Why Do You Want To Work Here?
Hey job-hunters! Get ready for this question, “Why do you want to work here?” I can honestly say that in more than 70% of all the interviews I have been to, the recruiter has asked me this question or some variation of it. As an interviewer myself, I also use this question a lot. This is a critical question, almost like a gate question; get it right, you move on, get it wrong, ciao, game over, go home. So, what is the recruiter really looking for when asking, “Why do you want to work here?” How can I nail this question and keep the recruiters interest in me?
Recruiters look for a few things in the answer. First off, did you even think about how to answer this question? Did you do your homework, study the company and what business it is in? Can you tell me about what the company does and then give me a plausible reason that you want to work here?
What Are Your Career Goals?
Inside of this question, recruiters might be interested in learning more about how this position and working at this company is aligned to your career goals? Is this just going to be a stepping stone, or do you plan on sticking around for a while? If you come off as just wanting a quick job to fill the void or meet short-term financial needs, or if your career goals are not aligned with the company and the position, this will raise a red flag and may work against you.
No Time For BS
Are you really interested in the position and the company? Really, ask yourself this question. Can you see yourself doing this job and working at this company? Recruiters try to ascertain whether you are interested or not in the position with this question and then will probably dive deeper with some follow up questions. If you are interested, make sure you prove to the interviewer why you are interested in the position, why you like the company, and how this position is aligned with your career goals.
What Does The Company Do?
To nail this question, you need to do your homework. Study what industry the company is in. What is their core business? How are they doing in the market? Look up news about the company. Read reviews on Glassdoor. Learn what you can about the company. If someone asks you right now, “Why do you want to work at Google?” how would you respond? Would your answer be convincing, or do you think the last ten interviewees said the same thing? Once again, think about this question as a gate; you can get a “yes” and go ahead, or a “no” and sorry, go home. You must show your interviewers that you know the business and are be able to convince them why you want the position.
Is there something about the position or company that you really love? Why does it appeal to you? I suggest you read over the job description and thoroughly understand it. How can you relate the description to your own experience or what you want to be doing?
Step-by-Step to Learn About The Company
There is no better place to start than the company’s website. Read through the homepage, then go to the About US page. Look over their Products or Services page as well. Get a better understanding of what the company does. If the company has a blog, check out the blog page. You can learn a lot about the company from reading their blog articles. Lastly, do they have any whitepapers or press releases on the site?
After you have gone through the site, next look at social media pages. Checkout out Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Youtube is also another great option. After you have gone through social media, check the news. Do a quick Google search about the company. See what comes up.
Now, check out any connections you have who work there. Do you have any friends of friends? Linkedin normally makes this easy to find out. If not, look at sites like Glassdoor. Read over the reviews about the company. Try to get a read on other employees’ feedback. Additionally, try doing a search on Google, “What is it like to work at (company name) Quora?” Notice I added Quora at the end. There are writers and professionals on Quora who add valuable contributions. Another source to checkout is Reddit. Do not underestimate these resources.
Specific Reasons To Answer Why You Want To Work Here
It is your job to do your homework here! If you don’t, it will be evident in your answer or lack thereof. Do NOT, and I mean, DO NOT give shallow answers. “Google is a really cool company. They are doing big things in technology. Changing the world.” Yeah, we all know that, but you didn’t tell the recruiter anything useful, new, or show what you know about the company.
Here are some possible things you could look for to help construct your answer:
- What is the company famous for – Explore this and give specific reasons
- Are the founders famous for something specific? – Talk about how you admire this etc.
- Why do you love their products/services? – Dive deep here. How does the product solve customers’ problems and pain-points?
- Great commercials, gorilla marketing, branding – Why do you love it?
- Values / Mission / Vision – Are these aligned with yours? Why do you agree with them? Be prepared to explain why you believe in them.
- Projects the company is involved in – Why do you like the project? Get ready to give specific reasons.
Quick Saves and Tips
These are just a few things that you could explore when trying to construct your answer to “Why do you want to work here.” Don’t just rely on these. Here are some quick tips:
- Do your homework about the company. Don’t wing it.
- Find something you are de-facto interested in. No BS.
