Simple question, right? I interviewed just over sixty candidates last year for internal roles and one question I am sure to ask all is “why are you applying to this position?” It’s amazing that many cannot answer this simple question; moreover, answer it well. In this post, I want to provide you insight to the question, great answers and things you should never say.
First, let’s review what not to say. Here are some of my favorites, but not in a good way.
- “I just need a job”
- “My agent told me to come”
- “I want a permanent job”
- “I want to hear what you have to say”
- “Not sure”
- “The role sounded good”
- “You pay well”
- “I hear your company is fun”
- “I don’t know enough about your company yet to answer”
The question is asked because the company you are applying to wants to check if you have done your homework. If you are not willing, for whatever reason, to research the role and company for which you have applied and will interview for (the most important step), then chances are you won’t perform well in the role.
The interviewer wants to know what attracted you to the company and specifically the position. If you don’t know, I would recommend you don’t take the interview, because it will not turn out well.
So, how do you answer the question “why are you applying to our company and this position?” Well, the answers are many and varied. Most important to remember though is to research both company and position extremely well. When you do, you will find the answer to that question on your own and this is what is most important. One very good response I received recently was this:
“I would like to apply to the sales position for several reasons. First, I have read a lot about your company and I see that you are expanding and growing which creates opportunities for advancement if I am doing well. Second, I have researched the average length of employment for your company and most stay here for several years, which creates stability. Third, I know that I am expected to develop new business and to exceed customer expectations. Based on my skills and successful past working experience in a business development role, I am confident I can contribute to the on-going success of your company, create a long term and rewarding career for myself and provide the stability I need for my family.”
So, why are you applying to a specific company or position? Do your homework and find out your reason. Then share it passionately and professionally to the interviewer.
Treat this with importance, put in the effort and you will find the career opportunity that you have been searching for.
In the next post, I will provide ideas on questions to ask the interviewer that will highlight your strengths so that you can stand out from the crowd!