It’s the new year, and you’ve resolved to land your dream job in 2020. But did you know that January is the most popular month to look for a new job? This means there’s much more competition. So the last thing you want to do is give bad interview answers to – Why did you apply to this role? which is one of the most common interview questions you’re likely to get asked.  

This question can come in different forms, such as:

Why are you interested in this role?

What attracted you to this role/ job? 

Why are you looking for a new job? 

So, what are some bad interview answers to why did you apply for this role? And what’s a better way to answer this question instead? 

Regardless of how the question is posed, there are 3 things you must to do when answering the interview question to make yourself stand out. 

  1. Express your interest in the company and show them you’re interested in them 
  2. Demonstrate you can add value
  3. Explain how the role fits with your career trajectory and how it will challenge you

So let’s consider each of these points in turn. 

When answering the interview question, why did you apply for this role? make sure you…

How to avoid bad interview answers Tip #1

Express your interest in the company and show them you’re interested in them 

When it comes to answering the question of “why do you want this job?” or “why do you want to work here?” you might be tempted to let the interviewer know that you’re just looking for new job and this role looked interesting enough, so you thought why not. After all, it’s the truth right. 

Maybe you’ve been looking for a new job for a while and you’re starting to feel like any job will do, but your future employer doesn’t want to know that. 

Imagine a new job being like a new relationship ( cheesy I know!). In any relationship, no one likes to feel like they’re just anyone. If you’re not prepared for this question that’s the message you’re going to give. That this is just “another” company and this is just “another” job. Not the best way to make someone feel special! 

Some examples of bad interview answers include:

  • I don’t like my current job
  • I’m no longer enjoying my current job
  • I’m getting laid off
  • I just need a change
  • My contract is ending so I need another job
  • I don’t have a job right now

All of these things might be true, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Getting laid off can happen and it’s ok to say you’re getting laid off or your job is being made redundant. It’s also fine to be ready for a change, whether it’s because your job has changed beyond recognition, or because you’ve outgrown it. 

In fact, it’s no crime to say any of these things in an interview, the mistake is leaving it at that. If this is all you say, and believe me, it happens, then this is definitely a bad way to answer this interview question. 

By themselves, these statements say nothing about why you want to work for that specific company or why you’re interested in that specific job, and that’s the key. 

So how do you avoid giving a bad interview answer and show that you’re interested in the company?

Companies want to hire people who are passionate and excited to be there and who genuinely want to be part of their team. After all, when you enjoy what you do, you’re more likely to do  a great job. Not only this, since hiring is such a big challenge, companies want to be sure that you’ll stick around. 

Secondly, companies want to hire people who will fit in with their culture and they’re looking for people who understand and share their values.

Show that you’re genuinely interested in the company by doing your research. 

As simple as it sounds, it’s surprising how many people will apply for a job without even taking a cursory look at the company website or knowing who they are or what they do. 

If this comes across, you’ll likely come off as someone who is just applying for anything and not being selective and serious about their next career move.

At the very least, check out the company website. A great site will have plenty of information including company values, insight into the culture, and any CSR that they might be involved in. 

If the website has limited information, why not check out interviews with the CEO, read annual reports, check out glassdoor and the company Linkedin page. Not to mention any other social media channels they might have.

When it comes to their values and culture, many companies will list their core values on their website. You can get a feel for the company culture from CEO interviews, social media accounts, and even the language they use in any of their content.

Make it clear that you understand what they’re about and let them know that your values are aligned. 

How to avoid bad interview answers Tip #2

Demonstrate you can add value

Organizations are looking for people who will be able to add value and help them achieve their business goals and objectives.

You can show that you’ll be able to add value by aligning your skills to the role. Select some of the key requirements of the role and highlight how this relates to your own experience and skills.  This will show that you’re clear on what the role is, that you have taken the time to assess your suitability and what’s more, that you’ll be able to add some value based on the experiences or knowledge you already have. 

Here are some examples of how you might do this: 

‘I feel I will be able to succeed in the role because I have experience in ( insert example requirement) /softs skills that demonstrate ( insert example requirement)   which I gained from… 

‘I believe my skills are well-suited to this role because I have …”

Based on the requirements of the role, I understand that you’re looking for someone with ( insert example requirement). This is an area I have substantial experience in having previously… 

You don’t need to go into too much detail at this stage, as you’ll have the opportunity to expand on things later. But clearly stating the experiences that you have which will enable you to add value will show the interviewer that you know what’s important to them from the off.

How to avoid bad interview answers Tip #3

Explain how the role fits with your career trajectory and how it will challenge you

Finding the right candidate for a position can take a long time. Therefore, all companies are looking to hire people who will stay for a reasonable period of time. But how do you prove to a future employer that you plan to stick around? 

As well as talking about the skills and experiences you already have, it’s important to share the ways in which you feel the role will give you the opportunity to develop further in some way and how the role aligns with your medium to long term career plans. 

This isn’t about letting them know your 10-year career plan, rather, it’s a chance to highlight one or two ways in which the role will challenge you. 

For example, it could be that you know the company is moving in  a certain direction and they are at the cutting edge with something.  So you want to be part of this exciting time. Perhaps the role will give you a chance to develop management and leadership skills. Or maybe the role will provide you with a chance to work internationally. Either way, highlighting these points will give an insight into why you might be likely to stay with the company longer term. 

To summarise

the next time you get asked Why are you interested in this role? Make sure you cover these important key points:

  1. Express your interest in the company
  2. Demonstrate you can add value 
  3. Share how it will challenge you and how it fits with your career trajectory

Now that you’re all set when it comes to bad interview answers to – Why Did You Apply For This Role? ( And you know What To Say Instead), go ace that interview and land that job! 

Ready to ace that next interview? start by reading the following: 

How To Prepare For Your Next Interview & Leave A  Lasing Impression

The Questions That The Smartest Candidates Are Asking At Interview