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How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

Learn why interviewers ask “Why Are You Interested in This Position?” and what elements to focus on in your answer. Tips and sample answers included.
How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

Certain questions in a job interview can make candidates (and even recruiters) roll their eyes because of how overplayed they are. “Why are you interested in this position?” is pretty high on that eye-roll list.

But this question is not a hurdle. If anything, it’s an opportunity for you to shine through and showcase your skills and resourcefulness.

All it takes is a bit of preparation and background knowledge on why they ask this question and what you should cover in your answer.

In this article, you’ll get to know:

  • Why interviewers ask “why are you interested in this position?”
  • How to prepare for this question and ace your answer
  • Common mistakes to avoid when answering “why are you interested in this position?”
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What Are Interviewers Looking for When They Ask “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

In summary: Interviewers ask this question (and its variations) to check if your long-term career goals fit with the position, how you plan to contribute to the company, and your dedication and enthusiasm for this specific role. To prepare for this question, research the company, know exactly how your skills align with the position, and reiterate how the position fits into your long-term career goals and plans.

These are variations of this question the interviewer might ask you:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What interests you about this position?
  • Why are you applying for this position?

And they ask these questions because they want to know:

  • If your career goals are aligned with the position
  • If you’re sincerely motivated
  • How you can contribute to the team
  • If you’ll stick around or jump ship at the first opportunity

When answering this question, it’s important to highlight your specific interest in the position rather than the company. Sure, you can’t escape talking about the company, especially if it’s your dream place to work, but this question is more about the day-to-day duties in your potential new job and your ability to do them well.

“Why are you interested in this position?” is a very similar question to “Why do you want to work here?” — but the angle is slightly different. Read this guide to know how to answer the latter: How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” (Examples)

And don’t forget to prepare for all other interview “classics:”

How to Prepare for the Question

In summary: Research the company starting from browsing their website and social media, to checking platforms like Glassdoor and forums like Quora or Reddit for first-hand information from past and current employees. You can also get in touch with these people to ask about company values and other significant information.

Then, carefully read the job description to spot key responsibilities and skills needed for this role and figure out if and how your experience and skills match the role.

Finally, make sure you’re genuinely interested in this role and that it fits into your career plans and interests, as that’s the only way you can be successful and satisfied in the long run.

Unless you prepare in advance, you won’t give them a good, informative answer that conveys your enthusiasm and qualifications. To prepare, you need to:

  1. Research the company
  2. Know how your skills align with the role
  3. Understand how the role fits into your career plan

Research the company

Having a solid grasp of the company will help you figure out if the role is right for you, if you’re a cultural fit, and if you can be successful and contribute in a meaningful way.

Here’s a little checklist to start researching the company:

  • Visit their website (look for their mission, vision, values, and typical employees).
  • Check out their social media accounts to feel the tone and figure out the culture.
  • Look for the latest news about the company to stay in the loop.
  • Check out platforms like Glassdoor to see the experiences of current and past employees.
  • Check forums like Reddit or Quora, as they’re often full of relevant information you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.
  • Ask around and talk to current or past employees.

Doing this will help you figure out what the company needs, how you can help with them, and if you even belong in that position/company.

If you want more ideas on how to research the company and get ahead of your competition, check out this guide: The Job-Seeker’s Guide to Company Research.

Know how your skills align with the role

Study the job description carefully and then figure out how that role fits into the company’s system. Look for keywords that reveal key responsibilities and skills needed for the position and figure out what daily work in that role looks like, to whom you would report, and the team(s) you’d collaborate with.

Take a look at the job ad for a Customer Service role below, where we underlined keywords that inform candidates about the basics of the position.

Job ad example

Although this is a CS role, it’s different from a CS role in a call center, for example, where a person would need to take calls and handle customer problems or inquiries.

Pro tip: This brings us to another important point — make sure to research the industry, as the same role tends to have slightly different responsibilities (and relevant skills) from industry to industry and from company to company.

Finally, do a self-assessment to figure out if your skills align with the job requirements. Write down a list of your key hard and soft skills and how they might help you solve problems and be successful in a new role.

Understand how the role fits into your career plan

During the interviewing process, address growth opportunities within the company you’re applying for. Check if the skills and experience you’ll gain in the new role align with your long-term career objectives, and make sure you’re happy with the compensation and benefits package.

For this, you’ll need to do a lot of self-reflection to assess your goals and values. Do you want to be a leader? Or are you happy with deepening your expertise? What are the strengths and values you deem important in the workplace?

How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Role?”

In summary: Show your genuine enthusiasm and start your answer on a positive note.

