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Why this job? Why this company? Your answers to these questions during an interview are more important than you may think.

On more than one occasion, hiring leaders have shared their surprise when candidates answered the “why” questions in ways that ranged from flippant to unprepared. These poor responses made them doubt whether a candidate was the right fit for the position and company, or truly interested in the role.

To make sure you’re prepared during your next interview, the first thing to do is authentically understand why you want the position. To help with that, ask yourself these questions:

  • How is this role the next step for your career?
  • What is it about the company that is interesting to you? (Know the organization’s mission, earnings, goals, values, etc.)
  • Is this a leadership team you want to join or work under?
  • Are the people you’ve met at the company individuals you want to work with?

Each of these questions requires a little homework on your part, but the time invested will be well spent. Not only will you be able to articulate why you want a specific role at a specific company – you will have more certainty that this opportunity is the right next step to move your career forward.