“Why do you want to work here?”
It’s a question almost every job candidate can expect in the interview process, and for good reason: your answer will help the hiring manager decide if you’re genuinely interested in the role, or if it’s just another one on your list.
While the question is relatively straightforward, it can be tricky to maneuver. Here, we’ll cover strategies to handle the question and offer five example responses for you to reference.
1. Give a well-rounded answer.
Saying the job looks interesting — or the company is great — isn’t enough. In other words, if you can answer this question in four to five words, you probably need to go back to the drawing board. Remember, the interviewer is looking for a substantive answer that can help them gauge your interest and decipher if you’re a good fit.
2. Do your homework.
Arguably the most important step is researching the organization ahead of your interview. A good place to start is their website. Go beyond the home page to learn more about the company’s mission, goals, and culture. Take note of what stands out to you.
Social media can also offer a glimpse into an organization, its initiatives, and its culture. Go a step further and look up any recent press releases or articles about the company to be in the know on its latest developments.
3. Consider your own values.
When trying to prove you’re a good fit for an organization, remember it’s equally important for an organization to be a good fit for you. This is why it’s essential to define your values, then identify organizations that share similar ones.
If you’re unsure about your core values, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of culture do I thrive in?
- How can an organization make me feel supported?
- What motivates me?
- What are my personal and professional goals?
4. Study the job description.
Chances are, you skimmed through the job description before applying. Now it’s time to give it a second glance. What initially sparked your interest in the role? What are the core qualifications? How can this role help you achieve your career goals? Your responses will guide you through the next point.
5. Choose your reasons carefully.
If you’re focusing on candidate-centric things — work-life balance, benefits, compensation, a faster commute — you’re thinking about this question wrong.
Your interests should lie at the intersection of company needs, responsibilities of the role, and candidate competencies. For example, if you’re interviewing for a podcasting position, here’s how you might break down the answer to this question:
Company Needs: We need to partner with heavy-hitters in our industry.
Responsibilities of the Role: Source talent, brainstorm episode topics, prep guests, and edit episodes.
Candidate Competencies: Skilled with Audition, finger on the pulse of the industry, and deadline-oriented.
Personal Motivation: I want to work with high-profile people and make some good connections.
So, what’s the intersection of company needs, role responsibilities, candidate competencies, and personal motivation? You might talk about how you’ve learned a lot over the years by interacting with, reading, or listening to the experts in your industry. You’ve seen firsthand the impact exposure to them can have on a company and an individual.
Not only does an answer like that relate to the needs of the role and the company, but it ties in your abilities and shows that you’re personally motivated by the mission.
5 of the Best Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
1. Speak to Your Skillset
“I recently read an article about your company’s expansion into international markets. Having worked in global sales for the past eight years, this is an opportunity for me to make a positive impact for a company I admire.”
Why It Works
This answer makes a convincing case that you have the necessary skills and experience to exceed in this role. You also demonstrate that your skills fit the company’s goals for the future.
2. Speak to the Culture
“Something I feel is harming the I.T. industry is this so-called “grind culture.” While it’s necessary to work hard, you can quickly burn out. I respect how one of your core values is maintaining the mental health of your employees. I admire this approach and, combined with my excellent work ethic, I’m confident we can produce great results.”
Why It Works
“Company culture” is a bit of a buzzword these days. It can apply to anything from ping-pong tables to free snacks. But in a broader sense, it should reflect a company’s values and priorities. This example calls out a specific issue and how the company addresses it. In doing so, it shows genuine interest in working for a company that cares about its people.
3. Speak to the Company’s Mission
“This might sound a little cliche, but I like working in customer service because I enjoy solving for the customer. I’ve always been impressed by Company XYZ’s excellent track record of doing just that. You’re a mission-driven organization with a focus on making people’s lives easier. My passion for customer service stems from a similar mindset.”
Why It Works
This example works because it shows you’ve done your homework on the organization. It also relates your professional approach to customer service to drive home that you’re a great fit.
4. Speak to Your Core Values
“I first heard about Company XYZ last year when I came across your Clean the Seas campaign. Conservation is important to me, and I respect your initiatives in this area. I think it would be incredible to work at a place where I can apply my marketing skills to a cause close to my heart.”
Why It Works
This example aligns your values with those of the company. It highlights your admiration for their environmental work while communicating your passion for the same mission.
5. Speak to Your Product Expertise
“As a fan of your products, I’m always impressed with your developments in this space. In my work, I’m constantly looking for new solutions, so I’m excited by the opportunity to join a team as passionate about innovation as I am.”
Why It Works
This answer shows that you’ve not only researched the company, but you have firsthand experience with their products. It also underlines your interest in product development and innovation.
Back To You
“Why do you want to work here?” It’s a great question to help hiring managers to gauge your level of interest — and provides an opportunity for you to share what really matters to you. If you come prepared, you should have no problem nailing your answer.