Single out your main motivation for applying for this job: it can be the alignment between the job and your skills, your passion for the industry, interest in the company, career progression, and similar.

Bring up specific pieces of information you obtained during your research to showcase your interest and resourcefulness.

Finally, make sure this role is relevant and connected to your long-term career goals and emphasize that in your answer.

Now that you’ve run a background check, done a self-assessment, and have the relevant info, let’s see how you can best answer the question “Why are you interested in this role?”

Start on a positive note

Start your answer on a positive note, expressing your excitement about the job.

Besides your experience and skills, what will help you stand out from the competition is your sincere enthusiasm. Make sure to mention what excites you about the position — bonus points if that motivation is intrinsic (personal satisfaction or sense of purpose or achievement) instead of extrinsic (salary or benefits).

Open with one “main” motivator

For a snappier intro to the answer, choose one main motivator for your interest in the position and bring it up.

Examples of motivators are:

  • The alignment between the job requirements and your skills
  • Your passion for the industry or field
  • Your interest in the company, alignment with its values or mission
  • The impact you can make through your experience
  • Growth and development opportunities; your career progression
  • Any other factor, as long as it’s sincere and realistic

Here’s what Nate Nead, the CEO of RecruitersCO, had to say about his favorite answer to the question “Why do you want this job”:

My favorite answer was given by a candidate who was applying for the role of Chief Compliance Officer at an investment bank. He said, “Well, I never remember telling my mom when I was a kid: ‘I want to be a Chief Compliance Officer when I grow up.’ But I’ve truly gained a passion for working in regulation and compliance, and your opening just ticks all the boxes for me.”

See? Your answer doesn’t have to be glossy or exaggerated. Keep it simple but honest and you will do a great job.

Pro tip: In addition to one “main” motivator we discussed above, include all the other relevant reasons that make you want the role. The more genuine you are, the better.

If your main motivation is career growth and development, you can talk about how the position is the perfect next step for you. Then, you can throw in all the relevant skills you have that will help you get up to speed and develop quickly, and how you’d like to contribute to the company. If their values resonate with you, explain why.

Or, if the position simply ticks all your boxes, explain why it is so. Emphasize your experience and why it aligns with the job, talk about your motivation, explain why you like the benefits the company offers, and express your enthusiasm.

At the end of the day, the best answer will be a truthful one. Sure, you could wing it and go with something generic, but nothing will beat genuine motivation.

Show your research and understanding of the role

Now is the time to show off all the information you have.

If you do your research properly, you’ll be able to prove why you’re a good fit and showcase your understanding of the role.

Pro tip: When doing your research, keep your mind open to new ideas. If you see a gap that you could fill in for the prospective company, or something that can be fixed or improved — bring it up. It will show not only that you’re resourceful, but also that you have enough knowledge and relevant experience to spot areas of improvement and make strategic decisions on how to do it.

For example, imagine you’re a Social Media Manager who applied for a role in a B2B SaaS company. During your research of their social media channels, you noticed a lack of content variety (say, they mainly post textual product updates and their audience doesn’t engage with it). During your interview, you could bring it up and elaborate on your ideas on how to fix this.

A “green flag” for me is when a candidate talks about how they can contribute to our team. If they speak about specific strategies or ideas they have for our marketing or sales processes, that’s awesome (even if the strategies aren’t really viable, it shows they’re proactive).

Laia Quintana, Head of Marketing and Sales at GoTeamUp.

Briefly connect the job with your long-term career objectives

Even if this isn’t one of your key motivators, find a way to briefly describe how and why the job fits with your long-term career goals.

Interviewers want to know that this is the right path for you, and they want you to feel in place and fulfilled — because happy employees are usually the best.

“Why Are You Interested in This Job?”: Sample Answers

No experience, HR

I’d like to work in this role because it aligns perfectly with my degree in Human Resources Management. I have a solid foundation in HR principles, and I’m eager to put all the theory I’ve learned into practice. Last summer, I completed my internship at a trucking and logistics company where I had the chance to cover all areas of HR, from recruiting and document-keeping to performance management and training and development. I enjoyed recruiting the most, and I promised myself I would try to land a job in that area and deepen my expertise as much as I could. I recently read Vine Daily’s interview with your Head of HR and was amazed by the expertise and community involvement of your company. So when I saw the opening, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me.

Why we like it: The candidate emphasized the alignment between their formal education and the role. They expressed their eagerness to learn, displayed they did their research and knew about the company and its initiatives. Finally, they elaborated on their internship experience to show what kind of knowledge they are bringing to the table as a starting point.

