Unlock Success in Your Job Interview: How to Ace the Question, 'Why Are You Applying for this Position?

Hey there, career dynamos! So, you've landed an interview—Congrats! The big day is approaching, and each tick of the clock is both electric and unnerving.

Now comes the part where you prepare for the impending volley of questions, and let's not kid ourselves - we all know there's that one question that has a lot more weight than its twelve-word length suggests: "Why are you applying for this position?".

Breathe. We’ve got your back. We're here to be your corner crew in these professional (and emotional) boxing rings. So let's lace up those gloves and hit hard!

Understanding The Question

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

So, why does this question pop up in virtually all job interviews? Here's the scoop: When an interviewer tosses this query your way, they're not just making idle conversation.

They're looking to dig into what drives you, where your passion lies, and how you align with the goals and values of the company. Essentially, this question is their trusty flashlight, shining a light on your career objectives and illuminating your perspective towards the job role.

What’s the Interviewer Looking for?

Interviewers are like miners. They're not merely okay with the surface view. They want to delve deep, uncover the rich ore of your underlying motives, and understand your interests better.

So, when you're asked, "Why are you applying for this position?", the employer is trying to determine whether your goals align with those of the job role and their company. Essentially, they're looking for genuine enthusiasm, a robust understanding of the role and company, and a pinch of ambition.

Preparing Your Answer

Steps to Plan Your Response

Before you set foot in the interview room, incorporate a bit of prep time to answer this crucial question.

First, take a reflective journey back through your career. Think about your professional highlights and how they steer you towards this new role. Second, get friendly with the company’s website, and research its values, culture, mission, and products.

And lastly, take a bird's eye view of the job role. You don't want to swim in the shallow end here, so make sure you understand the intricacies of your potential position before diving in.

How to Connect Your Skills and Experiences to the Job

Once you've researched the job role and revisited your career, it's time to draw the lines. Connecting your skills and experiences to the job can be as simple as a connect-the-dot picture. Think about previous roles or achievements that have prepared you for this new opportunity. Identify the key skills that the job requires and demonstrate how you have flexed those muscle groups in the past.

Example Answers

Case Scenarios

Let's assume that you're applying for a data analyst position at a tech firm. A great response might be, "In my previous role at X, I was able to leverage big data to garner essential insights which improved our sales by 20%. I am excited about the opportunity to bring that same kind of data-driven decision-making to your team. Plus, I admire the innovation and dynamism in your company—this is exactly the sort of environment I want to be a part of."

Dos and Don’ts

When answering "Why are you applying for this position?", don’t make the answer about you. Focus less on how the job can benefit you and more on how you can contribute to the company. Do show enthusiasm for the role, but don't overdo it to the point of sounding insincere. Keep your answer concise, professional, and pertinent to the job role.

Now you're armed with a solid game plan to tackle this question. But here's the thing: Job interviews are not one-size-fits-all. They’re as distinct as the industries they serve, the company cultures they emanate, and the job roles they occupy. Customizing a response that fits your specific job role will put you in a favorable light, proving your seriousness in pursuing the job.

Customizing Your Answers

Change is the only constant when it comes to job interviews. Questions morph, responses evolve, and each interview scenario brings a new set of challenges. That's why it's crucial to tailor your answer to each specific job role.

Do you see a company culture that values novelty? Highlight your innovative ideas and how you can bring fresh insights to the table. Looking at a startup that requires hands-on involvement? Explain previous experiences where you were an integral part of project success.

As diverse as the interviews can be, remember, your response should reflect the careful thought you've put into why this specific role at this particular company is a match made in career heaven.

How to Practice Your Answer

Repetition is the mother of skill. However, practice should not lead to an answer that feels scripted or robotic. Write your response down, yes. But instead of memorizing each word, focus on the key points you want to get across. This allows your answer to come off as genuine and well-thought-out, rather than something you crammed in last night.

Remember, our minds love repetition. So, begin by writing down your response and reading it aloud. Practicing in front of a mirror might feel slightly goofy, but it's a tried and tested method that helps. Better yet? Rope in a friend for a mock interview. You'll get a feel for the rhythm of the conversation and their feedback can be a gold mine.

This goes without saying, but rehearse because you want to feel prepared, not scripted. The goal here isn't to memorize your answer word for word, but rather to familiarize yourself with what you're trying to communicate. Your natural, authentic self is the superhero here, don't hide it behind a mask of super-rehearsed lines. Let your answer feel spontaneous, so an interviewer can see the genuine you, not a rehearsed character.

So, the practice path has been laid, now it's time to walk it, keeping in mind that the best answers are genuine, relatable and infused with a good dose of enthusiasm. March forward confidently, resting assured, the art of mastering "why are you applying for this position?" is now well within your grasp.


In the grand scheme of the job-searching journey, acing the question, "Why are you applying for this position?" certainly puts a feather in your cap. This seemingly straightforward query provides you a platform to convey your understanding of and aspirations for your potential role in the company.

Just remember, no matter how many practice rounds you go, stay genuine and relatable. And, as you stand tall before your interviewers, know that your preparation has honed you, the ring is yours, and you're ready for every question that comes your way. Bring it on!