Why Are You Interested in This Position? (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Why are you interested in this position? For being such a simple question, it can be surprisingly hard to answer well.

Sure, you could say that you need a paycheck, so you thought you’d give this job a whirl. But is that a good idea? Probably not.

As a candidate, you want to stand out for all of the right reasons. How you answer this question – or one like it – matters. Luckily, we have your back. If you want to make sure you’re ready to nail the “Why are you interested in this position?” job interview question, here’s what you need to know.

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?” – 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 one, 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?

Why are you interested in this position? It seems obvious, right? Well, it does to you, at least. The trick is, to the hiring manager, the answer to “Why do you want this job?” isn’t always clear.

Why? Because 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 (and over 45 percent choose the candidate who seems more enthusiastic over job seekers that doesn’t). 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 49 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.

Tips for Answering This Question

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.

So, what should you talk about? Well, the duties and responsibilities that genuinely speak to you is a great place to start. You can also tap on more, like how the job supports the broader mission and why that matters to you or how the position fits into your larger career plan.

Additionally, you want to be definitive when you answer. Getting wishy-washy isn’t going to work in your favor. So, make sure you don’t talk about “exploring your options” or anything like that if you want to land the role.

Your priority needs to be to craft a standout value proposition. Use this job interview question as an opportunity to showcase yours. Be excited. Be specific. And be clear about how what you bring to the table can help the company thrive.

How to Answer the Interview Question “Why Are You Interested in This Position?

Generally, when you need to answer “What interests you about this position?” you need to do at least three things. Here’s what they are:

      1. Express your excitement
      2. Discuss specific duties and responsibilities
      3. Showcase your value by aligning your skills with the job

Not sure how to pull that off? Well, you’re in luck. Here are three amazing example answers that you can use as a framework for your own tailored answer:

EXAMPLE ANSWERS:

1. Entry-Level – Software Developer

“As a recent college graduate, I’m excited to launch my IT career. During my studies, I had the opportunity to hone my software development skills, including my programming capabilities. This job will let me put my Python skills to work, as well as enhance them. Plus, I’ll have a chance to work as part of a highly-skilled team while helping the company achieve exceptional project outcomes for its client base.”

2. Middle Management – Human Resources

“During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to harness my recruitment, training, and personnel management skills. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to step up as a leader, taking on policy update projects as well as organize large-scale hiring events while overseeing a team of human resources professionals. I feel that, together, this has primed me for a management position. Not only will I be able to continue supporting an organization with its workforce needs, but I will also have a chance to coach and elevate a team of talented HR professionals, ensuring we can all be at our best and exceed expectations every step of the way.”

3. Executive – Finance

“During my finance career, I’ve had the opportunity to work for a wide range of companies, each with unique goals and priorities. This broadened my understanding of the field, allowing me to be agile in my decision-making, ensuring all choices align with greater missions and strategic objectives.I look forward to putting these skills to use, ensuring that I can keep my next employer financially on-target. My experience allows me to be an asset when it comes to strategic planning, and my past leadership roles showcase my ability to guide a talented team toward greater success.”

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 TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. 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.