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Why Do You Want to Work for Us

“What Motivated You to Apply for This Position?”

“Why Are You Interested in This Role?”

“What Interests You About This Job?”

While the answer to all of these questions simply could be “for the paycheck” or “because I needed a job at location Y desperately” – you can’t really say it out loud in front of the interview panel, can you?

For an interviewer, asking what motivated you to apply for a position is as common as breathing. Experienced interviewers have been hearing many forms of answers to this question, so you can’t “madlib” your way out. Answering this question successfully requires research, focus, preparation and practice.

There’s a tried and tested “formula” that can find the solution to this question regardless of the role you’re applying for. The answer can lead to three paths –

1) Timing

The concept of timing suggests that the role being applied for aligns perfectly with the individual’s current career stage or aspirations. For instance, it could be an opportunity for advancement after a certain period of experience or education. For example, if you’re applying for a Senior Financial Analyst role, your “Why do you want to work for us?” answer could be “After 5 years working as an Analyst I’m ready to take a step of moving into a Senior Analyst role.” This approach emphasises that the timing is right for you to step into the role and make a significant impact based on your current readiness and circumstances. 

2) Alignment of Values

This approach emphasises the importance of a values match between you and the company. It involves researching the company’s culture, mission, and values to ensure that there is a strong alignment with one’s own personal values and professional goals.

For example, if you’re applying for a role in a non-profit organisation, how your own values align with a company’s core values may help you draft a compelling answer. In the case of a technical role, your experience and expertise on a certain programming language would add value to the company and you can use that to build your story. Again, someone who enjoys teaching for example can connect their passion with the responsibilities that come with any kind of teaching or academic roles for example. To summarise, you can use the following points to form the foundation of your answer for “What Motivated You to Apply for This Position?” –

  • Your passion for the hiring company’s mission or business model or products
  • Your own values that align with the company’s core values
  • The company’s reputation, projects, achievements, awards or even their team

Based on the three aspects mentioned above, here are some example answers that use either each or all of the approaches for defining your motivation behind applying for a role –

I am excited about joining Acme Education because it is an institution I admire. I found your focus on fostering a transformative learning environment for Australians inspiring and it’s something I’m passionate about in my career. I’d love to be able to contribute to some of the innovative teaching methods and particularly like your student-centric approach to be able to get great academic results for your customers.”
My research shows [Company Name] is the perfect employer for me. I am enthusiastic about this role because of your pioneering work in sustainable engineering solutions. Having overseen a project at LMN Engineering that reduced environmental impact by 15%, I am eager to bring my passion for sustainable design to your team. Your company’s focus on eco-friendly solutions and cutting-edge technology aligns perfectly with my career goals of creating positive environmental change through innovative engineering.”

3) I Will Hit the Ground Running

This approach focuses on showcasing your readiness and confidence in fulfilling the requirements of the role from the outset. It involves highlighting specific skills, experiences, and achievements that directly relate to the selection criteria and demonstrate your ability to make an immediate impact. For example, if you’re applying for a B2B sales position, your answer could be “My strength in B2B sales is demonstrated by my last 5 years of exceeding targets. The reason I want to work for this company is I know I can succeed in B2B sales. I’ve demonstrated a track record in this.” By connecting your core strengths with the selection criteria of the job, you can convey that you’re indeed adding your unique value propositions to the company and thereby the employers will also benefit by hiring you.

Pro Tips and Strategies

Do Your Research
Demonstrate your knowledge about the company by conducting thorough research. Understand its mission, values, products/services, culture, and recent achievements. This information will allow you to tailor your response to the company’s specific attributes. You should also refresh your knowledge of the exact responsibilities listed in the job description before appearing in the interview. Customise your response based on the specific role you’re applying for. 

Connect Your Skills and Experience
Relate your skills, experiences, and past achievements in a similar role to the needs and goals of the company. Show how your unique qualifications make you an ideal candidate for the role and how your past successes align with the company’s objectives.

Express Enthusiasm
Convey genuine enthusiasm for the company and the position. Discuss specific aspects of the organisation that excite you, whether it’s its innovative projects, commitment to social responsibility, or industry leadership. Passion is contagious and memorable.

Be Specific
Avoid generic answers. Provide specific examples of what attracts you to the company. Discuss particular projects, initiatives, or values that resonate with you. This specificity shows that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested.

Avoid Negative Statements
Refrain from framing your answer in terms of what you dislike about your current or past positions. Keep the focus positive on what attracts you to the new opportunity.

If you want 1-1 mock interviews with an experienced interview coach, CV Writers’ interview coaching products are the right fit for you. Learn how to answer common questions like “Tell us about yourself” or “Why do you want to work for us”, how to talk about your achievements with confidence and get access to exclusive interview tips from industry experts.

Ben Wood
Ben Wood

Career Coach, CV Writer, CV Writers + ITCV Writers Practice Manager - Tech and Executive Profile Specialist

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