Interview Questions, Part 1

Welcome to my ongoing series about interview questions and how to not answer them.

“Why do you want this job?” 

I hate this question.  Hate it.  Usually, either the answer is, “I don’t, but the people I want to hire me won’t hire me,” or “I like this field and would like to work in it.” 

Nonetheless, when asked this question, I usually sort of blank out or freeze.  I think the best answer I gave was, “I would like the opportunity to learn about private practice and my last job stopped paying me.”  I think the worst answer I gave was, “er, um, I think the work is important.” The answer I want to give is, “you pay well and provide health insurance.” 

So, for interviews in the future, this is the question I will start preparing for.  Why do I want the job?  Let’s see:

1) It’s a natural progression from my current job, where I do xyz, but offers more challenges and room for advancement. 

2) I’m interested in the field and I would like to continue working in it/start working in it. 

3) I find that I am well suited for [this type of work] and am looking for a position that allows me to use the skills I’ve already developed as well as learn more about [the aspect of the job that I’m less familiar or experienced at]. 

Then, the biggest trick is going to be to stop talking.  I think for interviews, I tend to run on.  I need to talk less, so coming up with a one sentence answer and then not talking anymore is going to be the big key. 

How would/do you answer that question?  Is there something in particular employers are working for, or is it just a quick way to make sure you actually want the job?



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4 responses to “Interview Questions, Part 1

  1. This is a good idea because it puts those thoughts in your head before you go into that situation. I love this question (sarcasm), especially when you’re unemployed!! I like your #3. Says something about you and something about what you have learned about the company.

  2. I think it’s a test to see if you are a good fit, and if you will actually stick around once they hire you (which is an investment on their part).

    If I’m interviewing for a job I’d be willing to hold for 5+ years or something in fashion history, I often find this answer easy. But if it’s something I’m just applying to because it’s not a job in ND, I always have a harder time. And I think they can sense that and, hence, I don’t get hired.

    • vadoporroesq

      I think that’s why answer 3 is a good approach. Explain why, even though you might not seem like the ideal candidate, you really are, because you have relevant experience which you will make work for them while learning all the things you need for the job? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try it on my next interview.

  3. I feel like I had a kick-ass answer to this question in my last interview (I honestly *am* passionate about libraries and their role in the community, and have worked at one of the state’s largest for over a year), but… still no job offer. So……… 😛

    What’s tough for me is explaining why I don’t want to do theatre right now. The real answer would involve some lengthy existential ramblings… but the short, easy answer involves discussing how the late hours aren’t a good fit for me right now, and how I’d prefer not to be freelancing/flying around the country picking up gigs at this stage in my life.

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