Mid-level, Sales

I’m drawn to this role because I’ve been in Sales for a while now and already have a solid grasp of building meaningful connections and closing deals that matter. In my last role, I closed a $250K deal that exceeded our revenue targets by 15%. I’m also people-oriented and a natural problem-solver, and your platform does exactly that. I love your cause and the fact that you helped over 10k students land scholarships worldwide — I think our values are aligned and I’d love to contribute to and learn from your team. Plus, I would learn a lot about the education industry, which is new to me, and expand my professional horizons.

Why we like it: The candidate emphasized their competency for the role and backed it up with their biggest professional achievement. They also mentioned shared values and enthusiasm for the company’s product, as well as openness to learning and acquiring new skills.

Senior-level, Marketing

Why we like it: The answer checks all the boxes because the candidate connects their experience to the new role’s duties, emphasizes their specific strengths, and displays knowledge of the brand as well as their personal attachment to it. As a cherry on top, the candidate displays knowledge of company’s reputation and culture, proving the candidate did their research.

Career changer, Accountant to Graphic Design

Although my accounting career was rewarding, it became a bit monotonous for me and I decided to turn to my true passion, which is graphic design. I was an artsy kid, I got it from my dad. I spent countless hours sketching and creating DIY projects with him. It continued into my teenage and adult years, and I’ve been dedicated to that passion through hobbies and personal projects. When I decided to change careers a year ago, I completed several graphic design courses and got an ACP (Adobe Certified Professional) certificate, among others. I also have a rich portfolio and an Instagram page with 2k followers. Transitioning to this role feels like a natural evolution to something I always loved, and now I’m looking for the perfect place to kick off my new career and contribute in creative ways. Coming from an accounting background, I’m highly analytical. In my last job, I worked with a client to help determine the most cost-effective user acquisition and retention strategies and ended up saving them over 70 thousand dollars. In design, I get to use that skill all the time. It really helps with prioritization of projects and also when making major design decisions. Finally, I read about your values and I saw that you appreciate creativity, problem-solving, and experience with gaming, all of which I possess. I’d like to be a part of your startup and I believe I could fit in perfectly.

Why we like it: Although their previous career is in no way related to the new one, the candidate found a way to prove their skills by placing focus on their hobbies and having a portfolio of their work. Completing several courses and obtaining a certificate is a smart move because they don’t have a formal degree in graphic design, and a personal story about how their passion came to life is a nice touch, demonstrating their talents and values.

“Why Are You Interested in This Job?” Popular Opinion vs. Expert Advice

You might be bored of our advice and want to see what “real” people have to say.

This is why we picked some of the most upvoted pieces of advice for answering “Why are you interested in this job?” Let’s see how the tips stack up against expert advice.

Mukesh from Quora says:

“I am very interested in this position because I believe it would be a great opportunity for me to utilize my skills and experience to contribute to the success of the company. I have done my research on the company and the position, and I am impressed with the company’s commitment to innovation and its positive reputation in the industry.”

Career expert comments:

On the face of it, this seems like a decent answer. However, if you think about it — it’s full of buzzwords that convey no information about the candidate’s experience, skills, or information obtained from the company research. If I was this person, I’d make sure to list a few relevant skills and even a proud accomplishment, and then describe how I can apply my skills to contribute to the success of the new company. I’d also make sure to bring up several specific pieces of information I discovered during my research and describe why I’m impressed by it.

u/Cheesboyardee on Reddit had this to say:

“All depends on the job and the interviewer. I have also had luck with flat out honestly saying, “I like to eat and have a roof over my head.” But I recommend against this if you aren’t 100% sure you can get away with it, and doubly so if you don’t use it to segue into another reason.”

Career expert comments:

There is some merit behind this technique. Although this is a bit harsh and not appropriate for all companies, as a hiring manager myself, I would get a good laugh out of it. But the key here is that it absolutely should be used as a segue into a personalized other reason. Do not just say “well I need to live” — that would be a big red flag. But with a good follow-up that’s personalized to the company and the position, this could be a joke that would make me remember the candidate. — Briana Dilworth, Head of Content with 7 years of experience as a Hiring Manager in software and hospitality industries.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Answering “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

Giving a generic answer

As with any interview question, giving a generic answer will show that you haven’t done the research and you don’t know if the position is a good fit for you in the long run.

“This position is a great opportunity for me to develop my skills. Additionally, your company has a good reputation and I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to its success. I feel that my experience and skills align well with the job requirements, and I’m eager to take on new challenges.”

What’s wrong with it: There are no details or specificities to back up or prove any of the claims in the answer. What skills will you develop? What kind of success can you contribute to? These are all things that need to be expanded on.

