How to answer “Why do you want to work here?” during an interview

why do you want to work at our company

Why do interviewers ask this interview question?

“Why do you want to work here?” is a common interview question, but it can also be challenging to answer. Failing to prepare a solid response to this question is risky because it could be the deciding factor in whether a potential employer extends a job offer to you or not.

To answer, “Why do you want to work here?” effectively, you first need to understand the purpose behind the question. Hiring managers ask this because they want to ensure that the candidates they hire are genuinely interested in the opportunity and are looking to be part of the organization for the long term.

Your answer can reveal several things to the interviewer, including:

  • How much do you know about the position, the company, or the industry as a whole?
  • Whether you are genuinely interested in this particular job or just looking to get any job,.
  • If your career goals align with the position and if you are likely to stay with the company.

Therefore, it is critical to think through your response before the interview, as it can significantly impact your chances of success.

How to never answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Before we continue, let’s take a moment to discuss how you should never answer this question. Certain topics are strictly off-limits during job interviews, so you don’t want to mention them when answering this question either.

Never tell the interviewer that:

  • You’re in it for the hefty salary that comes with the job.
  • You’re in it for the benefits and perks the company offers.
  • You couldn’t land a job at another company, so you’re settling for this one.
  • You want to work remotely, no matter what the job is.
  • You’re desperate to get hired anywhere, and you took a chance.

Let’s look at a practical example. Consider the two responses below:

Response 1: “I want to work here because I recently relocated to NY with my family and I need a new company to practice my profession and make a living.”

Response 2: “Actually, your ad campaigns are what got me into advertising in the first place! Your creativity and out-of-the-box approach to advertising really inspired me as a professional, which is why I applied for this position as soon as I saw the job opening! Additionally, I have heard really good news about your company culture, and therefore, I felt compelled to apply.”

Chances are, you’ll be inclined to hire the second candidate.

The first response focuses on personal needs and circumstances, which do not align with what the employer is looking for in a candidate. The second response, however, demonstrates a genuine interest in the company’s work and shows how the candidate’s professional motivations align with the company’s values and achievements.

All of these factors create a positive impact on the hiring manager.

How to answer “Why do you want to work here?” during an interview

Now that you understand the purpose of this interview question, let’s break down the best way to answer it.

Your response should be:

Brief: The hiring manager doesn’t need a long story about why you chose this job. A few concise sentences about what sparked your interest are sufficient.

Tailored: Ensure your answer is customized to the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a position as a software developer, avoid mentioning that you prefer working on IT.

Honest: Your answer should genuinely reflect your views about the job. It shouldn’t be a feel-good attempt to charm the hiring manager.

Steps for answering “Why do you want to work here?” during an interview

Research Before the Interview

Preparation is the key to answering this question as best as possible.

If you already know the employer well, you can skip this step. Just take note of everything you know and like about them, and incorporate that into your answer to explain why you want to work there.

However, if you don’t know the employer, it is important to research the company before the interview. Importantly, figure out what they do, what their core values are, and what the company’s mission is.

Remember, you might not always find extensive information about every employer. For example, smaller companies might have a limited online presence or lack detailed core values and mission statements. In such cases, focus on:

  • their industry
  • the job description of the role you are applying to

Reference the Job Description

Before you go for the interview, read the job description and responsibilities for the role you’re applying for. Here’s how to use this information to your advantage:

Understand the role:

  • Look up the expected daily tasks.
  • Identify the qualifications and skills required.
  • Research any unfamiliar tools or software mentioned in the job description.

During the interview:

  • Directly reference details from the job description to illustrate why you want the job.
  • For example, if the role involves developing marketing campaigns and analyzing customer data, mention your familiarity with these tasks and how you believe you would thrive in such an environment.

Understanding the day-to-day tasks involved in the role demonstrates your enthusiasm and shows the interviewer that you are well-informed about what you’re applying for. This level of preparedness indicates that you’re genuinely interested and ready to contribute effectively to the company.

Reflect On Your Values

Before you can provide a truly compelling answer to the question of why you want to work at a company, self reflection and introspection are crucial. Understand what truly matters to you and what kind of work environment motivates you. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What kind of culture, values, and mission do you appreciate in a workplace?
  • Do you prefer a collaborative or more independent work environment?
  • What drives you and gives you a sense of purpose?
    For example, recognition, mentorship opportunities, or work-life balance.
  • What skills do you want to develop and improve? Does this role align with them?
  • What are your future goals, and what do you need to achieve them?

When you understand your priorities, needs, and career objectives, you can determine whether a potential employer is someone you genuinely want to work for. This self-awareness allows you to tailor your answer to reflect your genuine interest in the role and the company.

