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What Not to Do in an Interview: Part IV

As companies shed more jobs and hire fewer new employees, having an impressive resume and perfectly polished interview skills are crucial.

Over the past couple weeks, we've been covering some of the biggest interview faux pas you may not even realize you're committing. To see my next tip,


Don't discount the "Why do you want this job?" question.
Many of you have mentioned this as one of your least favorite interview questions; unfortunately, it's also a favorite of self-made billionaires! Since on the surface, this question seems like a no-brainer — what's the main reason any of us want a job? To pay the bills! — your response might come off as perfunctory. But do yourself and the interviewer a favor, and don't write this question off just yet.

In interview-speak, "Why do you want this job?" really means "What’s in it for you?" Your interviewer's not asking why you want a job — she's wondering why, of all the postings on Craigslist, you're interested in this job. And whether you're looking to further your career or just trying to pick up a hostess job to make ends meet, there's got to be something about the job that appeals to you: Will it allow you to take your career in a new direction? Do you love being around people or have a knack for food and wine pairings?

By thinking this question through in advance and giving your interviewer an honest (but not too honest) response, you’ll be starting your interview off on the right foot and setting yourself apart from the poor souls who actually answer, "Uh, I need some extra income and you were hiring?" (it happens, believe it or not).


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BettyRN BettyRN 8 years
Being a nurse manager, I have interviewed people who said they wanted the job because they want "day shift"- wow, and good-bye!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Thanks Savvy!
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Hmm. Maybe spin it as this job being an opportunity to expand your skills and learn about the industry? I think you can always go with the somewhat cliché but usually true answer that the job you're applying for will be more of a challenge and more responsibility.
syako syako 8 years
This one is always tricky for me, because there is the possibility of being "too honest" in that I'd somehow say/allude to this job only being a stepping stone that I'll use for a couple of years. Anyone have ideas of how to put that in a way that doesn't come off sounding like "I'll be out of here in no time."?
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