Career Coach, Korn Ferry Advance
How to Answer a Job Interview’s ‘Why’ Questions
The questions are a routine part of most interviews. Why do you want to work at this company. Why are you applying for this position? Why are good fit for our culture? Yet many people stumble on the answers.
Indeed, almost 50% of candidates fail the job interview because they don’t have enough information about the company they're applying to, according to the website Legaljobs. And when interviewers ask their “Why” questions, this lack of preparedness is revealed. “Job seekers should prepare to talk about their passion and their knowledge of the industry, company, and position––not just salary and logistics like start time and location,” says David Meintrup, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.
Here are our tips for answering some of the most important interview questions.
Why the “Why?” matters so much.
“Interviewers know that your desire to work for the company and in the role could be a direct indicator of how motivated you’ll be to show up and produce positive results,” says Ryan Frechette, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.
The interviewers are also thinking about turnover, especially during the Great Resignation. They need to assess whether this will just be another job to you or an opportunity for you to be excited about contributing, innovating, and tackling the challenges that will be presented over the long term. They’re likely to probe to find out whether you’ve done the necessary research to understand the company, the industry trends, and other factors that demonstrate your genuine interest.
Why this company?
If you truly want to work for the company, you’ll have plenty to say when you answer this question –– about the firm’s work culture, mission and values, its learning and growth opportunities, the products or services you’ll be creating, and so on. That’s why it’s important in the beginning stages of your job search to target companies you really want to work for, even if that means casting a smaller net of applications.
When your values are in alignment with the company’s values, your answers will come across as honest and sincere.
Why this position?
Explaining why you will excel at the position requires talking about specific aspects of the role that you enjoy and how you’ve made an impact doing this kind of work in the past. Career experts recommend talking about the connection between the job you’re pursuing and the bigger picture of the company’s goals. And feel free to offer up some new ideas (being careful not to insinuate that the company is not currently doing things correctly).
It’s also important to demonstrate your professional-growth mindset by sharing how you look forward to learning and developing through the exposure to new people, relationships, technologies, and processes.
Why are you a good fit?
“Why should we hire you?” can be one of the toughest questions in the interview. Candidates need to assert why they’re a great fit for the role and come across as confident––but not arrogant.
"Dissect the job description, and read between the lines to understand what kind of candidate they’re looking for,” Frechette says. Then, you can strike the right tone by talking about your top strengths, values, and goals in the context of how they're in alignment with what you know about the company’s culture.