In my post on Tell Me About Yourself, I stated that an understanding of the purpose of questions asked is very important to being successful at interviews. A recruiter will assess your interest in a position to know SEVERAL things about you. These include;
- Your understanding of the position and its responsibilities
- How your profile (mix of skills and work experiences etc) fit the position
- Does this role fit into your overall career plan/path
Essentially, to answer the "Why are You Interested in This Position" interview question, you need to draw a link between the core responsibilities of the position, your skills and your career path.
Your understanding of the position and its responsibilities
Your understanding of what a position entails underlines your interest in it. It therefore follows that an inability to show an understanding of a position is an evidence of a lack of interest in the job.
Most job adverts have a job description which gives applicants an idea of what the job entails and this is a starting point for understanding about a position. Whenever you're preparing for an interview, do the following to gain an understanding of the position;
- Refer back to the job advert you originally responded to.
- Gain an understanding of the core responsibilities on this job
- Highlight specific requirements such as activities or softwares / IT systems you will be working with
- Who will you be reporting to?
- Will you be managing people?
Does your profile fit this position?
Having gained an understanding of the position you're to be interviewed for, your next motive will be to match this position against your profile (skills/abilities).
Your fit into a role is highlighted by the following;
- The skills,work experiences etc you possess which can be transferred to this position
- Where you do not meet a specific requirement of the position, other abilities you have which enable you to bridge such gaps
The second point above is very important and an individual that has not properly prepared for an interview / researched on the position may fail to scale through a job interview at this point.
For instance, consider an individual that has applied for an accounting role with a specification for applicants to have experience working with Peachtree (an accounting system). Assuming this individual has not worked with Peachtree but has experience working with other accounting systems, he/she will be able to highlight this ability and convince the recruiter that Peachtree bears similar layout/functionality with other accounting systems you've worked with. This, coupled with a mention of ability to learn is better guarantee for the applicant to get the job (This technique has worked for me and many other people out there).
Does This Role fit into your Overall Career Path?
By highlighting that a role fits into your career path, you are informing a recruiter that you have not applied for this job just because you came across the advert or just because you are unemployed (many job applications, especially the unsuccessful ones, fall into this category).
Instead, you need to show a recruiter that you have applied for/are interested in this position because it falls into your career plan/path, and hence, you are looking for an opportunity to continue your career growth.
Recruiters are looking for people that will accept and stay on the job.
In conclusion, in many cases an applicant who doesn't meet certain work experience requirements BUT has an understanding of what a position is about and a focus/career path which relates to the position will get an advantage over an experienced but unfocused/uninterested applicant.
Recruiters are interested in individuals that can show an interest in a job through an understanding of core responsibilities of the position, a skills and career path fit.