Interviewing 101: Answering “Why do You Want to Work Here?”

January 21st 2014 in Interviewing
flickr image by Samuel Mann
flickr image by Samuel Mann

You’ve been searching for quite a while and after sending out over 100 resumes you finally landed an interview (been there done that).  At this point you’re a little desperate and will take about any job someone will give you to change your current circumstances but you still manage to seem professional instead of desperate.  That is until the interviewer asks, “So why do you want to work here?” The words “Because I need a freakin’ job lady!” rush through your head but you catch them before they exit your mouth.  Here are a couple of better ways to answer that question.  These are assuming you’ve done your interview prep of course.

Know more than the basics about the company. 

Anyone can give the patent “You’ve been in business for 75 years and I’m looking for a stable company where I can contribute over the next 75 years.” BORING and a lie as you’re likely not going to work there for the next 3 years not to mention the next 75.  Because you’ve done your interview prep you know deeper things about the company such as where they sit on the Fortune 500 list, the types of charities they’re involved in, their reputation as a top employer, their struggles in an area where you can help them, the kind of work they do, the geographic areas they do work in, etc.  Knowing these things will allow you to speak to more than just “Well you seem like a nice place to work and I need a change.”

The answer to this question should not revolve around you. 

There are two goals in an interview. First, to get to know one another and for both you and the interviewer to see if there’s a potential match.  Second, for you to showcase the value you bring to the company.  Yes, it will be great to work at a company with an onsite gym, barber shop, day care, and free yoga classes but the interview is the time to show how you can bring benefit and help the company achieve its goals. So answering this question in a way that showcases the benefit to the company is key.  For example, I have frequently been hired to help companies make a change so when asked this question I might respond with “I’ve done my research and I’m impressed with the history of XYZ Co.  I know you have some challenges in ABC area and I’m looking forward to working with the team to conquer those challenges.  Change management is what gets me excited and fuels my passion and I think I can put that strength to work here to get XYZ Co where we need it to be.”  By showcasing how I can help the company I also was able to speak to how the company will fuel my passions.  While the focus of the answer was about the company, I demonstrated how I would benefit too.

Happy interviewing!

Interviewing 101 is a series showcasing how to answer some of the toughest and most common interview questions.  Check out the series for more tips

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