How to Answer Why Are You Applying For This Position

“Why are you applying for this position” or “Why do you want this job?” are the most common interview questions where you need to highlight the connection between who you are and who the company is to help hiring managers choose you in the interview process. A hiring manager doesn’t want to hire just anybody, they want to hire the best candidate, a perfect company fit. The question “Why are you applying for this position” requires a bit of research on your end to examine the overlap between a company, a job, and you and tie them together in a way to clearly showcase your fit. This post will help you answer why are you applying for this position so you can land the right role for you.

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Why do employers ask “Why are you applying for this position?”

1. To showcase that you researched the company

When employers ask “Why are you applying for this position?” they’re really trying to gauge whether or not you cared enough to prepare for this interview. Did you research the company? Are you genuinely interested in the work the company is doing? Or is it merely just one of hundreds of jobs you applied for? When you’re answering the question of “Why do you want this job?” you need to draw a connection between yourself and the company to showcase that this isn’t just a random job you applied to, but a job you’re truly passionate about and interested in working at. When researching the company, you’ll want to draw on similar values, working styles, and vibe to showcase that you’re the ideal candidate for this position.

2. To find culture fit

Employers ask “Why are you applying for this position” to determine culture fit. If you’re applying for the position because of similar values, you’ll likely fit into the culture easily. Culture fit is basically about whether you have the same work ethic, drive, values, and more. Those trying to get a job at a startup will have a different set of personality traits and skills than someone working in a corporate environment. You want the culture fit to be organic and natural for you so you can ease into a role and fit in perfectly. That way, there’s less turnover for the employer (and you’ll likely be happier too).

3. To find a good role fit

Employers ask “Why are you applying for this position?” to see if you’re a good fit for the role. Have you done this type of work before? Are you in a similar stage for this role as this position? Do you have enough experience to do the job really well? These are all things they’re looking to answer when asking, “Why are you applying for this job?” They’re trying to find out if you’re trying to get a job in this area for the first time or whether you’re a leading expert already. For example, if someone is hiring for a leader position, and you say you’re hoping to land your first leadership role, but they’re looking for someone with tons of experience under their belt they won’t find alignment between you and the job.

4. To determine your career goals

The roles you apply for indicate what your career goals are. For example, if your goal is to grow into a leadership role, you’ll be applying for leadership positions. Alternatively, if you apply for a role with a mix of new skills you haven’t done before, you might showcase that you’re looking to stretch yourself in your craft. Being on the right path for your career is important for hiring managers who don’t want you to quit soon after for a better opportunity. If there’s alignment in your career trajectory and the one they have for this role, then they’ll see the fit for themselves.

5. To assess your motivation

Employers ask “Why are you applying for this position?” to assess your motivation for a job. Did you apply to every job you could find online or were you thoughtful for this position? What makes this job different from all the others out there for you? They’re trying to gauge if you actually want this job or any job you can find. The difference here is that the person who wants this job and not whatever they can get will put in more work, enjoy their job more, and be a better fit at the company rather than someone who’s mass applying everywhere.

why are you applying for this position

Other similar questions they might ask

  1. What motivated you to apply for this role?
  2. Why did you choose to pursue this opportunity?
  3. What interests you about this position?
  4. How does this job align with your career goals?
  5. What makes you a good fit for this role?
  6. Why do you want to work for our company?
  7. What drew you to our organization?
  8. How do your skills and experiences match the requirements of this job?
  9. What do you hope to achieve in this role?
  10. Why are you interested in this industry?
  11. What excites you about this position?
  12. Why did you decide to apply for a job with us?
  13. How did you hear about this job, and what piqued your interest?
  14. What makes our company stand out to you?
  15. What specific aspects of this job appeal to you?
  16. Why do you want to leave your current job for this one?
  17. How does this role fit into your long-term career plans?
  18. What attracted you to this position over others?
  19. What do you know about our company and why do you want to be a part of it?
  20. What do you think you can bring to this role?
  21. How do you see yourself contributing to our team?
  22. Why do you believe you are the best candidate for this position?
  23. What aspects of this job description excited you the most?
  24. Why are you interested in making a change at this point in your career?
  25. What career accomplishments make you a perfect fit for this job?
  26. How do you see this job helping you grow professionally?
  27. What do you find most appealing about our company culture?
  28. What inspired you to apply for this specific role?
  29. What do you hope to learn and experience in this position?
  30. How do you see this position supporting your professional development?

How to answer “Why are you applying for this position?”

1. Explain why this is a good fit for you

When answering the question, “Why are you applying for this position” explain why you think this role is a good fit for you. Draw as many comparisons between yourself, the job description, and the company as you can to highlight what makes you an ideal candidate for this role. The more connections you make between yourself and what the position calls for, the more likely they are to consider you for the role. If you sell yourself as the best candidate for your experience, values, and personality traits, hiring managers will notice your fit too, making it more likely that you’ll move into other interview stages.

