As a career coach, I tell job seekers to take every interview they can get for two reasons:

1. Interviewing is a skill they don't teach in school. The more practice you can get, the better you'll become at it.

2. You never know when you'll stumble upon a life-changing opportunity. This actually happened to me in my 20s, and I'm grateful every day for taking that interview, as it changed my career direction and my life.

Now, if you follow this advice, you'll probably run into times when you don't want the job. However, that's not a reason to cut the interview short and say, "I don't want this job. I'm outta here." I suggest you be polite and do your best in the interview. Besides, it's likely you'll give away your lack of interest and not be offered the job. Here's why ...

"Why do you want this job?" trips up most job seekers.

I'm amazed at how many job seekers stress over the idea of answering curveball interview questions but fail to prepare for the basic ones. Being able to articulate why you want the job is one of the most important things you should be able to do in an interview. And yet I've seen people who really, REALLY want the job screw it up. In fact, most people don't answer this question correctly because they fail to convey their connection to the employer

Hiring managers need to confirm you've got the right motivation.

The best way to answer the question is to share a story that explains how you've come to understand that what the company does is important. When you tie your experience and passion to the company's mission through storytelling, you prove you've got internal motivation for the job. If you can't provide details as to why you feel aligned with their customers, products, services, etc., then your desire for the job won't be seen as strong.

For example ...

Let's say you want to get a job at an Apple store. Which of the following answers sounds more compelling?

A) I've done customer service for three years now and have a lot of retail experience. Plus, I like technology, and Apple products in particular.

B) I've been obsessed with Apple products since the day I got my first iPhone. My friends all call me an Apple geek, and I'm proud of it. Especially when they come and ask me for help -- which is almost daily. I just love finding new ways to get the most out of Apple products and then sharing what I've learned with other users. So, the idea of doing that in an Apple store is a dream come true.

See the difference?

The second one helps the hiring manager visualize you in the job better and proves you really want it. If you want to make sure every hiring manager you interview with thinks you want their job, do your homework. The better you can get at creating a powerful connection story, the better the chances are that you will get the offer.

Published on: Nov 6, 2018