This question usually comes early on in the interview, often being used by the interviewer as an icebreaker. It’s considered one of the easier interview questions, but there’s definitely a right way to answer it.

Although this is meant as an easy question, there are a few things you’ll need to include:

1.   Your core messages – why you’re qualified/how you can benefit the company. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, I’ll explain more below.

2.   The reason the role excites you

3.   The fact that you understand the job

4.   The fact that you want this job, not just any job at the company

5.   The way the job connects to your career plan

6.   The fact that you intend to stay in the job for awhile

You can see that even though this isn’t meant as a complicated question, it has some elements that you might want to brainstorm about before your interview.

1.   Core messages

As you probably know, the idea in an interview is to “sell yourself’“ to the interviewer. This is also known as talking about your strengths, and is a way to convince the interviewer you’re the best candidate.

Core messages are your strengths. Education, experience, skills, and successful projects are all possible core messages. Personality traits like “hard working” or “self-starter” are not good to use as strengths.

Here’s a basic outline for how to use core messages to answer this question.

Why do you want this job?

I want this job because it will allow me to use my skills in X, Y, and Z (your core messages).

2.   Why the role excites you

You have to show interest in the actual work.

If you want the job because the department is working on some type of cool technology that you’re interested in, that’s a good thing to use as an answer.

Or maybe the role is the same thing you do now but on a larger scale – that’s also a legitimate answer you can use.

The key is that you sound interested in doing the work. Not just in getting a job, but in getting this job in particular.

3.   Show that you understand the job

You’ll need to read the job description and think about it before you go to the interview. If you tell the interviewer that you want this job because you love doing X, but X isn’t a very large part of the job, then they’ll know you don’t understand what the job is and that’s a red flag.

Or if you say that the job “sounds great” or something else general like that they’re going to wonder if you even bothered reading the job description.

4.   Yes, this is a great company, but…

You can talk about how the company is great, but you need more. You need to show interest in the job, not just the company. You’re not going to be working for the broader company in your day-to-day work, you’re going to be doing a very specific job in a specific department.

If the company is famous, like Amazon, people are excited to work there simply because it’s famous. Being excited about the company is okay, but that isn’t a reason they’ll hire you.

5.   How the job connects to your career plan

Give a sentence or two to give the listener some context for why you’re there. You don’t need to give a lengthy explanation.

You’ll need to do this especially if the job is different from roles you’ve had before – if it’s in a new field, if it’s a downward move, or if it’s a sideways move.

6.   The job isn’t just a step along the way

Show that you’re interested in the job for itself, not because it will help you get a better job afterward. Of course all jobs should help you with your career, but you don’t want to sound like you’ll leave six months after you start. Do you sound like you’ll be satisfied doing the job for at least two years before you leave? If not, that’s a negative.

You need to add these points into your answer, or else the interviewer will probably hire someone who does.

Good sample answer for “Why do you want this job”

QA Manager

Why do you want this job?

“I want this job because I know I can use my skills to make your products better. Based on what I know about the Amazon brand and its products, I know how important quality is to you, and that’s what I bring. Jeff Bezos once said that “The best customer service is none” and the best way to achieve zero customer service is impeccable quality. Your customers expect and demand quality. I spent many years in the QA trenches, working on some of the most demanding software projects in the world. I’ve had to use every trick in the QA book to make sure we were shipping products that were bug-free, performant, and useable. I’ve done everything from basic regression testing to overseeing the creation of a suite of QA automation tools. On the development side, I pride myself on 100% unit test coverage, and demand the same from my reports. On the front end, I wrote selenium tests for a massive web application that had several different user types and a distinct UI for each them. The more complex the system, the more rigorous the QA.”

Posted by Jennifer Scupi, CPS’06 — originally posted by Jennifer on LinkedIn.

What are your thoughts about effective interviewing?