“When I’m asked “Why do you want to work here?” the truth is “because I am unemployed and I really need money, I’ll take almost any job at this point.” How do I answer that with out it sounding like I’m putting the job down or desperate? I am desperate, but I’m not putting the job down, it’s just not the sort of job I see myself working for for more than a year or two.”
First, be careful not to get two very separate questions confused. There are lots of reasons why people want to work, and you don’t need to answer to why you want to work. The key here is in finding the right way to explain why you want this job. Obviously you want it, or you wouldn’t have applied and shown up to the interview! Examine why you want the job, then decide what about that reason will make you a great employee – that’s what this question is really about. The employer wants to know what’s motivating you — what about the job will get you out of bed and into work each day.
[Your reason] “I need the money”
[Translation] “I want to [insert goal here].” Chances are you don’t want all that cash to just bring it home and count it, so talk about the bigger meaning behind your paycheck (support my family, provide a stable income, put myself through school, etc.). That tells an employer you’re going to be a motivated, stable employee. Sure, you might move on if a bigger paycheck beckons at some point, but that’s pretty much to be expected — most people have an ideal dollar figure in mind that would prompt them to change jobs. If you stick around for a year or two doing your best work, many employers will be glad to send you on your way with a smile and a reference.
[Your reason] “I hate my job”
[Translation] “I want to explore other opportunities.” It’s safe to assume that employers know you’re not totally pleased. If you were completely happy with your current job, you wouldn’t be interviewing for this one. But whatever you do, don’t bash your job or your boss – it’s quite easy for the employer considering you now to imagine you’ll be saying the same things about them someday. Be gracious, grateful and professional when you talk about the opportunities and learning experiences of your last job.
[Your reason] “I’m bored”
[Translation] “I want to improve my skills.” Chances are you are bored because you’re not being challenged. Maybe it’s that you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time or you’ve mastered the tasks required in your current job. Don’t come off as cocky about how awesome you are, but instead be genuinely sincere about your desire to move on and learn new things while being grateful for what your last job taught you (even if all you learned was patience with repetitive tasks).
[Your reason] “I’m looking for my first job”
[Translation] “I’m eager to gain experience and learn how to be a great employee!” Note the exclamation mark – enthusiasm, eagerness and energy are a first-time job hunter’s best friend, and help to make up for the experience you lack.
While your situation may be slightly different than the examples, hopefully you can see how to apply them to your own reasons for wanting the job. Need advice? Ask away, we’re here to help!