Five Reasons why it is the most important interview question.
There are lots of questions that can been seen as ‘killer’ questions in an interview. Employers interview in order to assess your skills, your knowledge, your experience and your ‘fit’, but there is one question that can kill you before your have even get going. And that is the motivation question. Why is it so critical, why can one small question, used as a warm up, be so important?
For many years and in many organisations the influence of equal opportunities policies meant no one asked it; what does it matter why they are here? The fact that they applied and have turned up to the interview means they want the job. You don’t need to ask them, it is not competence related etc etc. However there is a real curiosity in the employers mind abut why people want to work for them and they want people who are keen. So agree or disagree the ‘why do you want the job’ question is on the agenda and you need to be ready to answer it because a duff answer is just not acceptable. So why is it so important?
1. It usually comes first; as the saying goes you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. And if this is the first time you open your mouth you need to impress. If you score 2 out of 10 on that first question it is a very steep climb back up the hill to be appointable. If you score 9, you are in a strong position for the rest of the interview.
2. This is your sales pitch. Most jobs involve selling and persuading, influencing others, convincing people. So this is an ‘on the job test’; you need to influence and persuade. This is a test of your selling skills and your communication skills.
3. You should have been expecting it. If there is one question that you can reliably anticipate it is this one. It may not be phrased as ‘why do you want the job?’, it may be ‘what has attracted you to apply?’ ‘what will you bring to the job?’ ‘where does this fit in your career?’ however the question is framed the meaning is clear, why do you want to come here and you should know that it is coming, so you should be prepared to answer it. An employer will expect that you know the answer, that you know your own mind and can express it.
4. Not to have an answer well prepared shows a lack of planning and preparation. You should be able to demonstrate your understanding of the role and why the organisation is attractive and one you want to work for. Preparation and planning.. two more qualities that every employer will be looking for.
5. Your answer sets out your stall and gives you an opportunity to ‘deal with’ any unspoken objections that the panel may have but not want to ask about. If the big question mark about you is why you are looking for a side ways move, or geographical move or even a down step: they may not directly ask but in your answer to the motivation question you can get rid of that question as a problem. It may be the only chance you get.
So that first question performs a number of functions and doing well at that point may create a rosy glow that can last to the end of the interview. So get prepared to deliver your pitch really strongly, serve an ace and win the game, the set and the match.