Bluf:  Is there a preferred form for answering non-behavioral questions such as, "why do you want this job", "why should you be hired for the job", "what makes you right for the job", etc?

I am about to interview for the head of a federal legal department in the Pacific Northwest.  I will be interviewed by 6 people (A federal judge, the dean of a law school, two other heads of departments and two other attorneys.)  I know who my interviewers will be and I have researched them.  These interviewers are absurdly accomplished but there is nothing (that I can find) to lead me to believe they have any HR experience or would know what a behavioral interview is, let alone how to do one.  

I have been preparing for a behavioral interview and I feel great about my answers.  That said, I have this feeling that at least one person is going to want to cut to the bottom line and ask me why I want the job or why they should give me the job.  When I have tried to articulate answers I've had problems providing a 3-5 minute answer that isn't rambling or bordering on lecturing.  

Am I over-complicating things?  Is it as simple as this? -- I want this job because this is the type of work I want to do for the rest of my life.  I want this job because this is what I'm passionate about and no matter how bad of a day I've had, the next day this is what I want to do.  I want this job because this is what I think about when I'm in the shower in the morning and this is what I study on my free time and this is what I think about when I'm on vacation from my job.  I know I will be great and this will give me the opportunity to change thousands of people's lives for the better.


You should give me this job because I am an accomplished trial attorney.  I am death penalty certified, I have experience in forensics and cases involving insanity.  I have tried hundreds of cases to verdict and I know what I need to do to enable my litigators to be the best they can be.  You should give me the job because I have experience in running an office, managing personalities, hiring, firing, dealing with budget and making difficult decisions.  I am young and I am energetic and I have a history of success and accomplishments.  

...  I don't know, I'm at the point in the process where I am second guessing myself.   



jennrod12's picture

It sounds like you are very passionate about your work and would be a great fit! I thought your answer was very powerful, I can't imagine a better one.


Doris_O's picture

It sounds like you have a very good answer.

More often then not I get the "wrong" answers from applicants, which have included: "I need the money", "I don't know", "I haven't really thought about it", "So my kid can go to college for free." (I work in higher education), and my favorite "How dare you ask why I want this job. I'm going to write a letter to the board of directors letting them know that you asked this totally inappropriate question."

Wishing you all the best in your interview.


ilkhan's picture

 Thanks for the input.  If you've ever seen a dog attacking himself because of nervous energy, that's how I feel.  As if I'm not neurotic enough, having three weeks to fixate on this type of stuff is going to send me over the edge!  

Doris, I was planning on saying that I want the job because then "all the power would be mine!"  I would have my fingers steepled and I would laugh maniacally.  Based on your applicants, that seems like it might be a bad answer.  :-)


Thanks again, I really appreciate your input!