Focusing too much on personal benefits

Avoid focusing on yourself too much, as it will come across as selfish.

“Besides being a logical next step in my career, this position is cool because it seems like it could help me achieve a work-life balance. Plus, I’m really interested in perks like flexible hours, a great salary, and plenty of vacation days. And honestly, I’ve been looking for a job closer to home, so the shorter commute would be a big win for me. I saw your company is also a huge advocate for remote work, which I like.”

What’s wrong with it: While it’s reasonable that you want more vacation days or a better salary, you won’t look good if these are your main motivators for the job. It’s better to make the main focus of your answer a mutually beneficial factor, like the alignment between the job and your skills or your passion for the industry.

Not showing an understanding of what the position entails

This is the worst mistake you can make in a job interview. Not knowing the responsibilities and requirements of the position you applied for will raise so many red flags and prove you haven’t read the job ad properly, let alone researched the company.

“I’m interested in this Sales Associate position because I think my personality will make me the perfect fit. I’m bubbly and sociable, I don’t like complex tasks or responsibilities, but I love meeting new people and talking to them. I’m also good at persuasion.”

What’s wrong with it: This answer displays a misguided understanding of the role, focusing on surface-level social interaction instead of customer care, problem-solving, and building relationships that last.

Summary of the Main Points

  • Interviewers ask “Why are you interested in this position?” to understand if your experience aligns with the job duties and how you can contribute to the company.
  • They also ask to understand your motivation and dedication.
  • To properly answer this question, you need to research the company, know exactly how your skills align with the job, and understand how the job fits into your long-term career plan.
  • In your answer, be positive and enthusiastic, open with your main motivator and support with secondary ones, showcase research you did on the company and understanding of the role, and explain the reasons you want the job.
  • Some great motivators for your answer: alignment between your skills and the role, your passion for the industry, your interest in the company and alignment with its values, the impact you can make, and career development.
  • Avoid generic answers, ones that are focused on perks and benefits, or answers that display a lack of understanding of the role.


Need a hand? There are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Learn how to turn more job interviews into job offers. (Rated with 4.9/5 by 1,000,000 users).
  2. Learn about 9 ways to sell yourself in an interview.
  3. Learn how to prepare for an interview.


What to say if I want the position mostly because of the paycheck?

You shouldn’t lie, so if you’re interested in the financial side of things, you can bring it up — but we recommend demonstrating your alignment with the job beyond the financial reasons. There must be something that made you apply for the role besides the paycheck. For example, astronauts have a nice salary, yet you didn’t apply for an astronaut position. That’s because you don’t have the education and experience. If you applied for a certain position, it’s because you have at least some experience related to the field. This is the easiest way to answer the question — demonstrate the alignment between the position and your experience, and then tactfully acknowledge that you’re also attracted by the stability and financial security, which would also contribute to your enthusiasm and performance.

For some roles, notably sales, it’s fine to talk about how money motivates you because your performance will usually directly affect how much you make in sales. So talking about the paycheck basically means “I want in because I know I’ll perform like crazy.”

For more tips, check out the video below:

Can I add a personal anecdote to illustrate my motivation?

Yes, it might help you display your motivation and stand out. However, you need to emphasize how your skills and experience align with the role, as that should be the primary part of your answer. A personal anecdote can be used only to spice your answer up. For example, if interviewing for a vintage car dealership role, saying “It took me 15 years to save up for my vintage Saab 900, and it’s still the favorite thing I own. I want to help make other people’s dreams like that come true,” is relevant and nice — as long as you’re honest. But you should also bring up a few skills or professional experiences to prove you’ve got what it takes to be successful in that role.

How to explain my interest in a position when, in fact, I just need a job?

Technically, the sole motivation behind anyone wanting a job is that they need it to pay their bills and live their lives. But things are rarely this simple and the reality is, if you applied for a certain job, there must be other reasons. Either it’s in line with your education or degree, or you already have relevant experience in that industry or role, which you want to continue or level up.

Do I need to flatter the interviewer’s ego in my answer?

No, you don’t need to flatter the interviewer’s ego when answering this question. Be sincere and show genuine interest by saying how the role aligns with your skills and career goals, and display your enthusiasm and resourcefulness by showing you already did some research on the company. Your goal is to provide a relevant and honest response without resorting to insincere flattery.

Maja Stojanovic
A writer specialized in interview preparation and resume building. Spent 5+ years tirelessly seeking a meaningful, rewarding job. Which is exactly what I’ll help you find.
Edited By:
Briana Dilworth
Briana Dilworth
Fact Checked By:
Michael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski
Industry Expert Contributions:

Nate Nead, Laia Quintana

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