How to Answer a Job Interview’s ‘Why’ Questions

Being able to articulate why you want the position — and why the company should want you — can make all the difference.

Published: Dec 7, 2021

Timothy hopes to get a new job in early 2022 and is spending his free time preparing for interviews. As part of his preparation, he’s making a list of all the potential ”why” questions he’ll have to answer and practicing his responses.

Almost 50% of candidates fail the job interview because they don’t have enough information about the company they're applying to, according to the website Legaljobs.

“Job seekers should prepare to talk about their passion and their knowledge of the industry, company, and position –– as well as salary and logistics like start time and location,” says David Meintrup, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.

Here are our tips for answering “Why do you want to work at this company?” and some of the other important interview questions.

Job seekers should prepare to talk about their passion and their knowledge of the industry, company, and position –– as well as salary and logistics like start time and location.

Why the “Why?” matters so much.

Interviewers know that your desire to work for the company and in the role could be direct indicators of how motivated you’ll be to show up and produce positive results,” says Ryan Frechette, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.

The interviewers need to assess whether this will just be another job to you or an opportunity where you’re excited about contributing, innovating, and tackling the challenges that will be presented. That’s why they’re likely to probe to find out whether you’ve done the necessary research to understand the company, the industry trends, and other factors relevant to the role.

Why this company?

It’s important in the beginning stages of your job search to target companies you really want to work for, even if that means casting a smaller net of applications. If you genuinely want to work for the company, you’ll have plenty to say when you answer this question –– about the firm’s work culture, mission and values, its learning and growth opportunities, the products or services you’ll be creating, and so on.

When your values are in alignment with the company’s values, your answers will come across as honest and sincere.

Why this position?

Answering why you will excel at the position requires talking about specific aspects of the role that you enjoy and how you’ve made an impact doing this kind of work in the past. Career experts recommend talking about the connection between the job you’re pursuing and the bigger picture of the company’s goals.

It’s also important to demonstrate your professional-growth mindset by sharing how you look forward to learning and developing through the exposure to new people, relationships, technologies, and processes.

Why are you a good fit?

“Why should we hire you?” can be one of the toughest questions in the interview. Candidates need to assert why they’re a great fit for the role and come across as confident –– but not arrogant.

"Dissect the job description, and read between the lines to understand what kind of candidate they’re looking for,” Frechette says. Then, you can strike the right tone by talking about your top strengths and most relevant experiences in the context of how they will contribute to this particular role and company. 

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