August 10, 2022

The interview goes like clockwork – your answers come smoothly, and the HR manager is responsive to you. Suddenly the sentence: “Why did you apply for a job with us? So that you don’t lose your nerve for no reason at this moment, possibly even completely lose your cool: Read here why this question is asked in the first place – and how to deal with it in such a way that it becomes an advantage instead of a stumbling block.
“Why did you apply to us?”. It is highly likely that you will be asked this question at least once in your application life.

And it is not at all uncommon for your answer to decide whether you get the job or not.

“Why did you apply to us?” – What is the reason for this question?

First of all, you should be clear about why this question or your answer to it is so interesting to the company side in the first place.

Your answer shows the extent to which your skills and experience match your future role and your desire for job satisfaction.

Think about it from the company’s perspective for a moment:

  • You want to hire someone who will add value to the company.
  • Someone whose personality and strengths can help achieve the company’s goals.
  • Someone willing to learn and grow in their position.

Since finding the right person involves cost and time, HR managers want to use this question to ensure the right candidate is sitting in front of them.

The applicant’s answer helps them make this decision.

Why exactly me for this job? How to be prepared

To help you avoid panic in the interview, deal with the question “Why do you want to work for us?” is highly likely to be asked in some form from the outset.

To do this, make yourself aware of these points:

  • The question will likely come early in the job interview. This is possible in combination with other classics such as “Tell us about yourself” or “What do you know about the company?”.
  • The question could also be phrased slightly differently, such as “Why do you want this job?” The variant “Why do you want to work for us?” is also not uncommon. The answer is always the same – no matter how the question is worded precisely.
  • Even if you don’t answer this question entirely to your satisfaction, that’s not the end of the interview. If you remember later that you had something important to say about it, or add: Let your counterpart know that you forgot to mention something and formulate the aspects that you think we’re still important on this topic.

More certainty: how to prepare your answer well

Here are some considerations and questions you should deal with in advance to make sure you give the best answer later in the interview.

1. find out more about the company and the job.

Be clear about the extent to which your skills fit the job. You should also know precisely at what time the new position can enrich you and what you expect from the company. Other points to consider are:

  • What stage of development is the company in?
  • Has the company recently changed its products or services? If so, how could you be of value here in setting up new processes?
  • Are there any new developments or changes in the company’s industry?

2. demonstrate experience and success

One of your most potent arguments for the job is demonstrating that you have done the job successfully before, which implies that you will do it again.

  • Have you met or exceeded any of your goals recently? How can you apply the same to this company?
  • What industry or technical knowledge have you successfully applied to your job in the past that you could transfer to the new position?
  • What challenges have you overcome, and how did you do it?

3. What will the new job do for your development?

You want to show that you have many skills that you can apply in the new job, which will help the company move forward. You want to convey the ambition needed to do this and clarify that the new position will challenge you—layout how you will fill knowledge gaps quickly and efficiently.

  • What are your career goals?
  • How will this job help you achieve your goals?
  • What professional development or learning opportunities are essential to you?

4. show passion 

Soft skills like enthusiasm are also among the essential considerations of managers when they are looking for reinforcements for their team. Managers want to know about this to ensure that new hires fit in with the team and company culture.

  • What aspects of this job make you want to get up in the morning?
  • What points of the job offered were responsible for sending in your application?
  • What personal growth do you hope to achieve from the position?

Be persuasive: Here’s what you should say.

Consider the following sentences as suggestions for answers to the question, “Why did you apply to us?” But don’t bore the recruiter with standard solutions, and give them an individual touch.

Stay as natural and calm as possible. Convey what the job can do for you and what you can do for the company.

“Because I see this as the right path to advance my career in an/an exciting/future/fast-paced company/industry …”

“I feel my skills are well suited for this job because …”

“I believe I have the practical knowledge (or other special skill) to succeed in this position because …”

“I am excited about this opportunity because I will be able to …”

Avoid pitfalls: Here’s how not to answer under any circumstances

Here are a few responses you can pretty much guarantee will prevent your interview from being a success: 

  • “I just need a job.” Show respect for the company and the job so you don’t appear dispassionate and sloppy.  
  • “I’ve heard this position pays well.” Please don’t bring up the salary issue too early and don’t present it as the most important thing. Otherwise, you’ll come across as greedy. 
  • “I see it as a stepping stone to bigger and better roles within my career.” Please don’t imply that you may leave the company quickly as soon as the next best career opportunity arises. Instead, convey the feeling that you can be counted on.    

Still unsure about the job? Robert Half’s consultants can help you find the right job and give you the best answers to the most important interview questions – completely free of charge and without obligation. Just browse through our job exchange:

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