Why are you interested in this position?
This is one of the first questions you’ll be asked in an interview, and your answer can set the tone for the rest of the interview. While there aren’t any definitively right or wrong answers, there are two major mistakes you should avoid. How can you answer this question in a way that impresses the hiring manager and gets you hired?
The hiring manager wants to know how you’ll benefit the company. Your talent and skills are only part of the equation that gets you hired. There are plenty of people who will be interviewing who will also be talented and skilled, so you have to set yourself apart when answering this question.
Most commonly, people will answer the question by talking about how their skills sets make them a perfect fit or how they’re passionate about the type of work the positions requires. While one or both of these things may be relevant, neither tells the company why you want to work specifically for them.
Mistake #1: You only talk about yourself.
The job interview is about you and how you’ll fit into the company. If you simply list your skills and qualifications, you’re only telling them what they already know from reading your resume and cover letter. Help the hiring manager understand why you’re a good fit by aligning your skills, talents, and interests with the company’s mission. Don’t just talk about being skilled in programming, explain how you’ll use those skills.
Solution #1: Talk about how you’ll benefit the company.
Show the hiring manager that you’re truly interested in working at the company, and not just getting a paycheck from any place that’s willing to pay you. Talk about what it is that attracted you to apply to this particular company, such as the culture or how they give back to the community. Avoid joking about ‘just needing a paycheck’, or elaborating on overly personal reasons, like the fact that it’s a shorter commute or it’s near your favorite restaurant downtown.
Mistake #2: You don’t stop talking.
There is such a thing as too much detail in an answer. You want to paint a picture, not narrate a novel. The danger in lengthy answers is that you can end up rambling and bringing up points that simply aren’t relevant. The hiring manager will also stop listening as intently the longer you talk, so you run the risk of them not hearing something important.
Solution #2: Be concise.
Make sure that you’re answering the questions directly and not adding in any unnecessary details. Your answers should highlight the top points or reasons, not every single one of them. If you know that you’re prone to lengthy answers, practice keeping them short. Create a list of talking points that you want to mention, and prioritize them. This ensures that if you’re cut off mid-answer, you’ll have already mentioned the most important things.
As much as a job interview feels like it’s all about you, it’s really about how you will fit into the company and the role. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be able to answer the questions in a way that sets you apart from the other candidates.