How To Answer Why Are You Interested In This Position? (Sample Answers Included)

why are you interested in this position

By Mike Simpson

UPDATED 6/21/2022

When you’re applying for a job, you likely have a few reasons why you’ve decided to pursue the opportunity. However, that doesn’t mean you always know how to answer “Why are you interested in this position?” when the hiring manager asks.

In some cases, it’s because your motivations aren’t something you should discuss, like wanting a steady paycheck. Sometimes, it’s because you didn’t spend time really figuring out what “why.” Instead, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Fortunately, no matter your motivations, it’s possible to talk about what interests you about this position in a way that’ll impress. Here’s how.

Why Are You Interested in This Position vs. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Alright, before we dig into how to answer this question – and ones like “What interests you about this position?” or “Why are you interested in this job?” – let’s take a step back. It’s critical to understand how this question stands apart from another you might be asked: Why do you want to work here?

We’ve covered “Why do you want to work here?” in-depth before. When you answer that question, your goal is to explain what about the organization stands out to you. Maybe it’s the company’s culture, mission, or values that really resonate. Perhaps the products or services the business offers mean something special to you.

With “Why do you want to work here?” it’s all about the organization. It’s a big picture kind of question, and you need to treat it that way.

Alright, you’re probably wondering, “Then, what about ‘Why are you interested in this position?’”

In the simplest terms, “Why are you interested in this position?” is all about the job, not the company. It’s a question designed to help the hiring manager figure out why you want to take on the associated duties and responsibilities, and to make sure that you actually understand what the job entails.

The same goes for variants like “What interests you about this position?” and “Why do you want this job?” These are narrow questions. They are all about the role, and you need to make sure your answer is, too.

Why Does the Hiring Manager Ask This Question?

While why you are interested in this job may seem obvious to you, it isn’t always clear to the hiring manager. Candidate motivations can vary dramatically. Some job seekers might focus on income, while others may see a position as a skill-building opportunity. A candidate might use a job to get their foot in the door at an employer of choice, while others apply purely to satisfy the conditions of unemployment, as many states make actively seeking out work a requirement. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Hiring managers ask this question because they need to know which boat you’re in. By asking this question, they can find out.

Additionally, this question lets them find out how much you know about the job. If you can talk about specific duties, skills, or responsibilities, it shows you did your due diligence.

In the eyes of a hiring manager, that makes you look like a stronger candidate, as only passionate job seekers will go that extra mile. Hiring managers want to find candidates who actually find the role enticing. As Work It Daily puts it, “You can teach someone almost anything except enthusiasm.” That’s another reason why they ask this question.

Common Mistakes When Answering This Question

There are certain mistakes that candidates make over and over when answering. Luckily, they are easy to avoid. Let’s take a look at them.

First, whatever you do, don’t reply by saying, “I need a job.” One, that’s obvious. If you didn’t need a job, you wouldn’t have applied.

Two, it makes it seem like there’s nothing about this role that excites you. The hiring manager is going to assume that you’re just trying to land anything you can possibly find instead of focusing on opportunities that align with your skills and ignite your passion. That’s a great way to get sent right to the discard pile.

Another huge misstep is not getting specific. If you want to stand out to the hiring manager, you need to explain which duties and responsibilities really caught your eye. And, just like when you answer, “Why are you a good fit for this position?” you need to explain how your skills make you the perfect candidate. If you give general reasons, it makes it seem like you don’t understand what the job really involves, and that’s no good.

MIKE'S TIP: But what if the job description is incredibly vague? How do you get specific then? By doing your research. Head to job review sites to see if current or former employees talked about the role. Get on social media and look for people working in that position and read what they’ve shared. Research similar positions at the prospective employer’s competitors. Together, that should give you enough of an idea to create a great answer.

Also, don’t mention anything about money. While compensation is the most important factor for 63 percent of candidates, talking about money here isn’t a smart move. If you mention that the salary is what stood out, it makes it seem like you’re only about the money. That won’t endear you to the hiring manager.

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What Interests You About This Position? How To Form Your Answer Step-By-Step

So, let’s talk about how to create a standout answer for questions like “What interests you about this role?” and “Why are you interested in this job?” Luckily, it’s pretty easy to get headed in the right direction if you use the proper strategy.

