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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why Do You Want This Job?

I am a graduate looking for jobs. I frequently attend interviews and I am asked “ Why do you want to join this job?” I actually couldn’t reply anything.

In the same way I got a interview call from another company in India. They have a opening for software engineer job. They have asked me to update my details and have to write “Reason why I am interested in this job” in 300 words. Could you please help me out in this.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but no. I can't help you. Why? Because not only do I not want a job as a software engineer, my desire to move to India is, well, low.

But apparently you want to be a software engineer. That is good. Now tell me why you want to work for this company? IF you don't want to work for the company don't bother going through with the application.

They want to know why you want to work there because they want someone who wants this job, not just a job. They want to know if you've done your homework about the company. They want to know what you know about the company and why you will be a good fit. What is it about this company that makes you want to work there.

Since the position is for a software engineer and they are only looking for 300 words, they aren't after brilliant prose that will be published in the company newsletter. They just want to know why you want to work for this company.

Stop overthinking it, and just write out a draft. Have some trusted friends review it and make the necessary changes. If you don't know why you would want to work for this company, find out. Do your research. Find out.

My guess is that you didn't write a cover letter when you applied. I could be wrong, but a cover letter should establish why you want to work for this particular company.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

EHRL is (as usual!) absolutely right – the company wants someone who wants this job. I don’t recruit much any more, but when I do I always ask that question. I work for a non-profit, and motivation for the role is really key. If you can’t answer the question of why you want to work there, why did you even apply? Rather than just thinking ‘I need a job’, which is frankly what comes across from your question (so think what the interviewer is getting from you), actually think about what you want to do, and where, and then you will be in a much better position to answer this. Look at the company’s values, market position, intentions, and see if they fit with yours. If they do, then there is a reason to work for them. Then look at how the job fits with what you want to do – again, another reason. But you do need to start thinking, not just randomly applying!

Surya said...

Is it just me, or does the letter writer sound a bit apathetic? It would be nice if she could talk to someone she trusts about what she want to do in her life and what kind of a job she is looking at.

Alison said...

I think this is not an uncommon quandary for recent grads who are new the job market and haven't quite figured out how this whole job thing works yet. It sound like the letter-writer hasn't spent a lot of time on introspection about his/her career goals, may not yet have the experience to know what he/she wants in a job or company, and is feeling a little lost. I think when people are in that position, it can feel really frustrating to be faced with these questions that seem like par for the course to the rest of us.

EHRL has given really good advice for getting yourself out of that position!

Unknown said...

When I ask that question I really want to know Why do you want to work for my Company, not even necessarily this position. If the person can't tell me anything about the company or the position they applied for, I pretty much pass right away. Come On! With the Internet, it doesn't take 10 minutes of research to tell me about my company's history, our current locations, what business we are even in.

We are a natural stone fabricator/distributor and I have had people in the interview ask me, what is it you all do again? NEXT!

I want someone to tell me that they want to work for this company because of something they saw on our website or in the press. (Google will give you that info too) "I visited your website and the products you supply are absolutely beautiful and the position seems like a great fit for my background. The pictures of such-and-such home were truly breathtaking. How is a product like that installed" Okay, I am interested now. At least I know you have done some research.

I am going to agree with the above posters. This person is just trying to search out what they really want to do and are applying to everything. Although, they could be honest and say that they don't know much about what they want to do, but after doing some research the company/position is very interesting and something they could see as a starting point for their career or even a place to find a longterm home.

Anonymous said...

I always love the person who asks me when I call "what job is this for again?". I can tell they're pretty interested in working for us. LOL.

Anonymous said...

As a former hiring manager this used to be one of the first questions I'd ask during an interview. This was a typical "weed out" question. Passable responses would be along the lines of, "well I love X industry/job and have a passion for Y and I think this job fits in with my goals/aspirations." Answers such as "I just need a job" or "I got laid off from my last job and this seemed like something I could do" (both real, verbatim answers people gave me) got an automatic "no hire" recommendation.

Why? Because I'm looking for someone with emotional intelligence in addition to whatever skills are needed to perform the job. You can be a genius software engineer (and there are many out there) but have extremely poor social skills that will make you difficult to work with. As a manager I obviously would prefer someone who is smart AND easy to work with.

Infamous HR Guy said...

I want to move to India because I was told that for $10US I can live like a king.... haha... please note the *sarcasm*

Rachel - former HR blogger said...

It's a b.s. question just to get you to suck up. Learn a little about the company and use it.

For example:
1. Great reputation
2. Top of the industry
3. Commitment to quality
4. Known for treating employees well.

Anonymous said...

The writer should also contact the university's career development office. They may have resources the writer can tap to help with their interviewing techniques and help focus their job search.

And it is the first question I ask. If there is no interest in us as an organization, I am likely to have little interest in the candidate.

