why this position or why this company - interview questions and how to prepare

On the difference of “why this position” vs “why this company”


Did you finally start the interview process with that company that you liked since forever? Well done, that’s a brilliant first step! Now all you have to do is convince them they should be just as excited as you are.

Two questions inevitably come up in all interviews and they can set the tone for your excitement: Why this position? Why this company?

The first step is to differentiate they are asking you two very different things, and you should give two different answers. Failing to articulate two distinct sets of reasons would automatically raise red flags in the interviewer’s head as to your suitability for the role or company/culture.

A few short tips on how to prepare.


Why this role?

How to prepare

  • Read and understand the job spec.
  • Think over the main aspects of the role, the scope, the responsibilities, the things you’d need to learn on the job.
  • Think how it relates to your experience, but also to your passions, ambitions and aspirations.

No job spec is or could be an exhaustive source of information – think of all the questions that arise from it.

Red flags

  • You’re applying because you’re very interested in the company.  – That’s great, but would you do a good job on the job?
  • You’re applying for the possibility of quick career progression. – That’s great, but does that mean you’d get bored on the job within 2 months?
  • You’re applying because it matches your experience. – That’s a great first step of the answer, but please expand by outlining how it relates to your passions, professional aspirations etc.
  • You’re applying because your current position is bad and you want a change – You need to show you’re passionate about the role in this company rather than just outline the negative side of your current experience.


Why this company?

How to prepare

  • Check out the company website: what are they actually doing – what’s their product? What’s the sector they’re operating in? Who are their competitors?
  • Check out the company culture and try to get a peek into what it is actually like to work there – Glassdoor, blog posts, social media, interviews on YouTube are all excellent sources of info on that account.

Red flags

  • You applied because the position matches your experience – That’s brilliant, but why would you like to work for the company?
  • You applied because you’re looking for a job – That’s great, but why this company as opposed to all others?
  • You applied because of all the things that are wrong with your current company – Being negative is never a good strategy in an interview. Rather, focus on the positive things you’re seeing in the one you’re applying for.

At the end of the day, you have to be as impressed with the company as they should be with you – what questions do you have for them? What are the aspects of the role or the culture in the company that would suit your expectations?

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