Interviews / Self awareness

Interviews – How to convince an employer you want the job

I always say that if you get to an interview, an employer believes you can do the job on paper and it’s just a matter of convincing them in person at the interview.  So, how can do you do this effectively, without just repeating what you’ve written on your application form and simply regurgitating what a company says about the job and themselves on their website? 

The ‘Why do you want this job?’ and ‘Why this company?’ interview questions tend to be the ones which can easily trip you up, even if you have expressed these well in your application. (For more on how to do this, read our earlier post How to answer “Why do you want to work for us? )

As Warwick’s Kay Brown explains to her colleague Alison Boffin in the following video about ‘How to approach motivational questions’, it’s all about personalising your answer and this involves doing research for yourself.  The key words here are ‘for yourself’.


Kay advocates the approach of taking a step back and asking yourself critically whether it is the right job in the right company.  To do this you might consider what it is that excites and ignites the spark in you.

If there isn’t that spark, this could be equally important to bear in mind. It’s going to be much more difficult to convince an interviewer if you’re not ‘feeling the love’.

To show you are motivated, also:

1. Pay attention to the tone of your voice

Close-up tone knob on a vintage record playerYou are going to be come across as being more motivated and energised if the tone of your voice is animated and if you are using positive language. Try to weave talking about your strengths into your answers and you will naturally seem more upbeat as you will tend to speak in more detail and create more visual imagery when talking about things you enjoy doing.  (Read How to crack strengths-based interviews – part 2 for more on this topic.)

2. Watch your body language

young office intern chatting to a colleagueMake sure that you aren’t giving mixed messages and saying all the right things but your body is showing a different story. Eg. Folded arms, sitting with legs crossed and not smiling can indicate negativity. For a quick test on this, try smiling and answering the question ‘Tell me about yourself?’ and then adopt a miserable face and answer the same question.

3. Have a question to ask at the end of your interview

If the interviewer asks you at the end “Do you have any questions?” a sure fire way to demonstrate you aren’t motivated is not to have any questions to ask the interviewer/s.  So consider carefully what you will say here and what you are really interested in finding more out about.

For more interview tips read our earlier blog on 7 Steps to interview success and if you are applying to law firms read the latest Warwick Law Careers Blog post on How to answer interview questions which gives an employer perspective.

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