During job interviews, there is one question that you are guaranteed to hear: “Why do you want to work here?”
Knowing how to handle this question is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. Find out how with our in-depth guide to providing the perfect answer.
Preparing for a job interview is no easy task
Being put on the spot can be a super nerve-wracking experience. Even the most hardened industry veterans can buckle under pressure during an important job interview.
Most job candidates that we speak to cite an inability to properly prepare for their interview. In most cases, they are overwhelmed by the number of potential questions they could be asked. They simply do not know where to begin.
It’s true. It is never easy to prepare for an interview. But, there are definitely great places to start. This is because nearly all interviews, across all industries, will feature the same universal question: Why do you want to work here?
We suggest that you start preparing for your upcoming job interview
By first answering that question on your own. Write your answer down. Without fabrication, really take the time to think about what it is that makes the company unique. In turn, consider how your unique personality and skill set can contribute to the company.
When asked “why do you want to work here”, you need to be able to provide a thoughtful answer. Lying, exaggerating, or failing to answer this question can ruin even the most qualified candidate’s chances of landing the job.
Don’t be another job hopeful whose resume ends up in the “rejection” pile. Instead, check out our tried-and-true guide to answering the question: Why do you want to work here?
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The Basics: Why Do You Want to Work Here
When you are asked why you want to work somewhere, you are really being asked what you like about the company. Take some time to really consider what it is about the company you are applying to work for that you truly admire or get excited about. Obviously, getting a paycheque is a great reason. But, any successful candidate will need to dig a little deeper.
We encourage all job candidates to do their homework before every interview. Familiarize yourself with the history of the company, the products they develop, and the services they provide. Read about the company culture. Ask around about its reputation. When you can incorporate details into your answer, hiring managers and corporate leaders will be able to tell that you are serious about the position.
The Do’s and Don’ts
“Why do you want to work here?” It is a question we are all too familiar with. Yet, many of us make critical mistakes when we are asked it. Next time around, prepare yourself by getting to know the best way to handle this question.
Be concise. Keep your answer short. There is no need to be wordy or elaborate. Instead, be quick to the point. From the employer’s perspective, what you like about the company should be obvious to you. Therefore, you should be able to plainly articulate it.
Personalize it. If you are applying for a job with a video game company, and you grew up as a gamer, mention that. If you are applying to work for a national park, and you are an avid hiker or camper, be sure to bring up how much you love spending time outdoors.
Do not mention the money. Sure, the pay might be great. The vacation time might be even better. But this is not what hiring committees want to hear. All that this tells your potential employer is that you are primarily motivated by money. This makes for disloyal employees, as it implies you will leave the company at the first chance to make more money elsewhere.
Second, do not attempt to fake an impassioned response. Hiring managers have conducted hundreds of interviews, and they can detect false sincerity from a mile away. Instead, prepare something thoughtful and from the heart, even if it is not as enthusiastic as it could be.
The 3 Answer “Tiers”
When it comes to answering this question, you will want to make sure that you make your response as specific to the company as possible. However, when fielding many job offers and interviews at once, it can be difficult to find the time to research the nitty gritty details of each company.
As a rule of thumb, always try to err on the side of specificity. This means that your answer should pertain to the company directly, and not just to any company willing to give you an offer. To give you an idea of what we mean, here is a quick guide to properly specifying your answer. The three “tiers” are ordered from worst to best.
Last Resort: The Generic Answer
In our books, honesty and authenticity is always the best policy. When being interviewed, it is important to always be genuine in the answers that you give. This is because lies and “trumped up” statements are easy to detect. By providing a real, no-nonsense response you can stand out from the crowd. Even if your answer isn’t the greatest.
Here are some examples of generic answers that should be provided if you do not know much about the company. These answers are far from ideal, but they will work if you are in a pinch. Plus, they are more likely to come across as being from the heart than somebody else’s who exaggerates or contrives their answer.
- “Your workplace culture seems like the right fit for me. From what I can tell, your company is faced with interesting problems that I’m confident I can help solve.”
- “From what I have seen of the company, this is exactly my area of expertise. I would love to have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a team of like-minded colleagues who are dedicated to the same kind of problems that I am.”
- “The team you have built at [Company X] is impressive. I can see myself fitting in well, and I know that they will help me develop as a [Profession Y].”
Better: The Size-Specific Answer
Even a minimal amount of knowledge about a company can go a long way. You can spruce up your answer by tailoring it to the size of the company you are applying for. If the company is a new startup, your answer should point out why startups are the right fit for you. If it is an industry-leading multinational, your answer should reflect that too.
- [Start-up] “I don’t want to just be a cog in a machine. I want to be a part of a tight-knit team that tackles interesting problems together while giving everyone a chance to highlight their individual skills.”
- [Mid-size Company] “This company is growing at an incredible pace. Yours is exactly the kind of environment where I can see my skills being put to good use. Your team is working within a major growth area and I would love to be a part of it.”
- [Big Company] “I don’t want to work on projects that have no tangible impact. With this company, my work will affect millions of [Users/Customers] who will benefit directly from what I do.”
Best: The Product-Specific Answer
Before accepting an interview offer, you need to make sure you have enough time to prepare. Whenever possible, carve time out of your schedule to do as much research as possible about the company. This way, you will appear thoughtful and knowledgeable to your interview, and as being genuinely interested in the opportunity.
With a bit of research under your belt, you can specify your answer so that it speaks to the unique product or service that the company provides. This demonstrates your enthusiasm about what the company does, and that you want in on the action too.
Here are some of the best templates for a product or service-specific answers.
- “Your [Product X] has really made an impact on the industry. Since its release in [Year Y], we have seen major industry players adapt their own solutions to stay competitive. I want to be a part of a team that is at the forefront of its market, and I see that opportunity here.”
- “There are many companies that provide [Service X], but none with the degree of care and attention that your team does. This is clear just by looking at your customer testimonials. I want to join a team that strives for excellence in the industry, and I see that opportunity here.”
- “I want to work for [Company X] because I have been a dedicated user of [Product Y] for years. Since I first purchased [Product Y], I knew that [Company X] was serious about innovation and providing the best quality product on the market. I can see my own commitment to excellence fitting in well with the company culture.”
Of course, all these answers are merely templates. Use them to draw inspiration for your own answers, but do not regurgitate them word for word. Remember, being authentic and honest is one of the most sought-after qualities that HR departments and hiring managers look for in candidates. Be inspired but get creative too.
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