If you have ever been in a job interview, chances are you have been asked the dreaded question “Why do you want to work here?”
Instead of having negative feelings and thoughts about this question, embrace it. Prepare to be asked it. A solid and well-crafted answer here can easily make you stand out from other candidates and help you nail the overall interview.
As with any questions during an interview, it is important to answer by tapping into what the interviewer wants to hear. This doesn’t mean lying or being deceitful, it means preparing a well-researched and thought-out answer to present yourself in the best possible way.
The Weaker Answers
Although some of the following answers might be honest, they appear as weak answers and show that you have not prepared for the questions, and will most certainly not help you in landing the job. Therefore, don’t say things like:
I need money
I need to pay rent
I’ve got bills to pay
I just need a job
Granted that these answers may in fact be the honest truth, using them during your interview is a sure-fire to put yourself in the “no” pile. Instead, keep reading and learn how to develop a well-researched and thought-out answer to “Why do you want to work here?”
The Strong Answers
Your complete and perfect answer to “Why do you want to work here?” should include the following four areas:
1. Why the company appeals to you, and your reasoning
During an interview, hiring managers want to see an enthusiastic candidate who believes in the company, and can share in their mission and vision while abiding by their values and ethics. Remember, this question is designed to screen out candidates who aren’t serious about the company or those who may be using it as a stop-gap, while they look for something better.
In order to find this information, do your homework and recycle your newly found knowledge with reasoning. Go beyond the standard checking of the company’s website and social media accounts. Research their clients and business partners, look up their recent awards and media presence, even stalk the Board of Directors and your likely team members on LinkedIn to find out more about them and the company.
Now you have competed your research, what aspects of the company can you pick out that interest you? Are there any parallels between this company and companies you’ve previously worked for? Do you hold the same values and ethics? Using this information will help you in providing your reasoning.
2. Why the role appeals to you, and why you can do the job
Many employers want to know that you are set on the specific role, and not just the company. Although they want to see you oozing passion for their company, they also want to learn your genuine reasons for wanting the role, why it will be interesting for you and how it helps develop y our career.
Interviewers don’t want to waste their time on candidates who don’t understand the role they’re applying for. Therefore, think about:
Aspects of the role you will enjoy/be suitable for?
What challenges are you looking forward to overcoming?
How this role will help you to develop your skills and further your career?
Why would you do well despite lacking in some areas of the criteria?
Within this section of your answer, refer to these points to provide evidence and substance to your statements. Remember to link you evidence back to previous roles/training you have had, and explain how this has prepared you for this role.
3. How and why the role aligns with your career goals and motivations
In this part of you answer you want to address a couple things that the interviewer is trying to decide, which include:
Is this company part of your long-term plan?
Are you serious about your career within this industry?
Many organisations have pathways for internal promotion and development. Research current employees on LinkedIn and explore their internal development and use them as examples when talking about your own ambitions. If your research found that the company offers internal training, mention how you would be interested in taking courses and seminars.
If you’re joining a specific department, research your future colleagues on LinkedIn and mention any specific skills that you are looking to learn from them.
When talking about your future avoid the urge to describe job titles that you seek. Instead, describe new experiences or responsibilities that you’d like to have in the future that build on the current job you are applying for. I.e. I would like to develop into an effective team leader, or I would like to grow into a positon where I can manage an advertising campaign.
4. Why you’ll fit in with the existing culture and personnel
This is slightly more difficult, as your body language, facial expressions and general demeanour will show the interviewer a lot about you and how well you will fit in. However, as in your research about the company, check their social media accounts for updates on for social events, nights out, training days and mention how they looked fun and exciting.
During the interview it is also a good idea to ask about company social events, family days, and charity events or sponsorship as this shows an interest in elements of employment outside of your role.
Remember, throughout your interview you are being accessed as to how will you will fit in with the rest of the company/office or department. For more information on body language and facial expressions, please see our guide on interview body language tips.
In summary, your perfect answer to “Why do you want to work here?” should mention: