As a career coach, I work with people every day on interview preparation. Interviews are a form of public speaking. 99 percent of people fear public speaking more than death. Thus, it's no wonder interviews unnerve my clients. Not only do we go over all the common questions like, "Tell me about yourself," and "What makes you unique?" We also dig in deep to those sneaky behavioral questions employers are using to get inside your head and discover your true motives.
Why Do You Want This Job?
It's not uncommon for employers to ask your reasons for wanting their open position. Most of us know not to be too brutally honest i.e. "I hate my boss and coworkers." Or, "I'm about to get fired for performance." But, some mistakenly think the right answer is to talk about what a great employer the company is. I've seen lots of people try to answer this question by praising the company for its policies on hiring diversity, or it's commitment to employee development. I've also seen some dive into all the awards the company has won for being an outstanding employer. The problem with these responses are A) you look like a suck-up, and B) you're actually revealing something negative about your current employment situation.
Whatever You Applaud Reveals What's Really Bugging You
Employers assume when you go on and on about the benefits of working for them, it implies you don't have those things at your current employer. Even worse, it sends the message you're focused on your own needs and NOT the needs of the employer. So, when you say you admire their diversity, the hiring manager hears, "My company doesn't recognize my uniqueness." Or, when you say you love that they offer employee training, you're crying, "My company doesn't recognize my potential and won't foot the bill for my growth." While these things may or may not be true, that's not the message you want to be sending in the interview, is it?
Focus on How the Job Will Makes You More Valuable to Them
The right answer is to explain how the job will let you leverage your existing skills, experience, and interests better so you can save or make the company more money. If you want to get the job, stop thinking like an employee an start thinking like a business-of-one. In the interview, your goal is to sell your services to the employer. The employer wants to hear you want the job because you see huge potential to improve their situation and are excited about it. That's what will make them invest in you. See the difference? The answer is about them, not you!
P.S. - Interview Prep Today Shouldn't Be Taken Lightly
If you're passively looking for a job, or are in the job search for the first time in a few years, please know the low unemployment rate has made it harder for companies to find the talent they want. Thus, they're actually making their interview processes harder in order to weed out potential bad hires. In times of low unemployment, companies can't afford to make costly hiring mistakes. Spending time on interview prep will make a huge difference in your ability to get hired faster. And, by the right employer.