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Published
May 20, 2020
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Updated
July 29, 2022

How to Answer: Why Are You Applying For This Position?

Dave Fano

When you are interviewing be prepared to explain, why you are applying for this position. Companies want to know why you are leaving your current job or don't currently have one.

When you are interviewing be prepared to explain, why you are applying for this position. Companies want to know why you are leaving your current job or don't currently have one.

Below we will help you best answer this question. We will break it down for both an in-person interview and an online application.

On a job application

If you are filling out a job application, the company might ask why you are applying for the role. Make sure you take some time to think about the reasons that led you to apply. If you are simply looking for a larger paycheck, don't write that as your answer.

Here are some good thought starters to help you answer this question.

  • My skills and experience make me a great candidate for the job.
  • I have been out of work for some time and am ready to take on my next challenge.
  • I want to work at a company that has similar values to myself.
  • I am looking to switch into this industry.
  • A current employer of yours recommended me for the position.

You want your answer to be a strong introduction to your resume and experience. It allows you to add context to your professional background. You can address questions that would come up in an interview.

For example, did you take a break from work for a period of time? Or have you had a lot of jobs in a short amount of time?

Show why you are interested in the opportunity in a way that will benefit your application. Your answers will help determine if you get to the next step in the process so you want to make them count.

During a job interview

Each company you interview with will want to know what you made you apply. Think about why you want this job and how you can tailor your answer to give the best reason.

You want to get the interviewer excited about you and also be impressed. Think about what you would want to hear if you were conducting the interview.

Before you interview, practice your answer to this question. It will most likely be asked early on so you want to start off on a strong foot. Let's break down how to put your answer together.

Think about why you are applying for the job. What motivated you in the first place? Are the specific examples from your previous experience that are relevant to your answer.

It might be helpful to make a list of all the reasons you are looking for a new job and why you chose this role specifically.

  • This job meets my career goals
  • After working at the same company for many years I could use a change
  • Moving to a different industry
  • Someone referred you
  • You feel it's time to advance your career
  • You love what the company has to offer
  • After doing research, you feel your knowledge would be best suited to a new company

Once you have your list, what would the interviewer most want to hear? Avoid using salary as a reason. You also don't want to speak negatively about your current company or employers.

Focus your answer on your personal career and experience. If you recently discovered your career passion and the position aligns with it, that's a great reason to share. Prepare your answer to really speak to the job description and how that is related to your skills.

You want to demonstrate that you would like to work at their company and believe you are the right candidate for the job. Even if you still have questions about the job, you want the people you are speaking to thinking you are the perfect fit.

Formulating your answer to the question: Why are you applying for this position?

As you finalize your answer consider running it by a mentor or friend. Have a sample answer or two and get their feedback. What aspects of your background and where you are in your career have led you to apply to the job? 

Think big picture and your long term plans.

What makes the most sense and works best to answer why you applied to the position? What information did you learn about the company and the work you would be doing at the job? Does your experience work well for the open position and also make you want to get the job?

Once you have answered these questions start putting your final answer together. Search the company's website and reread the job description.

The more in-sync with their values your answer is the better you will be. Your career goals will be reached by putting in a little preparation for each interview question and answer that is thrown your way!

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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