How to Answer: “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” (Samples)
When you go in for a job interview, you’re bound to be asked a bunch of garden-variety questions about your previous work experiences, education, and skills. Some questions, however, may trip you up.
Of all the job interview questions that can keep you on your toes—and possibly turn a stellar job interview into something sour—the question, “Why do you want to work here?” is one of the big ones.
Answer it correctly, and chances are the job can be yours. Tank it, and you might not ever hear back from the employer. Here are some tips on how to answer this important interview question.
Why Interviewers Ask This Question
An interviewer’s motivation in asking this question is to determine your level of excitement and fit for the role. They want to hire someone who is interested in this particular job at their particular company. They want to weed out candidates who are simply trying to land a job, no matter what it is.
People who are invested in a company’s mission will likely be happier employees, show more commitment to the company and role, and do better work. Your answer to this question can either show an interviewer that you understand what the company does and that you’re the right match, or it can show them that you’re not invested.
Let’s go over a few ways to prepare a great answer to “Why do you want to work here?”
How to Prepare Your Answer
Employers are a particular bunch. They don’t want to hire just any old employee who has the qualifications and skills to fit the job.
If this is a job that you really want, you should have a working knowledge of the company’s history, its major milestones, where it stands today, its mission statement, and any breaking industry information about the company. (It also helps to follow the company on social media, too.)
You’ll want to incorporate your knowledge of the company into your answer so they know that you are interested in this particular job, and not just any job.
Make sure that when you’re answering why you want to work at a company, you show a potential boss how your skills, education, and trajectory of your career path all connect you to this one job. Pinpoint particular parts of the position that you feel strongly about so that the employer feels that this is the one and only job for you.
Review the job description for keywords and skills needed, and talk about how your specific skill set lines up with the needs of the job.
You don’t want to fly by the seat of your pants when discussing why you want to work for a company. Write down your answer and practice it out loud ahead of time. This will give you time to tweak your answer and do more research if you need a more well-rounded response.
If you’re comfortable, practice your answer with a friend or family member. Or, consider meeting with a career coach who can give you expert advice on your answer.
What Not to Say
Equally as important as what to say is what not to say. Even if you’re desperate to ditch a painfully long commute—and the company is one that has a strong remote work policy—you don’t want to tell an employer that.
Ditto for admitting that you’ve been job searching for so long and you’re just desperate to get hired. While honesty has its place in job interviews, you want to make an employer feel special. Here are some guidelines on what to avoid.
Being Too Generic
The whole point of being asked why you want to work at a company is that the hiring manager wants to know your motivations. If you respond with “It seems like such a great company and job, and I know I would be a good fit,” it will be obvious that you don’t know a lot about the company and that you’re simply going through the interview motions. It can be hard to take these candidates seriously.
Talking about Money or Benefits
“I’m looking to increase my salary and move up the career ladder” is not something you want to say, even if it’s true. Any personal reason that doesn’t directly help the company should be kept out your answer. They’re not looking for a candidate who just wants a pay increase, but someone who is passionate about the role and the company.
Focusing on Remote Work
You may be excited about the ability to work remotely, and while it may be tempting to talk about how it will benefit you, leave it off the table. Don’t mention how you’ll have more time with your kids or family. It will only leave the interviewer wondering if you’re simply looking for a job where you can do mediocre work to be closer to your kids.
Badmouthing a Job or Boss
“I’m really tired of my current job and I need a change.” Again, too personal and not beneficial to the employer. Not to mention, they’ll wonder what you’ll do when you get sick of this new job. And, perhaps they’ll wonder if your employer is tired of you, too.
Sample Answers for “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
A great way to answer this interview question is to tie in something about the company culture that you like. This will show that you’ve done your research and you understand the unique value of the company.
“I really appreciated reading that the company focuses on volunteering and employee professional growth, both of which are important to me as well. Your company blog also highlighted the retreats and team-building exercises you participate in. This makes me excited to join a team that works well together and has a common goal.”
If your skills are a strong match for the job, make a direct correlation between the skills the job is requiring and which of those skills you already possess. This shows the interviewer what you can provide to them.
“When I came across the job description, I was really excited about the role since it incorporates so many of the skills I have. I know that this job would allow me to use my expertise to help meet the company’s goals.”
It can’t hurt to provide some recognition for what the company has accomplished. It’s another way to show that you’ve done your research as well.
“I really admire that the company has won numerous awards and received high press accolades. It shows that the work you’re doing makes a difference, and I would love to be a part of a company that is so hardworking.”
If you use the company’s product or service, this is a great time to mention it. Companies will appreciate your first-hand experience over someone who’s never used their offerings.
“I’ve been a long-time user of your online budgeting tool. I’ve converted many of friends to using your product, and I’m well-versed in how to use it. The idea of being able to contribute and work on this product excites me.”
If you know someone in the company, or the job was recommended to you by someone, use that to give praise to the company. It can also give you a leg up on the competition if you know someone closely tied to the company.
“My friend works in your finance department, and he spoke very highly of the company culture and management. Knowing that they’re very happy in his role encouraged me to apply. I believe that I would a great fit on the team based on what they’ve told me.”
More Interview Help
As a good job seeker, you want to nail every job interview question correctly. Having your answers thoughtfully crafted can help you answer the question, “Why do you want to work here?” knowledgeably and accurately.
If you want further help with your interview skills, FlexJobs has career coaches available to meet with FlexJobs members one-on-one.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
A version of this article was originally published on October 28, 2016.
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Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer
Jennifer comes from corporate America… and a four-hour daily commute! Now, as a Career Writer for FlexJobs , she commutes to the corner office (in her house, that is) in under 60 seconds! Says Jennifer: “I’ve always been a writer,…Read More >
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