How To Answer the “Why Are You Applying For This Position” Interview Question

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How To Answer the “Why Are You...
Apr 7, 2023 7 min read

Quick Answer:
” they want to know if you understand the job, are enthusiastic about it, and if your goals and experience align with the role. Make sure to research the position and company, structure your answer to highlight what makes you unique and what you have to offer, and end on a question to start a conversation.

Have you taken a second to ask yourself whether the job you’re applying for is right for you? You can be sure that the recruiter interviewing you wants to know that it is!

You’ll likely go through one or more interviews along the road to landing your dream job. Interviewers have a handful of standard questions you can prepare for, and one of the most common ones is “why are you applying for this position?”

Some other ways they might ask this question include:

  • "Why did you choose this opportunity?"
  • “Why are you interested in this position?”
  • “What made you interested in applying for this role?”
  • “Describe why you are interested in this opening.”

These kinds of open-answer questions are trickier than the yes or no questions they might start with. They’re designed to separate the wheat from the chaff - to find the best candidates for the job.

How you answer this question will help the recruiter gauge your motivations for applying and your excitement about the opportunity.

The best answers to this question are tailored to the position and speak to your future in that role. With a bit of forethought and planning, you’ll be able to give them an answer that impresses and gets you in the door.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Explain why interviewers ask why you’re applying for this position
  • Give you step-by-step the best approach to answer the question
  • And we include a few sample answers to get you started on your best answer!

Preparing for your job interview is one of the most critical steps in reaching your career goals. Use our career counseling service to prepare for your next interview or any other career steps you’re taking.

We’ve helped thousands of people succeed in their job search, prep for interviews, negotiate the details of their contracts, and otherwise hit their career targets. Get in touch with us If you want to do a deep dive on how to succeed in interviews or if you're curious about other ways to navigate your career path better.

Why do recruiters ask, “why are you applying for this position”?

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When an interviewer asks you why you’re interested in the job they’re offering, they’re going to compare your answer against four measures:

  1. Do you understand the position you’re applying for?
  2. Are you enthusiastic about the work?
  3. Do your goals and experience align with the role?
  4. Will you positively contribute to the company?

The first three questions should come naturally to you since you’ve applied for the job. The fourth is where you’ll need to get across to the recruiter that you’re exactly the right candidate for the job.

Remember, a lot of people applying for the job will have at least as much experience as you, and they might have a great resume too. They want to know what sets you apart.

But remember: employers don’t just hire skills, they hire people. You need to show them how YOU will meaningfully and positively contribute to the company.

Best approach to answer why are you applying for this position interview question?

As we say time and again, there are no one-size-fits-all answers in a job search; you need to tailor your CV, cover letter, and interview prep to the specific job you're going for. But, there are a few general steps you should always take to tailor a good answer.

1. Research the position

Getting a sense of what will be expected of you in the role will let you give the recruiter a quick, relevant answer to demonstrate your professionalism and grounding. To craft the best response, take some time to get a handle on the position’s responsibilities.

Give the job description a once-over to get an idea of the high-level duties: Are you going to be customer-facing? Are you responsible for accounting, tracking stock, or bookkeeping?

Those responsibilities could be part of two totally separate jobs, or they might be part of one retail or hotel manager's daily routine. Being familiar with these types of expectations is key to properly getting across your understanding of the role and by extension, your motivations and excitement for it.

For example, if you’re applying for a Head Chef position, your responsibilities might include:

  • Tracking food inventory
  • Ordering restaurant supplies
  • Inputting and reconciling invoices
  • Communicating with vendors, kitchen and floor staff, or even customers

Having this information in advance helps you know which of your hard and soft skills to highlight in your answer. Even better, answering with keywords from the job description drives home just how tuned in and prepared for the role you are.

2. Research the company

After familiarizing yourself with the job description, research the company you’re interviewing with. If you can’t find out much about them specifically, look at similar companies in your area or the industry in general.

The more you know about the company you’re applying for, what they do in the community, and their place in the industry, the more you’ll impress the interviewer. This background knowledge will demonstrate your interest in the specific position they’re offering.

