Wrong Answers to “Why Do You Want This Job?”

1. A flippant or meaningless answer.

“Because I really need money” [wink wink].

“Because, um, yeah, this seems like a great place to work.”

Not the response of a competent, committed candidate, right? A better answer would be to explain how the position will fit your skills and allow you to advance your career — a win-win for you and the employer.

2. A generic answer.

It’s not a good idea to memorize one answer and use it every place you apply. The hiring professional will recognize that it’s just pre-programmed interview-speak, and will have learned nothing about your suitability for the job. Since you are researching the company beforehand anyway (we certainly hope), take a couple of minutes to figure out why this specific position and/or employer is perfect for you.

3. A 10-minute dissertation.

OK, maybe not really 10 minutes, but do resist the tendency to babble on that happens to many of us when we’re nervous. Don’t list every little reason you’d like to work there, just the most important one or two. You especially don’t need to mention factors that only benefit you, not the company, such as its location close to your home.

As with any other interview question, the secret to a successful answer is to be prepared, and even more importantly, be yourself. That way, both you and the interviewer will know when you have truly found the right job.

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