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Why did you apply for this job? It’s so much more than just an interview question.

A quick google search of the most common interview questions will showcase this as a question to prepare for, but what exactly is this question trying to reveal? This is a question that you should expect to be asked in your interview, but it goes much further than that; This is a very important question that you should be asking yourself, before you even hit the ‘apply’ button, and here is why.

Why You Should Ask Yourself This Question Before You Even Apply

To get the job you need to be able to sell yourself.

Interviews are your time to shine. They are your time to tell the hiring manager why you are perfect for the job, why they should pick you over all other candidates, and highlight what strengths you’ll bring to the role.

If you don’t believe in yourself or that this will truly be a great fit for you, guess what, the hiring manager will be able to feel that also. To sell yourself, you need to be confident and when a candidate really wants a job, it comes through in the interview and as a recruiter or hiring manager, that is the greatest thing to feel in an interview.

To keep the job, you need to be engaged.

If you haven’t already read my previous blog which talks about staying in interview mode once you’ve started a new job, I would suggest reading it here. To sum it up very briefly, it looks at what you should do to maintain your success through probation after being offered a job and, spoiler alert, a lot of it requires you to be present, be engaged and enjoy what you do.

Probation is that time that employers use to assess how good of a fit you really are for the business before you are a fully-fledged employee. It may seem unfair at times, and trust me, we get it, but think about it logically. If you apply for a job where you can’t confidently say why you want it, do you think that employer will want to pay you monthly to stay around and be disengaged?

You may just need “a job”

You may just be in desperate need for any job and have applied, rather generically, to many of different jobs, hoping one will come through. That is okay too, but put yourself in the employer’s shoes: If you could hire a candidate who really wants to work with you, or a candidate who just wants any job, who do you think you would go for?

I like to relate it to something on a personal level, so imagine:
1) You have been asked out to dinner by someone who just wants some company
2) You’re asked to dinner by someone who specifically wants you.

Which one do you think you would lean towards? Like I said, it is okay to just need a job but make sure you can answer the “why did you apply to this role?” question (without lying!). You could do this by researching the company and finding something about them that you are passionate about.


Why Does The Hiring Manager Want To Ask This Question?

Well, with technology such as LinkedIn nowadays, applying for a role can be a simple click of a button. Sometimes, on LinkedIn, you don’t even need to attach your resume, your profile is shared automatically with to job poster once you hit apply. This is easier yes, but also means that job seekers can apply to a role without having to stop and think about it; without having to even read into the company beforehand and research the company, the industry and the position.

Fitting the Company Culture & Employer Brand

Ever heard of something called ‘Employer Brand’? Well, it is something that companies work very hard on building, put a lot of effort into promoting and sustaining, and want their employees to buy into. Employer Branding is often considered when companies are trying to target a specific talent group and to maintain it, they will make sure to hire employees who fit this brand.

Assessing Motivation

The employer will also want to assess how motivated you are to perform in the role if hired, this relates to the earlier point on engagement. Engaged employees perform better and employers know this.

The hiring manager will also want to get an idea of your career plan. If your dream is to be an actor but you’re applying for an account’s role, do you think they will still offer you the job? Just to risk you leaving as soon as an opportunity to pursue acting arises?

The great news is, preparing for this question is easy. You just need to ask yourself why you want the job, why you are applying, and how you would feel if someone offered it to you. If you cannot answer these questions, that I would strongly recommend not applying as you will be up against candidates who really want this job, and that’s going to be hard to beat.


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