2. Tie your answer to your main goals

When answering, “Why are you applying for this role?” tie your answer to your main goals. You might mention you’re looking to build yourself as an expert in an industry if you’re applying for public facing roles. Or you might mention you’re looking to further develop your leadership skills if applying for leadership roles. If you’re changing job titles, you might mention you’re looking to expand your skill set in new ways to further develop yourself because you have a growth mindset. In general, you’ll want to be honest about your career goals, because if you lie, you’ll be forced to go down a path you might not want or worse the hiring manager will sense your dishonesty. Pick something about the role that you’re genuinely interested in exploring further and tie it to one of your actual goals to help answer this question.

3. Draw the connection between past jobs and this job

When asked “Why are you applying for this job” you can answer by drawing connections between this job you’re applying for to the previous jobs you’ve worked. You might mention that you specialize in jobs in this industry or niche and that you genuinely have a deep passion and interest in the space and understand the unique challenges people in this niche have. You might also highlight the skills from past jobs you’ve developed that fit in perfectly with this job. Drawing connections between your personal values from past jobs and how they’re similar to this new job can also help you showcase your consistency and reasoning for applying for a job like this.

4. Share your common values with the company

When answering the interview question why are you applying for this position, it’s crucial to share common values with the company. Companies will share their values on their about page or even on a careers page to give you an inside look at their culture. You don’t need to directly state their values and talk about how they’re aligned. However, you can introduce your interest in the role by tying the values you have with your track record and experience. For example, if a startup company has “hustle” as part of its values, you can share how many projects you shipped in a previous role and the results of everything you shipped to showcase that you too like to hustle without ever having to state “I value hustle culture too.” You don’t need to be Captain Obvious when it comes to drawing the connections between your values and the alignment with the company values, it’s about selling yourself through that lens so they can see it.

5. Highlight your skills and accomplishments to this position

In an interview, you can respond to the question “why are you applying for this job” by talking about your hard and soft skills and accomplishments. A hiring manager wants to know what big results you’ve achieved in the past to help them predict what sort of results you’ll achieve in the future. The bigger your accomplishments the clearer it is what skills you’ve developed over the years. They’ll see you’ve got a great track record for big wins and big results. A hiring manager, at the end of the day, just wants to know what you’ve done in the past and what you’ll do if hired. They want to see your line of thinking and your capabilities. Help them imagine what sort of things you’ll be able to help them achieve if they choose you as a candidate.

6. Demonstrate your excitement and passion

When answering “Why are you applying for this position” you’ll want to demonstrate your excitement and passion. Being enthusiastic in an interview is so important because people are going to decide whether or not to hire you based on your personality and whether or not they like you. If they get a good vibe from you, they might overlook some of your weaknesses in terms of skills. At the end of the day, people want to hire people who are easy to get along with, who will help them achieve their goals, and who put in the work to crush results. Rehearsing your answer for “why are you applying for this role” and your tone for telling the story will help you craft your answer well. You need to sell yourself in an interview, and when you showcase your excitement and passion, you get others excited about the possibility of working with you.

why are you applying for this job

Sample answers to “Why are you applying to this job?”

“I believe I am the ideal candidate for this position because of my proven track record of exceeding targets and delivering outstanding results. For instance, in my previous role as a sales manager, I not only met but surpassed our annual sales targets by 25%. I achieved this by implementing a new customer relationship management system that streamlined our sales process and improved client follow-up, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and repeat business. My ability to identify areas for improvement and execute effective strategies will be invaluable to your team.”

“You should hire me because I bring a unique blend of technical expertise and creative problem-solving skills. During my time at ABC Corporation, I led a project to revamp our outdated IT infrastructure. By researching and implementing the latest technologies, I was able to reduce system downtimes by 40% and improve overall efficiency. Additionally, my collaborative approach ensured that all stakeholders were on board and the transition was smooth. My ability to navigate complex technical challenges while maintaining a focus on user experience would greatly benefit your organization.”

“My dedication to continuous improvement and team development makes me a strong fit for this position. In my role as a team leader at XYZ Ltd., I initiated a mentorship program that paired experienced employees with new hires. This program not only accelerated the onboarding process but also fostered a supportive and collaborative work environment. As a result, employee retention increased by 30%, and overall team performance improved significantly. My commitment to fostering a positive workplace culture and developing talent aligns with your company's values and goals.”

What not to say to “Why are you applying for this position?”

1. I just need a job

2. I liked how high the salary was

3. It has better benefits than my current job

4. My boss is a nightmare

5. I heard this is a good company from a friend who works here

6. It looked like an easy job

7. I’m running out of my severance


If you’re currently preparing for an interview to answer questions like “Why are you applying for this position,” just know that you can use Huntr to get access to mock interview questions tailored to the job you’re applying for. You can also use Huntr to write tailored resumes and cover letters with AI so you can apply to more places faster. Huntr also has a handy job tracker for you to organize your applications and manage your interview calendar. If you’re interviewing at various companies right now, sign up for Huntr today.

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira, Senior Writer at Huntr, brings a rich background in marketing, tech, and ecommerce to craft insightful content on job search strategies and career advancement. With experience from Super Magic Taste to Shopify, she excels in creating engaging, actionable advice for job seekers.

Nicole's expertise in SEO and content marketing, honed across diverse roles, enables her to effectively guide individuals through the complexities of the job market. Her contributions at Huntr are vital, offering readers valuable tips and strategies to navigate their professional journeys successfully, making her work an invaluable resource for job seekers everywhere.

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