Why do you want to work here? It’s one of those common questions you need to expect at every job interview.
This is also one of the questions that trips up many jobseekers. When all your preparation has been focused on how you can best present yourself and your skillset to the interviewer, getting asked why you’re applying for this specific job with this specific company can leave you scrambling to piece together an answer.
Here’s everything you need to know about this popular job interview question, from why interviewers use it to how you can knock your answer out of the park.
Why Do Job Interviewers Ask this Question?
Companies are looking for more than just skills, experience and education. Those are obviously important factors, but they also want employees who like coming in to work every day, and employees who are likely to stick around. By asking why you want to work there, an interviewer can get an idea of the following:
- Are you interested in their company or any place that will give you a paycheck?
- Are you the type of person who plans to work at this job for a long time?
- How much knowledge do you have of the company and this position?
If you throw out some generic answer, the interviewer will know that you don’t have much knowledge of the company and didn’t bother doing any research. They’ll also assume that you don’t really care about working for this company in particular.
On the other hand, if you provide a detailed answer where you touch on what you like about the company and the position, you’ll come across much better. You look like you’ve done your homework and you’re passionate about being a part of the team.
The Two Parts to the Question
There are many slight variations on “why do you want to work here,” such as:
- What makes you want to work for our company?
- Why did this job catch your eye?
- Why us?
No matter how the interviewer decides to phrase it, there are two parts to the question. The first is why you want to work for the company, and the second is why you want to work in the position for which you’ve applied.
The interviewer may ask these as one question, or they may ask both separately. You’ll need to prepare an answer for both.
Research and Preparation Are Essential
Here’s the good news – answering this question isn’t all that difficult when you’ve done your homework.
The only time it causes a problem is when you’re coming into a job interview unprepared. Then, you immediately start thinking about how you’ve applied to dozens of places, you need a pay-check and you really can’t afford to be choosy, none of which are going to be suitable answers.
As this is such as common question, you should have your answer ready, and you should have practiced saying it aloud several times. It’s much easier to recite an answer you’ve practiced than to come up with one on the spot, and since you know this is a question you’ll likely be asked, why not practice answering it?
Now, what about how you’re going to find the information to answer the question? The internet has made that easier than ever.
Start by pulling up the company’s website, specifically the about page, and the job listing. You’ll be able to get an idea for what the company stands for and the what the position entails.
Other good sources of information include recent news on the company and its social media accounts.
Answering Why You Want to Work for the Company
As you’re doing your research on the company, look for things that impress you about them. This could include:
- An innovative product or service
- Their reputation as a leader in their industry
- One of the people with a prominent position in the company
- Their commitment to high-quality customer service
- The way they treat their employees and promote from within
- Their charitable work
Keep in mind that you don’t need a long list of things you love about the company. The interviewer doesn’t need to hear about everything good that the company does, just a couple things that you admire.
Make sure you also explain why the things you mention matter to you. For example, instead of just saying you like that the company is socially responsible, you could explain how you like to volunteer or how you set up fundraisers for the less privileged in high school, and you appreciate when a company shares your values.
One great way to put the cherry on top here is to use a recent positive news story about the company in your answer. Maybe the company won an award or released an exciting new product. Mentioning something recent shows that you’ve done your homework.
Explaining What Attracted You to the Position
Why you’re interested in the position is equally important. To give a good answer, you’ll need to hit two key points:
- What you like about the position
- Why you’re a good fit for the position
If you only explain why you like the position, that doesn’t necessarily give the company a reason to hire you. And if you only focus on your qualifications, that doesn’t show you’re enthusiastic about the job.
The job listing is a great tool for building an answer here. Look at the responsibilities of the position and consider what you would enjoy about it. If you look hard enough, you can find something to like about any job, whether that’s the work you’ll be doing, the people you’ll be interacting with or something else entirely.
As you look at the listing, check the desired qualifications to see what makes you a good candidate. The goal is to emphasize your strong suits that fit the position.
Putting It All Together
Once you’ve gotten all that done, you’ll have a sharp, two-part answer to the “why do you want to work here” question. The ideal length is about a minute or two.
Be ready to answer why you want to work for the company and why you want the specific position both separately and together. That way, you’ll be prepared regardless of how the interviewer questions you.
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Why Do You Want To Work Here?