It’s inevitable. One of the typical interview questions you will get in every job interview – “Why do you want to work here?” or “Why do you want to work for us?”. Plan on it! Get your answer clear in your head, so you know what to say and how to frame your response.
The easiest way to answer “why do you want to work here?” is to figure out what motivated the employer to ask this question.
What Employers Want to Learn When Asking This Question
In short, they want to assess several things:
- How enthusiastic you are about the job and the company. Every employer wants to have engaged employees on board. So they want to gauge if you could emotionally connect with their organization.
- If your values and work ethic align with their culture. Usually, most want to get a better sense of your teamwork skills, willingness to do what it takes to get the job done, possibly take direction or collaborate in problem-solving. You can usually come up with things to say if you have done good research on the company.
- Your overall knowledge about the company. How can you answer this question if you don’t have any information about the company? You can’t. So again, do your research.
Polishing Up Your Reply To “Why Do You Want to Work Here”?
Now to come up with a compelling, memorable and “non-sucking-up” answer, sit back and think about this:
1. Yeah, Why Do I Want to Work There?
“Because I need money, duh” …is not the kind of honesty your future boss would appreciate.
(But hey, we get that this may be the real reason why you are sitting in that room)
Anyhow, leave the money factor aside for now. What else is there?
- Do you feel like this job will help you develop some new skills?
- Or just hone the talents you already have?
- Maybe you can really relate to the company’s mission and values?
Think about these things and try to establish a “connection” between your wants and the realities of working for the company in question.
2. Be Honest with Yourself, OK?
If you are not desperate, is this really a job you want? Does it fit into your long-term career goals? Is the culture appealing? If your answers to these questions are “no,” and you have other options, then do not go for that interview.
3. What Value Can I Bring to the Table?
You think you have the skills and personality to be a good hire, right? Now it’s time to remind the employer about that once again.
- Go back and dig deeper into that job posting. Look for the keywords and work them into your answer.
- Review all that research that you were supposed to have done (and if you have been lazy, go back and do it now). Talk about how your values are a match for the company’s mission and goals.
- Be specific. If your marketing campaigns have always resulted in more sales, this fact is already in your resume. You need to remind that employer again. Repetition will make it sink in.
Remember, the employer has a very specific need. And you have what it takes to meet it.
4. Formalize Your Value Proposition
There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to promote your value. You can say, “I’m the best you will find” (inappropriate) or you can say, “I know I have the skills that this position requires, and, from what I have researched about your organization, there is a good fit with my values.” (appropriate, and then, of course, provide some details about those values).
It’s also always good to be a bit humble. You know that you have much to still learn, and it doesn’t hurt to mention that or to talk about a failure you had (and how you dealt with it). You’ll probably get this as a separate question anyway.
5. Show Enthusiasm, But Not Too Much
Again, you don’t want to appear desperate. Compliment the company on its achievements. Speak to the challenges the job offers that you are itching to take on.
But you don’t want to be “over-enthusiastic,” just bubbling over with it. You’ll seem fake. Find the balance.
6. Practice Your Response
You don’t want to sound “rehearsed.” But if you practice what you plan to say, several times, you come to the interview with all the key “talking points” cemented in your mind.
The Key Takeaways for Planning Your Answer
Here are the things that will matter when you get that, “Why do you want to work for us” question:
- What value do you bring to the organization?
- What specific skills and successes have you had that relate to the detailed need of the company?
- How are company values, visions, and goals a match for yours?
- What details can you pull in that show you know plenty about the company and its culture? And how will you fit into that culture?
- Show an appropriate amount of enthusiasm, confidence, along with just a bit of humility.
And when you pack all of the above into your answer, you are set for success!