Of course, no employer is perfect or meets all your needs. In such cases, focus on the positives and the aspects you genuinely like about the company during your job interview. This approach ensures that your response remains sincere and positive, highlighting your compatibility with the organization.

Mention Your Skills and Work Experience

When an employer decides to hire you, it’s because they believe you have the skills and abilities to fulfill the requirements of the role and contribute to the company’s success in the future.

Therefore, mentioning how you see yourself excelling at the job based on your most important skills and work experience is a great way to explain why you want to work there.

Moreover, you can supplement your answer by highlighting your career growth aspirations and the growth opportunities that the company offers, which is something that both you and your employer are interested in. You want a successful career, and they want a productive employee, so this is a win-win answer for everyone involved.

You can use phrases like:

  • “Thanks to my experience doing X, I can see myself succeeding at…”
  • “I look forward to applying the skills I’ve acquired so far to…,”
  • “I think I will be able to contribute by…”

Explain Why You Would Enjoy the Job

Research has shown that employees who enjoy their work tend to perform better and remain with a company for a longer duration. Therefore, it is crucial to make a clear connection between the job and your passion for it when answering this question. However, simply stating that you enjoy what you do or love your job in a generic manner is not enough. Thus, it is important to focus on explaining precisely why you have a enjoy doing it, or find a sense of fulfilment from the creating the impact while working at this job, or how working in that specific position will bring you joy.

For instance, instead of saying, “I love marketing,” try something more specific:

“I’ve always been passionate about storytelling, and marketing allows me to use that passion to create compelling campaigns. The challenge of understanding different audiences and crafting messages that resonate with them excites me. I’m particularly drawn to this role because your company’s innovative approach to digital marketing aligns with my desire to stay ahead of industry trends and continuously improve my skills.”

Demonstrate Your Knowledge of the Company

Generally speaking, employers prefer candidates who are passionate about their work, whether it’s a service, product, or mission. Emphasizing that you’re not just applying to get hired, but because you’re knowledgeable and passionate about what the specific company does, is a great way to answer this question.

However, being genuinely passionate about every company you apply to isn’t always realistic. Sometimes, you’ll apply for jobs simply because you’re professionally qualified and need employment. This is where your research can be invaluable.

Talking about the company’s products, services, or mission shows the interviewer that you prepared for the interview and that you’re not just a random candidate willing to accept any job. If you’ve used the app the company developed or bought one of their products, mention it during your interview. Better yet, if you’re applying for a job at a company or organization you already know well and admire, highlight that in your answer.

For example, Instead of a generic statement, try something specific:

“I’ve been using your productivity app for years, and it has significantly improved my workflow. When I saw the opening for this role, I was excited about the opportunity to contribute to a product that I genuinely believe in. Your commitment to innovation and user experience aligns perfectly with my values and professional goals.”

Provide Specific Examples

When interviewers ask, “Why do you want to work here?” remember they don’t want to hear a generic answer. Always be specific and support your statements with concrete examples, quantifiable data, impressive achievements, and anything else relevant.

Anyone can claim they’re passionate about a line of work or skilled at what they do, but hiring managers are more likely to believe candidates who can back up their claims. The best way to do that is through cold, hard data.

For example, instead of a vague statement, try something more detailed:

“I admire your company’s commitment to sustainability, which aligns with my personal values and helps me make a positive impact on the society. In my previous role, I led a project that reduced our carbon footprint by 15% over six months. I’m excited about the opportunity to bring my experience in sustainable practices to your team and contribute to your ongoing green initiatives.”

Be Honest

As with any other interview question, whether it’s about your strengths and weaknesses or a request to talk about yourself, honesty is always the best policy. Never, ever lie about your qualifications.

If you get hired based on a lie, you will eventually get caught, and your professional reputation and career will suffer. You will waste a lot of time and resources for both yourself and the employer, and you will end up needing another job anyway.

Moreover, insincere or exaggerated reasons for wanting to join the company won’t impress most interviewers. You might seriously hurt your chances of landing the job if you focus too much on flattering the interviewer and the company instead of telling the truth.

So, always be honest!

By being honest about why you want to work there, you increase your chances of landing a job that genuinely aligns with your goals. This ensures that both you and the company benefit, with you becoming an excited and contributing member of the team.

Here’s a sample response:

“I’ve always admired your company’s innovative approach to technology. In my previous role, I developed a keen interest in AI and machine learning, and I’m impressed by how your company is leading in these fields. I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to your cutting-edge projects and grow alongside a team that values innovation and creativity.”

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