When you’re faced with the question, “Why do you want to work here?” you must be able to respond with a clear, relevant answer to ace your interview.
Though some people might find this question frustrating or seemingly useless, it actually serves a purpose, and it’s important to hiring managers for a lot of reasons.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best answers to help you prepare for this question.
Here are some examples:
President and Founder, Global Healthcare Services
When an interviewer asks this question, they are trying to learn a few things about you. One, did you do proper research on the company and opportunity? Two, do you have a genuine interest in the position? Lastly, will you be a good fit for the culture of the company? That’s a lot to cover in one answer!
Begin by discussing what interests you about working for the organization and why this particular role is attractive to you
Next, discuss how you will be an asset to the company in the role and what separates you from the other candidates. Lastly, convey your enthusiasm and excitement about the prospect of securing the position.
“I read an article recently where your company was ranked as one of the top places to work in Colorado – this obviously caught my attention. I have also read about the groundbreaking software that you are developing and the new spaces you are looking to move into within the industry.
I can’t express enough how exciting that sounds to me. With my prior experience in software development, I feel I would be able to bring a unique perspective to the R&D side and as my background illustrates I am a proven innovator.
And, the collaborative and integrated structure between different sectors is an environment where I feel I will thrive. My goals align so closely with what you have laid out in the following ways…”
In summation, there are a variety of different ways to respond to the question of why you want to work for a company.
Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear. Tell them how you truly feel and what really makes you enthusiastic about the opportunity.
Pinpoint areas where you feel you will be able to thrive, where your values align, and that you have done your homework. And, lastly, use this question as an opportunity to separate yourself from the competitors.
Related: How to Nail a Job Interview
Founder & Executive Director, Professionals In Transition
This is a critical question that you should always be prepared to answer and should be research-driven. By that I mean:
Verbally review the requirements of the position and match them with your abilities
I want to work here because I believe I am uniquely qualified for this position, and here’s why: (plug-in each job requirement, and your matching ability).
Understand the company culture in advance by reading all of the news releases on their website
News Releases and their Annual Report shows you the message that they are trying to communicate to stockholders, employees, and the greater public at large.
By communicating back to the major issues discussed in the news releases, you show that you know them. You can then tailor an answer to demonstrate how you fit within their organization.
Director, Market Recruitment
This is a question that can catch a lot of job seekers out. But why do companies ask this question may surprise you. Of course, they genuinely want to understand what attracted you to the role. Was it the job itself, the company’s culture, the location or the salary.
Whatever you say here, will give inform the client about what matters most to you. So think carefully about what you say.
However, there’s also another reason they ask this question, and that’s to see if you’re a great candidate.
A great candidate will have done a lot of research into the business before coming for the interview
They will have looked at their website, social channels, news, etc. and be able to demonstrate that in this answer. As an example, a great answer to this question would be something like this:
“The job itself really interested me but the more research I did, the more I could see that your values – things like collaboration, putting the customer first – those are values that matter to me too.
And then I also saw on your website that you’d started to do some work in the healthcare space and I’m really excited about the possibilities in this sector. I’d love to get the opportunity to broaden my skill set there with a company that’s as passionate as I am about it.”
Eileen Timmins, Ph.D.
Founder and President, Aingilin, LLC
The preparation for this question begins with research around the organization
- Connect on the values and culture of the organization.
- Ensure you have reviewed the organization’s website for their stated values.
- Review Benefits, career progression stories, history of leadership to review if there is career growth in the company with internal promotions.
- Review Glassdoor for details to support their website and culture.
- Review the areas of current employee comments, benefits, etc.
- Review all social media outlets for the company — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. This will assist in gathering more information on the organization.
Once these steps are all completed, I would answer the question such as this:
“Being part of the team to work here and contribute to the success of the organization by adding value in X Role by applying my skills, knowledge, competencies and professional experience with a team that continues to drive success.
After reviewing your website and social media outlets and also connecting with some employees who work here. The values of your organization align with where I want to work and the culture is an environment where I believe will be a great fit.
Being part of the team and culture to continue to grow this organization is very attracting. The benefits, including health insurance, 401k match, tuition reimbursement, time off, etc are above many companies in your industry and this displays that you invest in your employees – you understand that talent drives the organization – and it would be great to be part of this team.
I also observed via your LinkedIn site that there is much career pathing for promotions and on the job learning, along with a great learning and development program for onboarding and continued growth to be aligned with the organizational strategy.
