Skip Navigation
HERC Career Blog

The Question of WHY You Want the Job

Paula Goodman
By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University
September 22, 2016

It is highly likely that the lead-in question from an interviewer in higher education could be “why are you interested in this position?”  It is one that I personally use—or some variation on it.  An easy trap that candidates  fall into is “Because it’s at xxxxx” .  This response is particular common when candidates are interviewing with prestigious institutions.  That is not all what interviewers want to hear and in fact causes them to find the response annoying. 

While the prestige may be one of the draws for you, interviewers want to hear about why you are interested in THE  OPEN JOB.  They want to hear about your passion for Finance, or IT, or Admissions, etc, etc.  Hiring the right person to join their teams and carry out the responsibilities of their unit is what matters to them.  Of course fitting in with the culture of the whole institution is important but early on you need to convince them that you really want to do what they need someone to do.  If, however, you happen to be an alum of the school in question you can certainly weave that fact into your answer later in the interview, pending of course that you had a good experience at your alma mater.


Thinking about your next career move?

Check out our latest job postings or create a free account to save your job searches and customize your daily job alerts.

Find your Ideal job.
Be found by your ideal employer.
Set up custom job alerts and upload your resume
Create Your Account Log in to Your Account
Higher Ed Career News

HERC Higher Ed Careers SmartBrief

Designed specifically for the jobseeker, the HERC Jobseeker SmartBrief is a FREE, daily e-mail newsletter. By providing the latest need-to-know industry news and information, HERC Jobseeker SmartBrief saves you time and keeps you smart.&nbsp;Click&nbsp; <a href=''>here</a> to subscribe.
  1. Tips for seeking a job outside of academia

    19 Jan 2018 13:11:03 CST
  2. How tenured faculty can keep their careers fresh

    19 Jan 2018 13:11:03 CST
  3. Let go of these ideas to find career happiness

    19 Jan 2018 13:11:03 CST
All Employers

Featured Partner

Diverse Issues in Higher Education logo