The Best Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Posted: 03/31/15 | Category: Interviewing Job Search

Interview questions are never asked on a lark. They are meant to get to the marrow of who you will be as an employee and how you will fit in the company culture. As is, 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. The last thing most hiring managers want to do is add another ill-fitting piece to their team.

That’s why you should always be ready to answer, “Why do you want to work here?” among the standard interview questions.

It’s about the Company Culture

The question is simple enough. You probably even have a knee-jerk response to it. Yet an immediate, almost involuntary answer may be detrimental to your interview’s success.

Interview questions like this are meant to gauge two things: whether or not you’ve researched the company and if your values synchronize with that company culture. Any response too far from what’s expected can be used as demerits against you.

That means, no talk of money (it makes you appear greedy), no talk of escaping a bad work situation (it makes you seem desperate), and no talk of any neat company benefits (it makes you appear materialistic). These reasons are sugar pills at best. They feel good going down, but don’t physically fix the underlying problem. People who answer this way imply they’ll be back on the job hunt before the ink has dried on their employee agreement and W2s.

How to Respond to “Why Do you Want to Work Here?”

Research is imperative. Think about it: what makes the company’s work and work atmosphere engaging to you?

Do the challenges align with your long-term career goals? Would you enjoy working in their collaborative or self-directed office atmosphere? Does using the technology and tools they use intrigue you? Make it known.

Here are a few examples that can help you as you’re making your own response:

“One big attraction to your company is the work atmosphere you’ve cultivated. I love collaborative work, and the feeling that I’m part of something bigger than myself. In my current job, the department is microscopic, so moving to a larger, more intertwined team is an exciting prospect.”

“While doing some research on your business, I found that your team is using some cutting-edge techniques to get a strong financial return. [Independently or on the job] I’ve been exploring the potential of that technology and I think together, we’d be able to amplify its capabilities in your business.”

Both responses prove you’ve learned about the company culture, that you know how you’d fit, and that you are already excited to contribute to their success. Your response can be a tad longer, but strive to keep it brief overall. 

In the end, you want the hiring manager to have strong convictions about you. You are interested for the right reasons, ready for their challenges, and primed to make an easy transition into a business where your work will stand out among the rest. That alone should make it clear that you’re the missing piece that their team needs.

by James Walsh