example answers to "Why do you want this job?"

Below are some of the best sample answers to "Why do you want this job?" Customize these answers to fit your particular situation.

Job interview

Sample answer #1: Research on the company

"Stripe has a fantastic reputation. I have a few former colleagues working here, and I've seen how much Stripe's mission to increase the GDP of the Internet bleeds into everything you do. I helped Bolt build its one-click checkout, and I believe I could contribute significantly to the development of Stripe Checkout."

Why it works: Recruiters love candidates who are passionate about company values. Highlighting an aspect of their culture shows you've done the research. This particular candidate has also highlighted that they've worked at a competing product, which implies they understand their problems and have relevant experience.

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Sample answer #2: Enthusiasm for the opportunity

"I love Opendoor's mission to empower everyone with the freedom to move. I previously co-founded a real estate startup and ran the product management function, so I have firsthand experience in the industry. I know my skills and experience will help me hit the ground running."

Why it works: This answer shows the interview you've researched the company and have a good sense of the company mission. With this response, the candidate outlines what drew them to the role and how their experience will help them excel.

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Sample answer #3: Skills and qualifications

"I'm interested in this software engineering position at Loom because it revolves around two of my greatest strengths: React and JavaScript. I've worked solely at JavaScript companies, and optimizing the performance of large-scale JavaScript projects is something I excel at and enjoy. Seeing the impact of my work at Vercel and witnessing it cascade across our customer base and the open-source community was immensely satisfying.

I know Loom is operating at a similar 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 you've read the job description, researched the company, and understand how you could contribute to their mission. It also shows that you know Vercel's tech stack and how your skills and prior experience relate.

Office

Sample answer #4: Values and company culture

"I'm passionate about NFTs and Web3 in general, and Foundation is a market leader in both categories. I've been a fan of your product design from afar and have taken inspiration from you in my previous role to build out a design system. I've also been working remotely for the last five years, I'm a fan of remote work and believe my skills make me a great fit for the product designer position."

Why it works: This answer shows your research, understanding of the industries they operate in, and your experience working remotely. It also shows you've thought about the team you'd be working in, understand their value, and outlined why you're a good fit.

Office worker

Sample answer #5: Career goals

"I've been working at Keeper Tax for several years, and while I value the friendships I've made and the skills I learned there, I'm ready for a new opportunity. What excites me about this position and Fonoa is learning about and selling a genuinely best-in-class tax platform.

While this role is a step up from my software engineer role, I'm excited to take on new challenges and grow into an engineering manager. My research has shown me that Fonoa 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 leave your current job and why you're excited about the role. It's a bonus that you've worked at a similar 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 know that the role is a step up from your current position and that you're ready to put in the work.

Coworkers

Sample answer #6: Passion for the company's products

"I love Twilio's mission to unlock the magic of communications. My parents were small business entrepreneurs who have transitioned from selling offline to selling online, and Twilio played a big part.

When we implemented Twilio's messaging features, we improved our average order size and repeat customer rate. I'm also a big fan of Twilio's tech stack, and I love Go!"

Why it works: You've got a passion for the product. You've done one better by being an active user!

Job interview

Tips for answering "Why do you want this job?"

  • Research the company: Interviewers look for signs of research. At a minimum, you should read the job description and company website. Ideally, you'd read recent articles, press releases, and the company's product pages too. Research gives you a sense of their current goals, projects, and values so you can tailor your answer to the company and position.
  • Make it obvious why you're a good fit: Be specific about your experiences, skills, and qualifications and why you're the best fit for the role. To prepare your answer, read the job description, note which requirements fit your skills and experience, then think about specific situations where you've demonstrated those requirements. Use the STAR method to explain your situation, tasks, actions, and results in your answer. Quantify any results where possible.
  • Emphasize how you can contribute: You need to emphasize what you can contribute to the company by mentioning any unique skills or work experience that make you a strong candidate. Wherever possible, use numbers to quantify the impact you can have. For example, if you brought in $5 million of new revenue, mention that, and say you could do the same for the company.
Zoom interview preparation

Mistakes to avoid when answering "Why do you want this job?"

  • Not talking about the company: You need to emphasize why you want to work there, which is why research is essential.
  • Memorizing your answer: Preparation is a must, but don't memorize your answer word for word. Not only will it come across as inauthentic, but it'll also prevent you from using the information you gain during the interview to improve your answer.
  • Focusing on yourself: Even if it's true, avoid mentioning compensation, hours, or commute time as your primary reasons for wanting the job. Focus your response on what you can bring to the company, not what the company can offer you.
  • Rehashing your resume: While you want to talk about why your experience makes you a good fit, don't go into lengthy descriptions of each role. Your focus should be on contributing to the company, so be selective about which experiences you choose to share.
  • Rambling: Keep your response under two minutes. More extended answers are hard to follow, and you risk losing the attention of your interviewer.
  • Bringing up irrelevant points: It can be tempting to mention all your achievements or accomplishments in an interview but avoid the temptation. Focus on what is relevant to the role and company.
Zoom interview

Possible follow-up answers


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