Here’s a few places you can start your research:

  • The company website. Start with the “About Us” page, then look for any tabs or links they have to press releases, blogs, or social media.
  • Google them for any news or media coverage. Look for recent news or press releases on them by using the ‘news’ and ‘tools’ buttons to narrow your google search.
  • Your network. Reaching out to your connections to see whether anyone knows about the company and its culture.

3. Structure your answer

Once you’ve gathered the job description info and done your sleuthing about the company, think about how it all relates to your background. You can start structuring your answer by comparing what they want and what you’ve done.

Pro tip: don't write out a full answer, just jot down bullet points and practice how you’re going to say it in the interview. You won't have cue cards in the interview and you don't want to sound static, so just remember a few key points you want to bring up and the order you want to say them in.

Consider these questions when you’re preparing your answer:

  • How will this position help you advance in your career and goals?
  • In what way is this job unique?
  • What makes you an exceptional fit for this company or role?

Your answer should show the recruiter that you’ve given some thought and decided the job is really a good fit for your current and future plans. You also want to convey that you’re interested in the specific opportunity they’re offering and don’t plan to jump ship for similar roles.

4. End your answer with a question

You’ve probably noticed that this process is geared toward understanding the job so you can show the interviewer how you’re uniquely suited to the role. Not just that you have as much experience as the next person they interview, but that YOU are right because you understand and really want the role.

A great way to stand out from the pack is to end with a great, related open-ended question for the interviewer. This will make the interview more of a friendly two-way conversation that will stick in the recruiter’s mind as having been a great experience, reinforcing that you’re the type of person they want on their team!

To help further, we’ve put together the best of our expert advice on how you ace your interview if you have other questions.

Example answers to why are you applying for this position interview question?

Here’s a few examples we crafted following the above steps to help get you started:

Example 1: Information Security Analyst

I’ve been working in information security for three years, and it’s a field I enjoy a lot and want to continue growing in. After reading the job posting, I applied for this position because it seems like a great opportunity to continue building information security skills – like intrusion detection and network security control. And since I’ve been doing really similar work for three years with my current job, I could hit the ground running and start contributing right away to your team’s efforts.

Example 2: Financial Manager

In my next position, I’d like to continue building my financial management and leadership skills. I reviewed the job description and saw an emphasis on money and credit markets, so it seemed like a great fit. Since I’ve already spent three years managing seven-figure client portfolios and leading a team of five people in my most recent company, I’m confident I could get up to speed very quickly and start contributing results for you in this role.

Example 3: Software Developer

While my time at my current job has been invaluable, there are few opportunities left there for growth that align with my career goals. The position you’re offering fits perfectly with my skill set and how I want to grow in my career. I’m also looking for a position at a company like yours that focuses on AI tech, which is a personal passion of mine. Can you tell me more about how the company creates growth opportunities for people who work here?

Example 4: Architect

While I enjoy working on the traditional neighborhood-style residential projects in my current role, I’d love to use my technical expertise for larger urban core projects with higher impact. I’m looking to use both my artistic talents and my technical skills to design the amazing structures you’re known for at Starchitect. Can you tell me more about what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate for this position?

Example 5: Interior Design

I’ve had a passion for interior decoration since I helped my mom remodel our kitchen when I was just young. There’s something so rewarding about helping people turn their visions into reality, especially when they don’t have a clear concept in mind to begin with. I’m also really drawn to your company because I’ve seen that you have great customer satisfaction rates. Can you tell me about any of the projects you’re working on now?


  • Preparing strong answers for common interview questions is a great plan.
  • Start by researching the position to get a solid idea of the role.
  • Next, move on to looking for details about the company you’re applying to.
  • Structure your answer to combine what the company is looking for and what you have to offer, and be sure to show something unique about YOU.
  • End your answer with a question to start a conversation and build rapport.

We’ve helped 1000+ people just like you find success in the hiring process through our career counseling service. Whether you need help on the job search stage, prepping for interviews, or while you’re trying to negotiate your compensation, we’ve got experts that are ready to give you advice and help you strategize your next move.

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Kevin Roy
After a successful career in the corporate and non-profit worlds hunting for and hiring great candidates for my and others' teams, I spend my time writing on the subjects I love and know most about.
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