Lea Setegn said...

When I work with someone to write a resume, my client is always surprised when I ask questions like, "What type of jobs do you want to apply for?" Everyone I've worked with -- and currently, I'm doing free resumes for friends to build referrals and success stats -- is surprised that writing a resume requires more effort than handing me a list of places they've worked. Even when I explain how the process of talking to me about what they want and why they want it will help them get interviews AND help them answer interview questions, I always get tons of resistance.

Through personal experience and through the HR reading I've done, I've learned that it takes more than wanting to be employed to get a job. It's a concept that seems to be self-evident, but job hunters don't get it, even after they've taken the step to request help with a resume. It's a problem that I haven't figured out how best to resolve for my clients.

Evil HR Lady said...


I've seen the exact same thing as well. Drives me nuts.

Dataceptionist said...

If you honestly can't think of a single reason you want a particular job, do the company a favour and don't apply for it.
If you can't muster a single good point about THIS job, you need more guidance than a blog can give you. Go see a counsellor.

Unknown said...

Great point Lea.

I also ask applicants what other jobs they have applied for. If I am interviewing for a Customer Service person and they tell me that they are applying for "anything that I think I can do" it just shows me that they aren't really interested in my company as they are in the paycheck from my company.

Andy Lester said...

It's absolutely not a BS question. I tell people that I have one position on my team, and I want to make damn sure that I get the right person for the job. I don't want just anyone on my team. If someone wants just any old job, they can go and get just any old job somewhere else, but not on my team.

Anonymous said...


i never ask that question since i'm not interested in azz-kissers.

as though 99% applicants aren't just trying to find a decent job with a decent company in their field. please!

if someone is interested enough to go through the hiring process, i don't expect them to have breathlessly anticipated employment with my company since they were just 'yay-high'.

let's get real, people.

Alison said...

Anonymous, are you kidding? Of course working for you doesn't need to be a lifelong dream, but they need to be able to explain why they're interested in this particular job, rather than just any old job. They need to be able to explain how they see this position fitting in with their overall goals and career path. That's part of getting a sense of how thoughtful the candidate has been about the match and how motivated he/she is to do this particular job. Good interviews can detect ass-kissing; it's not about that.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with September 20 on this one.

I really think that many of us take not only ourselves but particularly the questions we ask far too seriously.

The whole point of the interview is to see if we like the person. Nothing more, nothing less. I prefer to think of them as a discussion, rather than an interview.

These sort of questions are really quite pointless. You either get some canned response that they read in the latest 'interview tips' book (or these days blog I guess), or you get a dumbfounded, even insulted look from the applicant.

I wouldn't say this if it wasn't something I'd tried. I was an asker of such asinine questions early on in the game. But time after time I saw that they really didn't achieve anything.

There are other, far superior ways to establish what knowledge an applicant has of the organization than to rattle off a handful of canned questions and then accept their canned responses.

margotdarby said...

Barry has it right, I think. We have to lighten up, treat the interview 'questions' as something akin to social niceities and smalltalk.

NEVERTHELESS, there are a lot of crap jobs out there, and good jobs that look like crap when you present yourself. We need crap jobs, they make the world go 'round. But interviewers and recruiting people need to face up to this and stop asking their potential recruits to bark and slobber over a dish of cold lima beans.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Rachel and Anonymous. I know how to answer this question in an interview, but it's ALWAYS a BS answer. Truth is, I am a loyal, hard working and dedicated employee and I would be such at any organization I worked for. Do you really think people are out there just applying for your particluar company?

Anonymous said...

Well, as much silly it sounds to persons receiving this question it is even weirder asking it. I have been in the seat, seeing the resume the covering letter and yet asking this dumb question! Part of the interview i guess!!

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Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Mr. Anonymous September 20, 2008 1:00 AM


I am sick of @#$%^&* like ASK A MANAGER and similar kind of "hiring specialist"...

I NEED A JOB.....not THE job... And, now, I have to LIE and tell #$%^&*() and ll the best about the company I cannot know very well.... because I wanna be hire.... STUPID and "made in USA" question! Everybody can prepare asnwers on questions and 99% LIE and tell glorious things about the company and similar @#$%^&* .... and...WHAT?


Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Mr. Anonymous September 20, 2008 1:00 AM


I am sick of @#$%^&* like ASK A MANAGER and similar kind of "hiring specialist"...

I NEED A JOB.....not THE job... And, now, I have to LIE and tell #$%^&*() and ll the best about the company I cannot know very well.... because I wanna be hire.... STUPID and "made in USA" question! Everybody can prepare asnwers on questions and 99% LIE and tell glorious things about the company and similar @#$%^&* .... and...WHAT?


maifa said...


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Pls try to keep posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Job interview questions and answers

Best regards