It would be great to be part of this organization and the team at X organization.”
David E. Nielson
Leadership Coach | Management Consultant | Keynote Speaker | CEO, DNA Worldwide, LLC
“Why do you want to work here?” is a common interview question interviewees should be prepared for.
Your answer should include more than just a reference to the compensation package, location and work schedule that is acceptable to you
These alone will not guarantee work that is challenging, meaningful or offering a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. You may be setting yourself up for an unhappy situation.
It is a more meaningful question to think about if you have a clear career plan and appropriate career goals based on your current skill set and passion. A successful career path begins with a personal purpose statement to clarify what brings you joy and self-worth.
You should be evaluating this opportunity based on how it will contribute to your personal success journey, and not just because it sounds like a 'good' job.
How much do you know about the company’s mission statement, values, and culture? Have you done some research and talked to previous or current employees?
If your purpose, passion, and goals align with the organization’s values, and if your skill set can contribute in a meaningful way, you have an answer that is honest and authentic and, hopefully, a job in an environment that you will love doing every day.
Jennifer Lee Magas, MA, JD
Vice President, Magas Media Consultants, LLC | Clinical Associate Professor of Public Relations, Pace University
Explaining what you personally admire about the company is a good place to start
This both complements the company, as well as expresses your own values. To take your answer to the next level, reflect on how the company’s needs and values match up with the abilities you have to bring to the table. Organize your thoughts using the PAR acronym, or Problem, Action, Results.
Quickly illustrate your worth by outlining a similar problem or opportunity the company faces that you dealt with at your previous or current job, what specific action you took to solve that problem, and how your solution ultimately benefited the organization in terms of saved money or time.
For instance, when I researched and interviewed for my current position at Pace University three years ago, I was excited about the opportunity to join a rapidly growing department with creative colleagues who, like me, brought a hands-on focus to the classroom.
When asked why I wanted to work in the department I gave examples of my hands-on work with students and expressed my desire
to become a team member in a dynamic, intellectually challenging, forward-thinking department that focuses on combining theory and practice to enhance graduates’ career readiness and entrepreneurial agility.
My answer was a good one, and it helped my colleagues determine I was a good fit for the position.
It is important that you exhibit a good balance between what you appreciate about the company, as well as how you can benefit the business overall.
All in all, an answer that does all this will show the interviewer that you are honest, have done your research, and are enthusiastic about working for their company.
CEO & Founder, Best Practice Institute | Psychologist | Author, In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace
People stay at companies for various reasons – some we like to admit and some we are not so fond of admitting. It all comes down to how committed we are to our organization.
There are two more dysfunctional reasons for staying at a company and one more functional (the one we like to admit). Normative and continuance commitment are the reasons we are embarrassed to admit.
Continuance commitment is when employees feel a need to stay at the company because they feel they do not have many alternatives elsewhere.
Continuance commitment becomes greater with age, because as people age they feel they have less of a chance of finding another job, and feel “stuck” inside of their current job. Continuance commitment is most associated with active disengagement, and lack of motivation.
The second kind is normative commitment. People with normative commitment feel that there may be disastrous consequences if they left their company, and they would feel a massive sense of guilt if they left.
People with normative commitment usually bring a great deal of stress to the workplace along with their partners in crime, the continuance committers.
Affective Commitment is the best reason to be in a company – because you really want to be there, and you feel a sense of connection for the workplace, your team and employees.
Affective commitment is most associated with a highly engaged, high performing workforce where people provide more voluntary discretionary effort and are the kind of people you must scout out, hire, keep happy, develop and nurture.
Elene Cafasso, MCC
Executive Mentor and Coach | Owner, Enerpace, Inc.
The best answer to this question includes what’s in it for the company, as well as what’s in it for you as a jobseeker
Here are some examples that combine the two:
“This opportunity builds on my past experience so I know I can deliver results quickly. I value making a difference everywhere I work.
I do my best to work in collaborative teams like this one. By bringing my experience in x,y,z to the team, I can be a part of the firm’s success. I also really value the opportunity to learn from the others on my team.
The new challenges and learning, coupled with the chance to do work I know I like and can do well, are what attracted me to this position.”
Business Coach | Resume Writer | Executive Partner, Merrfeld Career Management
“Why do you want to work here?” is a common question people struggle to answer.
The best way to provide a genuine answer that you’re comfortable with is to do your research ahead of the interview
This research goes beyond reviewing the company’s website to searching Google, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and industry sites to learn about the company.