- When you are interested in something or are passionate about it, it is much easier to show your enthusiasm. So, show enthusiasm.
- Dive deep in your answers. Don’t just give a shallow/general answer. This would be a turn off. Dive deep into the Why!
- Avoid giving funny answers as they may not be appreciated. Trust your gut if you do.
Variations of the Question – What to Look Out For
Here are a few ways the question “Why do you want to work here” can come.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you want this job?
- What interests you in this company?
- Why (name of company)?
- What attracts you to this company/position?
- Why did you apply to (company name)?
- What can you tell me about (company name) that I don’t know?
Why Do You Want To Work Here – Examples and Breakdown of Each Answer
For our first question, here is a short reason WHY I want to work at a company. The company is in the business of trying to revamp the card-sending business. You can write your letter on your phone, and the company will print it up and send it in the mail to the recipient. Here is the WHY answer.
“When I was a kid, and even now, my mother has always made sure that I send thank you letters or holiday greeting cards to our family members, especially my grandparents. This became a tradition and is always well received by others. Who doesn’t love getting a card in the mail? Even if it’s just a quick “Hello”, it’s meaningful, and shows you took the time to think of a message, write it, and send it out. Email doesn’t add this type of feeling. It lacks emotion. When I learned about what (company name) is doing, I was sold. There is a strong purpose behind it and I am sure that many people would love to send their loved ones a note in the mail. I can get behind this and would love to help grow this operation.”
In the Why answer above, the focus on the Mission and Vision of the company, the Why it exists. The answer demonstrates that I understand the importance of the business to both the market and to myself and that I am aligned with what the company is doing. Additionally, imagine the recruiter were to ask me to “sell me this idea”. This short Why answer would suffice. Remember, in your Why answer, you don’t have to focus on your professional experience; you can focus on other things that de-facto interested you. Recall what was mentioned above in the specific reasons section. Don’t worry if you lack professional experience, focus on other areas cited above.
Let’s look at another example: This is an organization in the education segment.
“One thing that really caught my attention about (organization name) is that it deals with Education. This organization is working for a greater good. The fact that you are empowering schools and teachers to help implement high quality standards to obtain better student outcomes is something I can get behind. There is a lot of synergy with what this organization is doing and my own professional experience with EdTech. I have led EdTech products to build online learning platforms, courses, quizzes tests, playbooks and other instructional resources for teachers, schools, and students. I have also built MVPs and done thorough user tests to deliver products and services users love. This is one area that excites me. I would love to take on the challenge with (organization name).”
Notice in the above answer, the focus is first on the strong purpose of the organization. After the purpose, the next focus is on the similarity of the applicant’s professional experience and the position’s job description.
Here’s another example:
“I know a lot of people who work at (company), and every time we talk I ask, “How are things going at the company?” Nine times out of ten, people say great! So then, I dig a little deeper and ask “Why?” People say that they are learning every single day, and they love being challenged. They think the company is fantastic. I can relate to that because I am an avid learner and am constantly trying to improve. Additionally, I want to be able to put this knowledge to use at a great company, and I can see myself doing that at (company).”
This is a good answer because it shows that you went to other sources to try to learn more about the company and what employees’ experiences have been. Their positive experiences have inspired you to apply.
Don’t Mess Up Your Chances!
If you get invited to an interview, phone call, video conference, or even a coffee meeting interview, do not underestimate the impact of this question. Do your homework. Learn what you can about the company. Look up different sources. Find areas of interest. Be ready to say why you like the position and company. If you prepare for any two questions of an interview, this should be one of them. If you can impress your interviewer with your answer to this question, you will more than likely keep his/her attention for a little longer.
Write down your answer. Create a short Word doc with your answer. Practice saying your answer. Get in front of the mirror. See how you look. Record yourself with your phone. How do you look and sound when you are presenting? Be self-critical. Look for areas of improvement. Get in front of friends and family and present your answer. Ask for feedback. These are some of the best ways to improve your delivery. Make use of them.
Don’t forget to check out the other job-hunting and interview tips on the site as well as the Youtube channels. Some other common interview questions that may follow this question are, “What are your greatest strengths?” and “What is your greatest weakness?”