“Why do you want this job?”
Tempting as it is, you cannot tell your interviewer you want the job because you have mortgage payments and would prefer not to be homeless. You can’t say you don’t want it, but you need it. You don’t want to say it is because you heard that this company pays better than competitors. Your personal reasons for wanting the job do not matter. Your goal with answering this question is to show enthusiasm for the company and start explaining why you fit the role they're looking to fill. This question tests three things: preparedness, enthusiasm, and knowledge.
Let’s start with preparedness- first off you need to have an answer prepared for this question, and it needs to be a different answer for every company. Part of the reason this question is asked is just to see if the candidate thought about it beforehand, to see if they are fully prepared for their interview. This does not mean you should stick to a script (you don’t want to sound too rehearsed!), just that you should be ready to answer this question before you start your interview.
Part of showing that you are prepared comes from showing that you are enthusiastic about the position and the company. This is where you want to tell them what you like about them. Talk about their product. Talk about their business model. Or, talk about the workplace environment. What you want to do is to find something that you like about the company and tell them about it. It doesn’t really matter what "it" is. It just matters that the enthusiasm feels genuine. If you can, be specific. If you remember a particularly successful product, mention it. The best thing you can be is enthusiastic and informed.
Which brings us to knowledge. When displaying your knowledge, you want to convey two things: 1) your knowledge of the company, and 2) your knowledge of yourself. Knowing exactly what the position is and exactly who it is for is very important. But, it is also important to know who you are and how well you fit that position. You know what your skills are better than anyone else, and part of your job in answering this question is displaying that knowledge. You should be able to explain how your unique skill-set matches the position you are applying for. From there you can talk about long-term goals, where you want your career to be headed, and why the company is the perfect place to grow that career. This shows that you not only know a fair amount about the company, but also that you know that you would be a good fit for it!
Like most interview questions, it seems simple but ends up being fairly complex! However, if you stick to showing off your preparedness, your enthusiasm, and your knowledge you will do just fine!