‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: At my last job as an assistant manager at a hair salon, the owner asked me to sign a non-compete clause. I applied for a manager position at another salon and was selected. When I told the owner about it, she threatened to sue both me and the person hiring me, so I told her I would not go. A week later, the owner told me she "accepted my resignation," although I'd made it clear to her that I was not leaving. She said she was doing me a favor by letting me resign, rather than be fired. — Samantha J.T.: The truth is that a lawsuit is a costly process, and your old boss probably wouldn't have sued you. But you never know, so I understand your decision to stay. Dale: And now the non-compete still may be shadowing you. It would be well worth the cost of an hour of an employment attorney's time to get some questions answered, including, "Is the non-compete even valid?" According to the "Guide to Workplace Law" from the American Bar Association, a non-compete "is enforceable only if the company has a substantial right, unique to its business, that it is trying to protect." (It goes on to give an example of a company with an employee who'd been given specialized training developed by the company.) I'd hate to see you have your employment future restricted by a non-compete, which is supposed to protect a company's rights, not keep you in employment bondage. J.T.: Yes, get the non-compete behind you. Then, when it comes time to explain your last job in an interview, keep it short and positive. Explain the facts of how you ended up leaving the last job, and then say something like this: "I learned a lot from the experience and am glad that I'm now free to find a new position. I am really committed to this profession and want to find a salon management role that will let me build a thriving practice for my employer." The key is to move forward by talking about the future, while saying nothing negative about your past. Dale: And never forget what your past is telling a prospective new employer: You already were offered a manager's job, and your old boss wanted to fight to keep you. That's employer catnip — everyone wants to hire a person other employers desire. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock
A common interview question employers ask during job interviews is, "Why are you interested in this position?" They want to know why you want to work at their company, and the specific motivation behind why you applied for the job (not that you need a paycheck).
Knowing how to answer interview questions well is always important, especially with this question.
To persuade the employer that you have a true connection to the company and a passion for the job you applied for, your answer to this interview question should start with, "I'm interested in this job, at this company, because…" and then list at least three reasons why you want to work there.
Here is how you should structure your answer to the interview question, "Why are you interested in this job?"
Reason #1 – Professional Fit
Your first reason should always show fit in terms of professional skills.
Example: "I'm interested in this job because I can see that, in this role, my skills could help solve this problem within your company. I also see an opportunity for me to learn and grow these skills, so we both would benefit personally, professionally, and financially. If I can come in here and solve problems and accomplish your goals, I know I can develop my career the way that I want to."
This part of your answer lets them know that you are excited about what you will be able to accomplish for them, while still emphasizing what they are getting out of the bargain. You need to sell yourself as a business-of-one who can provide a service better than the competition.
Reason #2 – Cultural Fit
Your second reason when answering, "Why are you interested in this job?" also shows fit, but in a different way.
Example: "Also, I like the culture of this organization. From what I've heard and what I've been reading about the company, it seems like a great fit for my personality and my values. I really connect with your mission statement, and feel passionate about the work that you do."
This is a general answer, so if you can be more specific by actually naming a couple of things you've heard or read about the company's workplace culture that you like, it will help your cause. This is one area where your pre-interview research is critical.
Here are a few things you may want to look for when you research the company:
- Is this a top company in the field/industry?
- Is this company known for cutting-edge products or other innovations?
- Does this company have a great reputation for customer service?
- Is this company known for being a great place to work?
- Does this company value and/or provide resources for employee development?
Mention those things that truly speak to you and your values so your sincerity shows.
Reason #3 – Personal Fit
Wrap up your answer to this interview question with something that personalizes it a bit more.
- "And this job is in a great location for me. I've always wanted to move here."
- "And this job is only five minutes from my house, so eliminating the commute is a big plus."
- "And I've always used your products, and I just love them. I am really excited about being a part of that."
Say something that gives you another reason of your own for wanting this job. This interview answer is a fantastic place to let your enthusiasm for the job show. It's very appealing to employers, and it gives them one more reason to hire you.
Download Work It Daily's FREE list of common interview questions here.
You'll have a very clear and thorough answer to the question, "Why are you interested in this job?" if you follow the formula above. Set yourself apart from the competition today!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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