While on LinkedIn, be sure to research the company and the employees, present and past, who work for the organization. Do they seem happy? Do they brag about their organization? If there’s controversy surrounding a company, how does the company respond? This will give you great insight into their culture.
In addition, researching industry sites will give you a better understanding of how the company is performing in the market. All of this research will help you formulate your reasons for wanting to work for this employer.
Sometimes, doing in-depth research will also show you why you don’t want to work for an employer or provide you with good questions to ask the interviewer. No matter what, taking the time to research the company, employees, and the hiring manager are key.
Robyn L. Coburn
Writer | Artist, Work in Production | Owner, Robyn Coburn Resume Review
First, understand that this question is a test to see if you have done your homework and researched the company. You should have read all over the website, and googled for News about the company and main stakeholders.
Don’t just read at the Careers page but explore the entire corporate site and read the mission statement, vision statement, and any information about their goals. Many companies post their annual reports publicly, which you should read. Also, research the company at sites like Glassdoor that will have reviews by employees and past interviewing candidates.
All this information will enable you to first know for yourself that this is a company that you do want to work for. Choose a job that really does interest you, with a company you will be glad to work for. Then you can give an honest answer.
Craft your answer in balance with the company’s needs and yours
While this question is an opportunity to talk about what the company can give to you, as distinct from what you will give the company, your answer should still balance their needs with yours. It is also important to have analyzed the job listing so that the positive qualities that you bring to the company are aligned with the main needs as expressed in the job listing.
For example, it is futile to talk more than in passing about your awesome leadership skills, when the listing specifically wants someone who can follow instructions and support others who are in leadership roles. Or talk about working independently and being proactive, when their top need is for a collaborator who will fit into their team-oriented mindset.
Do not to dwell too much on the great pay and benefits package, although it is unnatural not to mention it at all
“While I really appreciate the quality of the benefits here, and the chance to participate in the company’s management training program, what attracts me to the company is how you are a steward in the community and give workers the opportunity to participate in fundraising events for charity.”
So here’s one example of the kind of answer to give when the company has mentioned a role where you can grow and they promote from within:
“[Company Name] is a great fit for me because I’m looking for a growing company that means longer-term stability. I saw on the last Annual Report that your revenues have grown by 14% over the last year, and gives me a lot of optimism. I’m looking for somewhere to call home and grow with for the long haul.“
"A great fit" or "the right fit" are good phrases to incorporate into your answers.
For somewhere busy, creative and entrepreneurial:
“I’m really excited by all the different clients and types of projects, like the media events and the office management, that I would be involved with.
It’s not just that I’m good at balancing multiple tasks – I thrive in an environment where I get a lot of variety, a long to-do list, and get to work with a large team.
I’m super motivated by deadlines, and I love getting to the end of the day and being surprised – where did the day go? I love the range of duties and responsibilities that this role offers.”
Having done your research and prepped your answer, don’t wait for this question come up in the interview! Include “The reason I’m so attracted to working at this company is…” in your “Tell me about yourself” story from the start.
Talent Advisor | People Strategy Leader | HR Executive, Peridus Group
The keyword in this question is “here;” the interviewer is trying to determine why you desire to bring your skills, abilities, and determination to their company as opposed to the competitor down the street.
A great answer will include 3 components: your knowledge of the company and its culture, an example of how your skills and talent will contribute to success, and a dash of authentic enthusiasm.
A concise, yet illustrative answer could be:
“My experience leading the digital transformation team at Acme Corporation was not only professionally rewarding but resulted in a full-scale move from legacy technologies to enhanced tools that improved decision-making with robust analytics.
I look forward to joining your future-focused organization as my approach to these projects will match your stated company values of continual learning, boldness and open communication with team members during periods of change.”
Director of Digital Marketing, ReliaSite
Share your enthusiasm for the role or company
If you’re interviewing for a job that you really want, this question is pretty simple to answer.
I have been a fan of Acme Widgets since I was a teenager – I use your blue widgets every day, and I love your Green Widgets for the Earth program. This role is a good fit for what I enjoy doing and what I’m good at, and I’d love to join Acme Widgets.
Answering this question gets tricky when you don’t really know much about the company and/or you’re not sure yet if you’re excited to work for the company.
