PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t do this ONE THING
Recent grads! I love you. You are the lifeblood of my business! But I need you to stop doing this one super annoying thing in interviews. This thing signifies that you haven’t yet made the shift from being a student to being a professional, and, most importantly, by doing this thing you are shooting yourself in the proverbial foot.
The thing that you need to stop doing is saying: “I want to be X to do X for the world, and this job will help me to do that because Y.” Up to now, statements like these have been a standard and required part of your college and grad school applications. You tell the school who you are, what you want to accomplish, and how the program will help you reach those lofty goals. Ok, great. Then what? You are accepted to the program! Then, what’s the next step? You pay them money. Lots of money. To study there.
But now, you’re in the job market, and my clients might ask you the question, “Why do you want to work at my company?” And you say, “I want do be X and do X for the world and your company will help me do that because Y.” And you don’t get the job. Huh? Funny, right?
Well, let’s play this example out a little bit. Say you answer the interview question correctly (I will tell you how below). Then what happens? You get the job and low and behold… They pay YOU money. Considerable money. To work there.
The point is, there is an important difference between applying for schools (or internships, or study abroad programs, etc.), and applying for a job. In the first situation YOU are paying, or YOU are the customer. Therefore, it is okay to talk about what the program can do for you. But when you’re applying for a job, the company is paying YOU. Read: the company is the customer and YOU are selling your services. How weird would it be if you Kanye said “If you buy these Yeezy’s I can really accomplish my life goals”? Wouldn’t you be like, “chill Kanye, I am spending the money here, so what will these Yeezy’s do for me?”
Ok. So how do you answer the question? Well, when the interviewer says, “Why are you interested in the job?” that’s your cue to tell them what YOU can do for the company. You can say something like, “I noticed on your website you have a number of sales openings and I believe that means you are going to need someone who can come in, make an impact, and lead that team.” Or, “You seem to have a great product, but none of my peers have heard of it yet. I want to help you get the message out.”
Once you master this question, you will win in every interview