Don’t let the recruiter catch you off guard with one of the most basic interview questions: "Why do you want to work here?"
The chances of someone asking this question during an interview is very high!
In this article, we'll discuss why this question is so important, both for your prospective employer and for you.
We will also provide a step-by-step outline that will guide you in creating an effective response to this question.
But first, let's discuss how not to respond when the hiring manager asks you, "Why do you want to work here?"
How not to answer
Now, the answer to this basic interview question may seem obvious to you.
You have been scouring online job sites and browsing LinkedIn, applying for every available job that remotely fits your skillset.
Finally, you've landed an interview, and here you are with this challenging job interview question.
Take note, however, that the obvious answer is not always the best answer.
Consider the following response to this basic interview question:
Employer: "Why do you want to work here?"
You: “Well, you have an opening, and I really need a job, so that’s why I want to work here.”
You might be looking for a job and see a high-paying sales position available.
You are a salesperson who wants to earn a decent living, so naturally you apply for the job.
Yet you should not answer with the obvious bottom line: "I need a job."
Although truthful, giving the above answer to this common interview question will not help you land the position.
The reason behind the question
To you, the question, "Why do you want to work here?" might seem so broad that it's difficult to know how to respond.
But consider why an employer or hiring manager would ask this.
This is one of the most common basic interview questions.
In other words, you're not alone in wondering how to respond, and you would do well to plan your response in advance.
So, what's the reason behind the question, "Why do you want to work here?"
- They want to know if your overall career goals fit in with the company's vision and trajectory.
- They need to feel confident that you will be motivated to work well and perform efficiently in this position.
- Finally, they will want to know if this particular position is the best fit; perhaps other positions would be a closer match for your skills.
By the way, it is every bit as helpful for you to understand these reasons as it is for the recruiter or hiring manager.
What the employer wants to know
The bottom line for the employer or hiring manager is this:
Will you be a good fit for this specific position?
What do they really want to find out by asking you the interview question, "Why do you want to work here?"
Following are some underlying questions they likely have:
- Are you desperate for a job and applying to every random job opening?
- Have you been selective in your job search?
- What are some of your qualifications when looking for a job?
- How much do you really care about the company as a whole?
- Have you done research on the company?
- Have you decided that they would be a good fit for you?
When answering the question, “Why do you want to work here,” it's important to address all the employer's concerns.
In other words, don't look at these basic interview questions as a nuisance.
See them as an opportunity!
This is your chance to show the employer you have done your research.
Additionally, you will demonstrate that you know what you are getting into and you are excited to be a part of the company.
How to answer this basic interview question
Before you can expertly respond to this question, you need to put a bit of time and thought into it.
This means you can't just apply to every single job posting out there.
Instead, be strategic in your job applications.
That way, you'll be ready to answer every interview question that you get.
Here are three steps to take as you prepare to answer when the recruiter asks, "Why do you want to work here?"
1. Research the company
Yep, you've simply got to do your homework.
- Study all relevant pages on the company website.
- Find out their history, mission statement, and goals.
- Check out their blog (if they have one) and read a few posts.
- See if they are on social media.
- If so, spend a few minutes on those sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
2. Decide what you like about the company
If you take time for the above research, this next part should be fairly easy.
- Determine what aspects of the company's goals/vision align with your own.
- Take note of relevant values the company ascribes to that you appreciate.
- Be mindful of unique products and/or services they provide.
- Reflect on other important features of the company's culture, community engagement, or other applicable aspects that you admire.
3. Draft a clear and concise response
Once you have taken the previous steps of research and reflection, it will be a breeze to compile your responses into a brief, yet clear, statement.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Don't overgeneralize in your response; use specifics.
- When using specifics, make sure your data is correct.
- Respond enthusiastically, from the heart.
As promised, we want to give you a concrete example of how to answer one of the most basic interview questions.
Taking into consideration the above tips, here's a sample answer to, "Why do you want to work here?"
“After following your company on LinkedIn, Facebook, and doing a little personal research on your website, I have realized that you guys are revolutionizing the way vehicles are produced.
I was very impressed with your company’s vision and plans for the upcoming years as well as the background of your founder and CEO.
I would be honored to work for a company like yours and I am confident that my background, experience, and skills can be put to use while contributing to the company's mission.”
The employer can easily see a few things from the above statement:
- You have done your research on the company.
- You are selective about the quality of the company you are looking for.
- You believe that your skills can positively contribute to the overall mission of the company.
Congratulations, you have learned how to effectively answer one of the most common (yet challenging) interview questions!
Closing: Get help for your next interview
To see all of our basic interview questions and answers, check out the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers.
If you still need some extra help refining your pitch, feel free to reach out to us at Find My Profession.
Our career finder program is sure to assist you as you are looking for a job.
Our goal is to help you find vocational success.