top of page
  • Sandra Laws - Career Coach

Great Answer for a Tough Interview Question

"Why have you applied for this position?" This is usually the first question you are likely to be asked in the job interview. This is your opening scene to make a strong impression to an employer. I like to refer to this question as a “warm up". A well prepared “warm up” answer can help to settle your nerves, keep you on track throughout the interview and build momentum. This is where a candidate can pitch their personal brand to the employer.

I am going to share 3 practical steps that you can use as a tool for answering this question. Many candidates make the mistake of approaching this question by reciting the bullet points from their CV or resume. This was the way I had approached this question many years ago. This question is not really about the candidate, it is about what the candidate can do for the organisation!

Why is the hiring manager asking you this question?

The hiring manager wants a snapshot of how you can solve their problems and bring added value to the organisation. The employer wants to know whether this role is a long or short-term career move for you. Can you quantify and prove that you can deliver to the organisation’s objectives?


1. Your Outstanding Achievements & Strengths

Read the job specification and job description to ensure you have identified the top 3 essential skills required to do the role. Write down 2-3 of your key achievements and strengths that relate to the job description. These examples must demonstrate how your experience meets the organisation’s needs. Focus on what problems this position is being hired to solve. Demonstrate you are the best candidate for the job.

2. Talk About Your Career Destination

Your career destination is a crucial element in this question. How does this job or this organisation fits with your future career plans? Be clear on how this job fits in with your overall career plan

3. Show Enthusiasm & Genuine Interest about the Organisation

Research the organisation and understand their priorities and strategy. This is an opportunity to show employer you understand how the company operates. Comment on the organisation’s reputation, successes, mission statement or highlight how the organisation’s values align with your own. Comment on the organisation’s service/products and what interest you about this.

What Are Benefits of Using This Process?

  • Gives you a central focus and keeps you on track.

  • Creates your pitch

  • Is a springboard for your interview

  • Builds your confidence

  • Demonstrates why you want you want to work at this organisation

  • This is the one question you have control over this question

This approach has provided many of my clients with a springboard to take control of the direction of their interview journey. Clients would feedback that although it would take them some time to drill down and pick out key nuggets from their career history to prepare this answer, it was worth going through this process.

Start prepping for your interview today with this effective process. Drop me an email if have any questions or comments about interviews:

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln



bottom of page