One of the most important questions you’ll ever be asked in an interview is, ‘Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman?’ Just kidding! (The answer is Batman BTW.)
The most important question actually is: Why do you want this job?
Deceptively simple, this question has the potential to make or break your chances of landing your dream job. But don’t fret, because we’re going to walk you through crafting the perfect response. Plus, we’ll go over a few common mistakes that people make, too, just for good measure.
Answering The Most Important Question
There are two parts to a great answer for “Why do you want this job?”
The first part of your answer should focus on the position you’re applying to. You want to start by describing why you’re interested in that specific job.
Say, for example, you’re in an interview for the position of—oh I don’t know—Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Your answer should therefore highlight your passion for plants and animals. Think about specific things you’ve done that would show this. For instance, maybe you were president of Hufflepuff’s Herbology club or grew up on a Mandrake farm. The key is to take something from your past experiences that shows an interviewer you’ll work hard and care about succeeding if you’re hired.
What most people think after answering that question.
The second part of your answer should focus on why you want to work at THIS company.
The key here is research, research, and more research. You want to find something unique and interesting about the company that shows you didn’t just skim the “About Us” section on its website. Make sure you find something specific and relevant to the position you want. There are plenty of resources where you can easily access this kind of information, like WayUp company profiles, podcasts, company blogs, etc.
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Some Common Interview Mistakes To Avoid
Even if you have the makings of a great answer, there are a couple common mistakes we’ve come across that will drive any interviewer insane.
The first is answering the phone with just a simple, “Hello.” or the painfully casual, “Hey.” This leaves interviewers responsible for following up with something like, “Is this Patrick?” and gives them unnecessary work.
A simple solution is to always answer the phone by saying, “Hello, this is Patrick.” If you’re answering a call for an interview, you want to sound as professional as possible. (Of course, don’t say “Patrick” unless that’s your name.)
The next problem is a bit harder to tackle: filler words. For those unfamiliar with filler words, I present exhibit A:
Don’t think Patrick gets too many second interviews.
We can promise that if you pepper your interview responses with “ummms,” “likes,” and “uhhhs,” then your chances of getting hired plummet. It makes you sound like you didn’t prepare ahead of time and don’t really care about the job.
The best way to avoid filler words is practice. Once you have your perfect response crafted, say it out loud over and over again until you’re reciting it in your sleep.
Do, however, leave some room for improvisation and try to sound natural. Some “likes” and “umms” are inevitable, but don’t make it seem like it’s a habit.
Think Before You Speak
If you’re applying for a job, make sure you know why you want it. Any interviewer worth her salt will want to know, so think about why the position and company are right for you. Answering this well will distinguish you as someone who’s not only qualified for a job but also ready to thrive and succeed in the long-run.
P.S. If you’re interested in seeing these techniques put into practice, check out my other article about how I landed a job by wearing mismatched socks!