Here’s a quick step-by-step process for answering, “Why are you interested in this position?”

1. Get to Know the Job

With questions like that and its alternatives – like “Why do you want this job?” – your focus needs to be on the nuances of the role. This is a nitty-gritty question. You really want to dig in and get specific.

Spend time reviewing the duties and responsibilities listed in the job description. Also, go over the must-have skills list several times. Learn as much as you can about what this job is about, and make a list of aspects that really pique your interest. That’ll become your starting point.

2. Research the Company

Next, you want to spend a little time getting to know the company. However, this isn’t about finding reasons to be impressed with the organization. Instead, you want to focus on how the company culture impacts the role and the employee experience, as those will can also become part of your answer.

Usually, you’ll want to start with the company website. After that, head to its social media profiles for additional details.

3. See What Others Are Saying

Once you’ve done some initial research into the company, it’s time to get some other perspectives. Look for media coverage discussing the organization. Also, see what current and former employees have to say.

If a member of your network either currently or formerly worked for the company, see if they’ll participate in an informational interview. That way, you can get insights from someone you know and trust, too.

4. Consider Your Career Trajectory

Taking a moment to reflect on your career trajectory might not seem necessary for this question, but that isn’t the case. If you can see how this job fits into your broader plan, you can share that with the hiring manager, making it easier to answer this question.

5. Gather Some Specifics

As you get ready to start forming your own answer, you’ll need to gather together some details. A few specifics help make your response more compelling, so find things you can directly reference or quote whenever possible.

6. Bring It All Together

Now that you have all of that information, it’s time to come up with an excellent response. You’ll focus on areas of alignment between your capabilities, what the job offers, and how it aligns with your goals. By doing that, you’ll nail this question with ease.

Sample Answers

1. Entry-Level – Software Developer

My main goal as I look to put my newly-earned degree to work is to land a position with long-term growth potential where I can also put my Python skills to work. Based on the job description, I see that Python programming is a significant part of the role. Additionally, this team has a reputation for being highly skilled and collaborative, which facilitates learning. Couple that with the company’s reputation for supporting the development of its workforce, and it seems like the perfect fit.

2. Entry-Level – Machine Operator

After completing the machining and manufacturing technology program at the local community college, I knew I wanted to put my skills to work with an employer of choice. ABC Company is known not just for being at the cutting edge of the industry – as marked by its recent award – it’s also widely recognized for going the extra mile for its workforce. As a result, I think this job isn’t just the foundation for a great career but a chance to learn, grow, and advance with a company that’s a hallmark in the industry.

3. Mid-Career Individual Contributor – Marketing

Currently, I’m looking to take the next step in my career. In my past role as a marketing assistant, I had the opportunity to provide support during the development of exciting campaigns for a few leading beverage brands. While that experience has been incredibly valuable, I know it’s time to move forward. In this job, I wouldn’t just put my wealth of knowledge to work, based on the job description, I’d have a chance to spearhead a project within the first 30 days, something that I greatly look forward to doing.

4. Middle Management – Human Resources

Over the past ten years, I’ve honed my skills in the field of human resources. Along with acquiring knowledge and skills relating to training, recruitment, and onboarding, I’ve had a chance to coach others entering the field and support large projects where I oversaw teams of skilled professionals. Based on that, I feel it’s time to make a transition into management. That’s why this job is particularly appealing. Along with the company’s solid reputation and its dedication to diversity and inclusion, I’d be overseeing a skilled team, giving me a chance to coach others toward success while I worked to ensure the company’s larger goals are met.

3. Executive – Finance

During my career in finance, I’ve worked for companies of all sizes. While there is some appeal to large enterprises, I’ve found that mid-size organizations are the ideal option. My experience with strategic planning can make a significant difference, but the company is still small enough to maintain that family feel.

Leaders get to not just make a difference but see their impact first-hand in the growth of their teams and departments. That really speaks to my desire to not just steer a company toward success but to support every employee in my area. That’s why this job felt like such as strong match, as it brings together my goal of building talented teams with my expertise in forwarding grander financial missions.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, answering, “Why are you interested in this position?” doesn’t have to be a challenge. Use the tips above, and you’ll be able to craft a standout answer that’ll increase your odds of landing the job.

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.