Here are a few tips I’d recommend candidates use when they’re not yet sure if they want to work for the company:
Share what attracted you to the job posting
This role looks like a really good fit for me, because I have a lot of experience in A & B, and I’ve really enjoyed working with X, which I see you use.
Share what you’re looking for in a company and suggest you’re hoping the company matches that.
I’m looking for a company with good team dynamics where I can collaborate with others to ideate and implement marketing campaigns. So far it seems like that’s the type of company you are, and I’m eager to get to know you and the team better to see if I’m a fit for this role!
Share what you like about the industry
The financial industry is really attractive to me for two reasons. #1, I love math and numbers, and #2, I’ve seen how damaging financial mistakes can be, so I would love to be part of a company that helps people plan for their future.
Remember, job interviews go both ways – you’re interviewing the company to see if you like them. (Although many companies forget that fact!)
President, PMG Home Loans
You can never be one hundred percent certain what questions you will be asked during an interview, but one question is almost guaranteed – “Why do you want to work here?”
Be prepared and do your homework
Some questions don’t take a great deal of preparation to answer in an interview. That is the case for questions about your education, experience, licenses, certifications, and skills.
On the other hand, there are some questions that should be anticipated that will require some research and preparation to answer. One of the most common questions in this category is, “Why do you want to work here?”
In order to properly respond to this question, you should have enough knowledge about the company to tie your answer directly to the needs and direction of the company.
For most companies, there is a wealth of information to be found at your fingertips online. Look to the company’s website for their “About” tab, mission statements, and directives. You can also find out a great deal about any company by researching their presence in Social Media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Learn what the company does and what their leadership is passionate about. In most cases, companies will hire individuals they feel best to align with their corporate direction and philosophies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I practice my answer before the interview?
Yes, it’s a good idea to practice answering the question “Why do you want to work here?” before the interview. This will make you feel more confident and prepared and ensure your answer is focused, concise, and impactful.
Here are some tips for practicing your answer:
Write it down: Start by writing down your answer to the question. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you cover all the important points.
Practice out loud: Once you have written down your answer, practice saying it out loud. This will help familiarize you with the wording and ensure your answer flows smoothly.
Time yourself: Make sure your answer is concise and to the point. Aim to keep your answer to no more than 1-2 minutes, and practice timing yourself to ensure you stay within this limit.
Get feedback: Practice your answer with a friend or family member and ask them for feedback. They can give you suggestions for improvement and help you identify any areas where you could be more impactful.
Remember that while practicing your answer is important, you don’t want to appear too rehearsed or scripted during the interview. Make sure your answer sounds natural and conversational. Be prepared to adapt it to the conversation that develops during the interview.
Can I mention my personal interests or hobbies in my answer?
While it’s not necessary to mention your personal interests or hobbies in your answer to the “Why do you want to work here?” question, it can be a good way to show your personality and connect with the interviewer on a personal level.
However, you should ensure that your personal interests are relevant to the job or the company culture.
For example, suppose you’re applying for a company that values teamwork and collaboration. In that case, you could mention that you enjoy team sports or participating in group activities. This shows that you share the company’s values and are a team player.
If you choose to mention your personal interests, make sure you relate them to the job or company meaningfully. Avoid mentioning interests that are irrelevant or could be perceived as unprofessional.
Remember that your response should focus on your interest in the company and the job.
Can I mention the company’s competitors in my answer?
While you can mention the company’s competitors in your answer to the “Why do you want to work here?” question, it’s important to do so carefully. You don’t want to come across as criticizing the company or focusing too much on the competition.
When you mention the company’s competitors, make sure you do so positively and constructively. For example, you might say, “I’ve been following the industry closely, and I’m impressed with the work that both [company] and its competitors are doing. However, what really sets [company] apart for me is its focus on [particular aspect of the company or its work].“
Acknowledging the competition shows that you understand the industry well and know the company’s position in the market. However, by focusing on what sets the company apart, you’re showing that you’re genuinely interested in working for that company, not just interested in any job in the industry.
Remember, you should focus your answer on your interest in the company and the job. So if you mention the competition, ensure it supports your overall message.
Can I reuse my answer for different job interviews?
While using similar themes or ideas in your answer is okay, reusing the same answer for different interviews is not a good idea.
Each company is unique, and they want to know why you want to work for them in particular. If you reuse the same answer, it’ll seem generic and unconvincing.
Instead, use the information you’ve gathered about the company and the role to tailor your response to that particular interview. This will show the employer that you have a genuine interest in their company and have prepared for the interview.
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