How to be a Good Candidate: Answering "Why Are You Looking for a Job?"

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All interviewers have common questions they ask. It’s a good idea, as a job candidate, to become familiar with some of the most frequently asked questions.

“Why are you looking for a job?” is among the questions interviewers most often ask.

How can you answer it well to be a good candidate?

First, don’t just blurt the actual answer, whether it’s a desire for more money or you’re anxious about being downsized.

Recognize why it’s being asked. Yes, the interviewer might be curious about why you’re looking. But they also want, first and foremost, to know what you would contribute to their company. So keep that in mind as you answer.

Thus, if it’s a higher salary, you don’t necessarily want to put that first in your response. Why? Because that doesn’t really tell them what you can contribute. What does? Well, your experience and qualifications. Something like “I’ve learned a great deal about x software while I’ve been at y company, and I’d like to pursue that knowledge at a more advanced level” is great, because it puts your contributions first. Plus, of course, more advanced levels generally come with a higher salary!

Similarly, if you feel in danger of being downsized, stress that you are searching for stability and a chance to make a contribution.

One caution. Whatever you do, don’t give any indication that you don’t like the company or the people where you are.

Why? Because hiring managers will assume that, what you do and say in their interview will be pretty similar to what you do and say in future interviews. They don’t want to be bad-mouthed, so they won’t appreciate any attempts to do it on your part. Remain professional and pleasant, no matter what your feelings are.

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