Walking into an interview can be both exciting and a bit terrifying. What will they think of me? Will I have all the answers I need? What are they even going to ask me? No matter what the position or field is, there are certain questions you know you will get. Now is a good time to prepare to know how to answer: Why do you want to work here?
The Art of the Interview
It’s Not Rocket Science… It’s Harder
Interviewing for a new position is definitely an art and not a science. There is no simple script you can follow. It is not multiple choice. The answers are not in the back of the book. To stand out as a strong candidate, you will need to provide something beyond standard answers and clarify that your strengths fit the role.
It is not just about telling them what they want to hear; it is convincing them you are the best fit. To stand out and fit best you will need to know how to answer “Why do you want to work here?”
Stay Away From Clichés
Hiring managers really want to remember you. They want to hear something from you that is about the company and especially the role. They often ask the same questions of all the candidates so they can compare and contrast. If your responses are a dull recitation of the previous five candidates, you have almost no chance of being the one they remember.
It Is Not Always a Chance to Win… But It Is A Chance To Fail
Your education, experience, and accomplishments will carry you very far toward getting that great new position. They got you this far and to the point of this interview! And while standing out in the interview process can be difficult, failing to provide good responses can get you immediately disqualified. When you think about how to answer “Why do you want to work here?”, there are responses that can eliminate you right away.
• General answers that could apply to any company–“I like this company a lot, I’d love to work here.”
• Uninformed answers that show a lack of research–“I’d love to work on whatever you guys make”
• Lack of enthusiasm that makes them question if you want it–“Well, I saw an opening, and here I am.”
• Looking for more money / better title–“I think I’m ready for a promotion and raise.”
Tips For Nailing The Interview
Be Prepared For Anything
You would not just wake up one morning and run a marathon. You would train. You would not just jump on stage with a guitar and start singing at your local coffee shop. You would practice. So, do not show up on the big day without the proper preparation.
Know the Company
Before you walk into an interview, know as much as you can about the company, what they do what they are about. Even if you think it is impossible to know everything about the company, there are resources out there you can easily access.
You can always check out the company website, look for any recent articles in the media, and check in with others in your network.
If you want to know how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” you must know something about “here”. The very obvious starting point is the company’s own website. A lot of companies have great resources you can use to craft a unique and relevant response.
When searching their site, look for sources of information like:
• The company’s mission and vision
• The company blog
• Any newsletters they may offer
• Information on the hiring process like sample interview questions
• Links to their presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
Look for specifics that make this company different. What does it seem like they are looking for? How could you find a company like this? What makes them different from similar companies? You may have to read closely and interpret, but the answers to these and more can be easily available by simply looking for them.
Take the time to do a Google search of the company and look for any coverage in the media.
This can include:
• Press releases
• Mainstream press articles
• Features on popular blogs
• Quotes in industry publications
Reading this coverage can give you a view of the company from an outside perspective.
You may learn:
• How others see the company
• What they do that others consider newsworthy
• How current employees talk about the company
• How this company differentiates from the competition
In this social media age, even if you do not know how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” chances are you are connected to someone that does; or, at the least, you know someone that knows someone. Search your network to find resources that can help you succeed. Talking to someone one-on-one can let you into aspects of the company you can use in your answer to standout.
When you consider sources be sure to include:
• Current employees of the company
• Past employees of the company
• People who work for competitors
• People who work for customers or suppliers of the company
Know The Position
Before heading into your big interview, be sure you have taken the time to understand the position as best you can. You want to make sure that when you prepare how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” you are answering not only why you want to work for the company but also why the specific role.
Use whatever resources you have from the job description to descriptions of similar roles to others in your network with similar roles to answer some key questions.
These questions Include:
• What is the position responsible for?
• Why is this position important to the company?
• What will success in this position include?
Know Thy Self
You have put together a lot of the pieces, so you know how to answer ‘Why do you want to work here?” You gathered information on the company and carefully considered the role itself. What could possibly be left? You! The interview is the chance for the interviewer to find out about you and why you are the best fit for them.
Some good questions to ask yourself to prepare:
• How do my skills and experience fit with the company? To the role?
• What have I done in the past that proves how I fit?
• What is unique about me compared to others that will help me succeed?
With knowledge of the company, information on the role, and knowledge of yourself, you are ready.
So, “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
The Big Day, The Big Question
You are ready. You got this. You have researched, read, and prepared. So now the moment comes and its time to see how do you answer “Why do you want to work here?”
Why Do You Want To Work Here?
Based on all the preparation you have done, there are four key components to a proper answer, and hitting each of them will really set you apart.
These components include:
1. What the company hopes to achieve
2. What challenges they face in achieving that
3. How this role is important to the company
4. How you specifically and uniquely fit that need
What The Company Hopes To Achieve
You have researched the company’s website and related media. You will have picked up something about their mission or their vision or even short-term goals. This is your chance to reference that and make it clear you did your homework. You can mention the specific research you did and what you found.
What Challenges They Face
Your research combined with the research on the role will help guide you on this one. If they are looking to add new teammates, they most likely expect you can help in an area that is a current challenge. This shows a step beyond reading the mission statement and a deeper understanding of how to answer “Why do you want to work here?”
How The Role Is Important
This is your chance to point out your understanding of what about this role is important and to set you up to slam dunk the final component of how you specifically are the best fit. Show an understanding of how this role connects to the larger company goals. Pick out specific expectations from the job description you understand are important.
How You Fit Their Need
This is it! The heart of your answer should be the thing that will set you apart from everyone else. Think of the specific skills, experience, or training you have had that fits the role, addresses the challenges and helps the company achieve its goals. When you have the chance, be specific. Be ready with a quick bulleted list of 4-5 specific accomplishments or skills you feel great about. This is not a time to be shy; be confident in your answer without the need to be arrogant.
Pulling It All Together
So, when addressing the question of how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” you need to first answer the question, what does a great answer look like? How can you hit all the key components of a great answer in a short and succinct response that sets you apart?
One example of a great response might begin with:
“I have read the company’s mission and vision. Also, I took the time to read some recent articles and blog posts that have given me a good idea of what this company is about and wants to achieve. As I considered the position description and consulted with others that have done similar work, I realized there are four things from my experience that will help the company reach those goals…”
Conclusion – How To Answer Why Do You Want to Work Here
Walking into an interview can surely be intimidating. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and it can feel like there is a lot riding on that impression. To make it more unnerving, you are likely to face tough open-ended questions with no clear scripted “right answer.” You have to know how to answer “Why do you want to work here?”
To succeed will have to:
1. Stay away from overused clichés and uninspired answers
2. Research and know both the company and the role
3. Create a response unique to you and your skills
While the path to success may look simple, a lot of work can go into having a response that really stands out.
Therefore, your best response will include:
1. The company’s goals
2. Challenges they face
3. How the role is important
4. How you are a unique fit
How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work Here