How to Answer “What Interests You About This Position?” in a Job Interview

Although some questions in a job interview may seem harmless, it is important to always be careful with how you respond to these questions.

So when you’re asked, “What interests you about this position?” what is the best way to frame your response?

Check out what these 15 experts have to say on how to answer, “What interests you about this position?” in a job interview.

Melanie L. Denny

Melanie L. Denny

President, Resume-Evolution | Certified Professional Resume Writer |
Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert | Speaker | Author

In a job interview, your goal is to show the interviewer how well you fit into the role and assure him/her that you will be successful. So, your response to every question should build your case toward these two points. This question is no different.

Be honest and make sure to make it about the company versus focusing on you as a candidate while reminding them why you are a good fit for the role

Although your first inclination would be to talk about you and the benefits you would gain from working there (ie upward mobility, benefits, flexible schedule), keep that to a minimum. Connect your “interest” to something of value to the company or department. Here’s a sample response:

I’m excited about this opportunity for many reasons. You are growing, employees seem to enjoy working here and you’ve built a strong reputation in this industry.

But the main thing that intrigues me about this position is the ability for me use my expertise in [sales/marketing/other skill sets] to [potential outcome i.e. boost sales, improve profits, reduce costs] and ultimately contribute to you fulfilling your mission of [insert company mission here].

In fact, as we’ve been sitting here talking, I was thinking about some of the ways I could hit the ground running if I were to be selected for this position.

This type of response is focused on what you can do for the business and it isn’t self-centered. It also lets the interviewer know that you have done some homework on the state of the company.

Lastly, and most powerfully, it opens a dialogue for them to discuss specific ways you can add value in the role.

Related: How to Nail a Job Interview

Elene Cafasso, MCC

elene-cafasso

Executive Mentor and Coach | Owner, Enerpace, Inc.

That’s a great question and one that’s deserving of a great answer!

You should be able to clearly enunciate what you would bring to the job and what the job brings to you

I recommend to my clients that they share their desire to learn a new field, to take on new challenges, to grow and develop professionally. These are all general, so it’s important to also give specific examples.

For instance, someone moving from a smaller firm may be seeking the larger scale projects found at a bigger company. Or, moving to a smaller firm to be able to make a bigger impact and have more visibility quickly.

Some people want to move to companies they admire as corporate citizens or those seen on the cutting edge of technology, “green” initiatives, etc.

Dave Magnani

Dave Magnani

President, Consulting Services, M&A Executive Search

When we ask that question, we are trying to understand what motivates the candidate and why they would be motivated in this role. In other words, why working for the company and in the specific role is a natural progression in their career and a “fit” from the candidate’s perspective.

The best way to answer this question is to restate your understanding of the requirements of the job and the culture of the company

An example is how individuals in the company are expected to operate to get things done and then explain why you fit the requirements of the job and the unique culture of the company. Close with a summary statement such as, “the company and role seem to be a perfect fit for me and I’m confident I could really add value …. More so than what I’m doing today and just seems like a natural next step in my career and I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

Answering this question effectively is not that different than answering the question of why the candidate is a fit for the job, however, to demonstrate genuine motivation it’s critical that you do the following:

Prior to the interview, research the company and the role thoroughly to understand the true requirements of the job and the company culture.

If you have a major misunderstanding of the requirement or the company it will raise questions about how interested and motivated you really are.

Practice and work on restating the requirements in your own words and in a way that maps to what you have to offer.

Being genuine is key and simply restating the requirements in the job description is a mistake. Develop your talk track on why this is a natural progression in your career and why the role offers you something you don’t have today. After preparing, it’s just about execution when the question comes up and being as genuine and enthusiastic as you can.

Related: How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” (+Examples)

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish

Heather Rothbauer-Wanish

Owner, Feather Communications |
Author, Getting Back in the Game: How to Build Your Resume After Taking a Break

Candidates should research the company prior to the job interview so they know the vision, mission, and ideal customer for the organization.

Discuss the strengths needed for the position, how his or her past accomplishments align with the role, and why they are a good fit for the company

It’s vital that the potential employee understand how he or she can contribute to the company and how that person will make a positive impact on the organization. Finally, interviewees should use several past positions and educational experiences to showcase why they have what it takes to be that company’s next employee.

Jessica Chase

Jessica Chase

Sales and Marketing Head, Premier Title Loans

First, understand the reason why interviewers ask this question. They ask it to know whether a candidate has an understanding of the job role or not.

Make the answer company-centric instead of focusing on yourself

Mention your experience, skills, and interests to the stated job requirements. After that, you can say one line on how this job will be beneficial for you or in achieving your goals.

