How To Convince An Employer You Want The Job — Five Good Reasons And One To Avoid
Original article by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Forbes
The first question I ask in a job interview is, “Why do you want this job?” I have recruited for over 20 years and for many different industries, roles and levels. I always customize my interviewing strategy, so specific questions come and go depending on what factors I need to assess. However, I always test for motivation.
For any given job opening, there are frequently multiple candidates who are qualified enough to do the job. Desire for the job can often win the day . Employers want the candidate who wants to work there. Motivated hires bring a positive attitude, can more likely can weather the inevitable ups and downs of the workplace, and are better colleagues. Would you rather spend eight or more hours a day with an excited team player or a sourpuss?
However, it is not enough to just say you want the job. You could meet with someone and say you’re excited to see them, but if you can’t remember their name or you’re glancing over their shoulder to look for others while you’re speaking with them, they won’t believe your interest is genuine. Here are five reasons that show genuine interest and convince an employer that you want the job, plus a bonus reason to avoid at all costs:
1 – Alignment with the company mission
Mission doesn’t just apply to non-profits, though alignment with the mission is critical in that sector as well. When I hired for an entry-level marketing role at a popular media company, every candidate gushed about the well-known brands. One candidate cut through the flattery by focusing on the mission behind one of the most iconic divisions. She knew the institutional history and the founder’s vision for the product. She had already spoken to multiple people working there so was able to highlight how she could fit right in. Her exhaustive research and clear alignment with the company mission put her in front of other candidates who simply admired the business success of the company.
2 – Passion for the company products or services
Similarly, I once hired a Director for an education company that came from a different industry but was already using and very excited about the product the tech company produced. This was not for a product or marketing role, but for HR – a middle office function whose expertise can translate easily across a variety of industries. Still, the company loved that this candidate knew what they were about, and this was a deciding factor in moving her into the shortlist. Of course, she still had to do well during the challenging final interview rounds, but she landed the job.
3 – Passion for the industry
Sometimes you don’t have direct experience at a competitor or the exact niche where the company plays. However, if you show a clear interest in the overall industry, that also translates. This career changer parlayed deep experience with the cruise industry as a customer to becoming a travel agent specializing in cruises.
4 – Fit with the role
The scope of responsibility and the challenge of the job is also an appealing motivation. I once coached a New Products Director for a food company whose expertise was not industry-specific (like food), but role-specific (launching new lines of business in her case). Since the company was specifically hiring for someone who could come in and build out a new offering from scratch, and this candidate had a track record of doing this multiple times in the past, it was believable that this is a role in which she thrives.
5 – Good Timing
One of my clients seemed like he was at a peak in his professional services career when he was looking. However, the career path of his field meant the next role focused on business development, rather than general management, and he wanted a different track. This timing meant that companies who could offer him a role where he’d stay doing what he preferred could land an expert candidate who was otherwise doing very well. It’s important to explain the timing of why you’re moving so the prospective company understands that you are serious about leaving and not getting pushed out.
When you tell a company why you want the job, it is ideal to include as many of the above elements as you can. Ideally, the company mission resonates, you love the product or service, this industry is where you want to forge your next career step, this role fits that desired next step, and the timing is right.
One Reason To Avoid
Speaking of timing and circumstance, be careful when you discuss your current situation to avoid giving the impression you are making a move because you need to or desperately want to move. Don’t move away from your past company to a new company. Keep the focus just on moving to the new company. If your motivation is about escaping your past, then you’re just looking for an alternative option, whatever that may be . No company wants to be the rebound relationship!