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“So… What Attracted You To This Job?”

When it comes to job interviews, there are always a few guaranteed questions that are bound to pop up. From things like “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” to “What’s your biggest weakness?”, these questions can be tricky to answer and can turn even the most competent candidate into a mumbling mess.

Now, as you can see from our “Interview Advice” section, over the last year or so we’ve been slowly working our way through these questions – and trying to give you some guidance and tips on how best to answer them, in the hope you won’t be caught off guard next time they get fired in your direction at an interview.

Today, we thought we’d look at the good old “What attracted you to this job?” question – because we know from first-hand experience that this is one that candidates definitely struggle with.

The problem with this question? It can be hard to answer the question without sounding like you’re only it for the brand name, increased salary and benefits. OK, so they might be the reasons you were attracted to the job… but an employer doesn’t want to hear that!

When it comes to answering this question, the interviewer wants to hear that you’re interested in the good and bad bits of the job. Yes, the good bits are probably going to be what first caught your eye – but they’re only a small element of the role – so they should only form a small part, if any, of your answer. Remember, employers want employees who are willing to work hard for their company and put in the hard graft to achieve the benefits and rewards… not employees that are only there for the 30 days holiday a year and £30,000 paycheck!

With this question, it’s all about specifics so you really need to prepare beforehand. Before the interview, look back at the original job advert – and ask yourself honestly what made you apply for the job. Was it the diversity of the role, the challenge of the tasks involved or the type of work you’d be doing? Was it the reputation of the brand, the progression the role offers or the type of companies and brands you’d get to work with?

Even if it was the paycheck and benefits that originally caught your eye, there must be something else in the role that appealed to you enough to actually make you apply – so you really need to pinpoint it and build your answer around it.

When you’re answering this question, it’s important to be honest. By that I don’t mean say that you’re only in it for the benefits and money – I mean be honest about the role elements that excite you and those that don’t. If you’re really not excited about the thought of conducting off-site SEO, don’t say you are! Why? Because an employer will remember this – and there’s a chance that, should they offer you the job, they’ll tweak the role to include more of this because they think you enjoy it! Remember, when it comes to applying for jobs, lies always have a habit of catching up with you!

Instead, focus on the elements that genuinely do excite you and talk about how you think your previous experience and knowledge will help you carry these tasks out successfully – this way you’ll be giving a more genuine, honest answer – which again, may even impact the type of the role you’re offered in the end.

Like I said earlier, employers are looking for candidates that are genuinely excited about the job and the role they’d be playing within the company – and this question is their way of trying to determine how a candidate actually feels about the job on offer. Aside from the good old “Why should we hire you?” question, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your passion for the job and company in question – so don’t waste it!

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