I am interested in this job as an HR consultant because I have X years of experience in helping companies achieve their targeted performance and results through effective organizational development and planning. [Summarize the experience]

In the past, I assisted XYZ company in bolstering the staff growth from 55 to 122 in 8 months. [Mention the significant achievement, focus on numbers.] My experience is aligned with the requirements of this job. [Shows them that you have understood job requirements].

I want to give it a shot to use my previous highly-relevant experience while continuing to enhance my skill set by developing my expertise in new areas of responsibility.

Aurora Meneghello

Aurora Meneghello

Career Coach | Founder, Repurpose Your Purpose

Here’s how not to answer this question: do not just share all you are going to get out of the position.

A prospective employer or hiring manager is asking this question to find out if you are a good fit for the position, and being a good hire includes not only having the right skills but enjoying what you do and contributing to your team.

Do a lot of research on the company and then share what excites or interests you about contributing to the specific company you are applying to

Mention some of the key skills you bring to the position and clearly state how you would use them to provide results or move the company’s objectives forward.

Show you care and are sincerely interested in the work and the company, people love to work with others who bring a positive attitude and excitement to their work.

Scott Trench

Scott Trench

President & CEO, Bigger Pockets

As a hiring manager and CEO, I have interviewed numerous candidates. One pattern that I look for is in response to this type of question.

What I typically look for is two things:

State their level of passion for the line of work we are hiring for

Provide a convincing case that backs up their stated passion

For example, if I am hiring for a marketing position, I might ask a question to the effect of, “how enthusiastic are you about marketing as a career?”

If I then get a response to the effect of “I’m so passionate, you wouldn’t believe it!” (which is what many candidates respond with across position types), I will follow up with questions designed to test that assertion. For example, I might ask, “What books, podcasts, blogs, or other self-education do you read to stay up to date on this line of work – I’ve been interested in learning a little about this myself.”

If the candidate hasn’t read a book, listened to a podcast, or otherwise sought growth in their profession – which they state they are passionate about – in the recent past, it becomes clear right away in response to this question. I can usually tell right away when people are reaching for content consumed long ago.

Candidates who are truly engaged in career growth are regularly studying materials related to their profession, and can instantly list what they are reading and have an opinion about it to boot.

While it’s fine if a candidate is not an avid self-educator as not all positions require ravenous self-education, what is unacceptable is for the candidate to profess undying love for the job you are hiring for, but clearly not have put in the hustle to back that assertion up.

My advice to candidates? Self-study. Read books, blogs, podcasts, forums, and network with thought leaders in your industry. Be passionate and want the job and to be great at your profession. Then show that in the interview.

If you don’t, and if in spite of my attempts to uncover a lack of passion or exaggeration in your response to my interview questions, then you may manage to land the job. Congratulations. But, you had better aggressively begun self-educating because you will be exposed within a few weeks of starting the job.

Joe Bailey

Joe Bailey

Business Development Consultant, My Trading Skills

Give an explanation as to how the job is a perfect match for the current skill set that you possess

Explain how the company strategy, values, vision, and reputation appeal to you. Also explain how the training opportunities available in the company have also impacted your decision to apply for the role, and your desire to work for the company.

Bottom Line: Demonstrate that your current skill set and the particular job requirements are a good match and that the company’s values are in line with your own. In addition, demonstrate a keen interest in the company’s training opportunities as another reason as to why you are interested in working for this company.

Corina Burri

Corina Burri

Marketing Lead, Ofri

Take a reference to company culture

Roles are exchangeable, the company culture isn’t. So for this, put some research into it beforehand. Try to speak to someone who works at the company, read the “about us” section and ask questions during the interview.

Be honest about your skillset

Don’t be overly self-promotional. Outline your career plan and explain how this position would help you to achieve your longterm goals.

Jonathan Chan

Jonathan Chan

Head of Marketing, Insane Growth

The best answers are always the ones that show that they already have a plan for what they’d like to do for the company if they have the job

Not only does this demonstrate that they’ve done research on the company, but they’re also showing that they have the expertise needed to get the job done and drive results.

Too many times applicants will talk about what they will get out of the job, how it’ll help their career, their professional development, etc. While this is good to know, as it shows their ability to self-motivate, this is only half of a good answer.

Applicants need to be able to prove that they’ve thought about the value they can bring to the company and why it’s in the business’s best interest to hire them.

For example, if I were hiring for a social media manager, I’d want to know how the applicant plans on doing with the role. I’d want to know what ideas they have for improving our social media presence and, most importantly, how interested they are in developing and implementing those ideas of theirs.

