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When interviewing there are several questions used to gage an applicant's interest in a the job / organisation. "Why do you want to work here" etc. The correct answer shows a passion and excitement towards the role.

On the other end of the spectrum, when an interviewer asks about salary, the best approach seems to be - act like you have other offers, aren't really interested in negotiating, would be happy working elsewhere. This puts the applicant in a good position rather than stating "this is my dream job, I'll work for peanuts."

How do you balance the two views??

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    As an interviewee, I really hate the question "Why do you want to work here?" I don't know the prospective employer's culture, I don't know any of the staff and management, I know what my tasks will be but only in a most general way, and I don't know how much latitude I get while performing these tasks. Rather, the focus should be on what they expect me to do for them and what I can do for them. Not on speculative questions I have no means of answering until I start working for them. The last time I was asked that question was in 1980, and the interviewer was a kid two years older than me :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 27 '14 at 23:29
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    @Vietnhi:I can't remember NOT being asked a question like this. The intent is to demonstrate that you actually know the position you are applying for, with whom and are excited about the position as you know it. Thus, it is your opportunity to re-emphasize why you are a great fit for the position, talk about the responsibilities that most interest you and talk about the company and its products that interest you. You can answer all of those without knowing a thing about the company culture, staff or management. It's a perfect opportunity to "stand-out" in an interview. – Dunk Jul 28 '14 at 18:22
  • @VietnhiPhuvan To a degree it depends on the sort of place you are interviewing. If you are interviewing at a large, well-known, or public company this question is a way for you to show that you've done some research about the company and its operations, values, products, etc. It's an opportunity to emphasize why you and the company are made for each other. – phoebus Jul 29 '14 at 17:21
  • @phoebius I worked once at a division of a Fortune 500, which was routinely gaining plaudits for excellent management. I found the hard way that the division was one of the worst managed divisions of the company. Hence, my cynicism. To me,telling people that I don't know why I won't to work for them is about as hilarious as me going on eHarmony.com and trying to convince someone I don't know that we are made for each other - Frankly, it's pathetic. I want my prospective employers to tell me what kind of people they need and I get to tell them how I fit the bill. Spare me the romance. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 29 '14 at 20:51
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How do you balance the two views??

I show passion and excitement for the job at hand, while never hinting that I would ever work for peanuts.

And while I indeed am always excited about a job I'm pursuing (or else I wouldn't bother interviewing or discussing an offer), I am always prepared to walk away if all aspects of the job aren't right.

On a number of occasions, I've stated that "I like everything about this job except the salary you are offering. If we can get together on that, I'm in!"

Sometimes that works. (The best job I ever had included salary negotiations along those lines.) Sometimes it doesn't.

I always feel that these things work out for the best.

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