Joe Staiber

Joe Staiber

CEO & Founder, Staiber Consulting

I have not only landed jobs using this response but it is also been the best response I’ve ever gotten while hiring employees as well. When someone asks you “what interests you about this position” you should respond with:

What interests me about this job position isn’t just limited to one thing, what interests me is the experience I will gain from working in this environment that the {insert business name} team has built.

I want to be part of something bigger than myself and learn a skill set that will help me grow as a person and open doors for me down the road so that I can continue being an asset for the company.

I also really value the network I will be introduced to, the connections I will make and the skills I will learn not just from the job but the community surrounding it.

Lastly what interests me is the ability to grow, to level up, the sole fact that there’s an ability to grow not only as a person but with the company itself is all I could ask for. I’m not looking for a short term position, I’m looking for a place to call home.

In conclusion, emphasize the importance of the following:

  • Experience.
  • Community & relationships.
  • The ability to climb the ladder and level up.
  • Wrapping it up with that you see it as a long term position.

Brian Richie

Brian Richie

Senior Advisor, Labtuit

This is code for, “How much do you know about this company and this position?” Most interviewers are going to use their questions to dig deeper, and this is certainly the case with this question.

Before any interview, make sure you’ve read through (not skimmed!) the job description several times. See what stands out. Are there any words or phrases that pop out at you several times? If so, these things are important to the company. It’s worth your while thinking about how you match up with these skills and/or values to prove you’re a good fit for the company.

Another important tip is to check out the company website and/or social media. Look for themes or common values that are expressed consistently throughout. Once again, these things are important to the company.

When you go to answer, be honest about what you’re looking for in your next position, but tie in the things you’ve discovered on your research that you know are also important aspects of the position and to the company.

This way, you’ll show the interviewer that your interests match the interests of the company.

Laura Handrick

Laura Handrick

Careers and Workplace Analyst, FitSmallBusiness

Genuine passion and personal interest are invariably going to resonate in a job interview, no matter what the position or industry might be.

It’s always impressive when a candidate ties individual interests to the open role

For example, if an ad agency is looking to hire a new project manager, a response such as this scertainly hits the mark:

I’m really a process-driven person, so this job would fulfill both my passion for creativity as well as my organizational skills.

Similarly, it’s equally important that a candidate relates what the organization does to their lifelong interests. If an insurance company hears “I’m risk avoidant due to having lost my home to fire as a child, so I’m passionate about matching clients’ insurance needs to their risk tolerance” is going to resonate more so than a bland, run-of-the-mill answer.

Kalev Rudolph

Kalev Rudolph

Educator | Graphic Designer | Writer, Insurantly

So they ask, “what interests you about this position,” hopefully, the answer takes moments to materialize, and you can list off why the job your applying to is your dream: the company profoundly moves you and has a mission perfectly in line with your views.

Of course, the reality is this rarely happens. Most of the time, especially for younger applicants just getting started, you may be applying to a job outside of your dreams, simply hoping to pay the bills and get you the experience to apply for something better.

Related: How to Answer the Interview Question “What Is Your Dream Job”

Your bosses don’t want to hear that answer. So, what do you say interests you about the just-okay-job you really do want? What will come off genuine and help them remember you? Here are some tips.

Be prepared and research about the company you are applying for

This is a classic question and the chances of your interviewer asking you it is very high, so don’t go in blind. Spend some time on the company website or researching their social media/brand presence. With this info, you can see what aspects of the business align with your personal or professional experience—take that and run with it.

Stick to the truth

If you are applying for an entry-level job, employers will most likely see right through a forced “I am just so excited to be a part of this team” phoned in response. Talk about what you can bring to the team and use this question as a chance to both show off that you’ve done your homework about the company and give them a better understanding of your skills.

Taking this question and using it as a time to talk about the kind of person you are in the workplace helps humanize you and leave an impression on your interviewer.

Come at it with a positive attitude and be earnest about the reasons you chose this job amongst the thousands available. Talk openly about the benefits of a flexible schedule, or a steady rhythm, or a chance to expand a unique skill you have or your experience in a similar job you loved in the past.

Alexander M. Kehoe

Alexander M. Kehoe

Co-Founder & Operations Director, Caveni Digital Solutions

One of the dreaded questions of interviewees everywhere, because at it’s very core the answer will almost always be dishonest or fundamentally pragmatic, “I want this position because it is close to me and pays better than the alternative.”

You can bet that is the case with every candidate we have seen, yet that is never the answer we get. The question is about more than that though, we use it mostly as a way to tell if you have researched the company beforehand.

If you are just going through the motions and not willing to put the bare minimum in for the interview how can we expect you to go above and beyond during a work project?

Yes, the question is dishonest, but you should use it as a way to display excitement about some of the businesses’ recent work or news stories relating to the position you’re interviewing for. Do some research and use this question as to the easy home run it actually is.