CAREER MONDAYS: How to answer “Why Do You Want To Work Here?” with sample answers
This is a question that at first glance seems simple and so basic it’s almost stupid, After all, you’ve taken the time to apply and come in for an interview—isn’t your interest obvious? but it might catch you off-guard.
This question is meant to show whether you’ve done your homework. Understanding the company’s history, mission and vision will help you talk about how your education, skills and experience can add value in meeting the company’s goals.
These tips can help you put together an answer that will make you stand out.
Show that you’ve done your research
Ideally, you researched the company even before you applied, or at least before the interview, and now is the time to call upon what you learned.
By reviewing the company’s website and social media accounts, and reading news articles about the firm, you’ll be able to draw conclusions about the value you can bring to the position, whether it is because the company’s mission matches yours, its culture is a good fit or you have a skill that the company needs.
You say: “I’ve always thrived at fast-growing companies like this one and I understand the challenges that high growth rates can bring to a sales department. It looks like sales have hit a plateau here and I’d love the opportunity to help ramp them up again.”
Provide specifics about your value
Find ways to go beyond “I would do a great job” or “I’m a good fit.” When interviewing for a retail management position, drive to the stores you would be overseeing and act like a customer. Then list all the ways you could improve the customer experience based on your observations. “Then add that’s how passionate you are about—customer service. You will get the job.”
While this won’t always be part of the formal recruiting process, you can still apply this concept in your interviews. A candidate interviewed for an accounting manager position stood out by noting the company’s recent announcement that it was going public and would need a new set of accounting skills. The candidate then highlighted their applicable certifications and skills. This demonstrated that they knew what value they could add to the existing accounting team during the company’s transition.
You say: “I have a history of turning around underperforming teams and would love to be a part of refocusing Company X’s marketing efforts to increase the brand’s appeal to millennials. Boosting the company’s social media marketing would be my first step.”
Keep the focus on the employer
You may think this question is all about you, but like other questions in your job interview, it is still really about what you can do for the employer. Most candidates fall into answers related to culture or a lifelong dream to do this work. But the candidate that can move beyond an attractive culture or lifelong dream and put their skills into the context of a deliverable to the employer will move beyond other candidates.
Drill down on a key skill or deliverable that the employer needs and that you love to do. It is less important to the employer that you will love working there than the fact that you will get juiced by helping them improve their performance.
You say: “Company X’s balance between strong growth and corporate stability make it an attractive place to build a career. My history of boosting team performance shows I would be a great fit and asset for the company.”
Here are More Examples
“I saw a story a few months ago on the news about the outreach your company does with the community. Giving back is a big part of my personal philosophy and I was excited to see that there was a company that felt the same way. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out there was a job opening in my skill set here. I would really hope to be able to come to work every day to a place where I knew not only are my technical skills valuable, but my personal philosophies are as well.”
Uh, hello. Perfect answer! You’re not only aligning yourself with the company as far as philosophy goes, but you’re complimenting the outreach and promoting your skills at the same time. It’s a triple threat! Great job!
“I really believe in the value of teamwork and so when I saw a position with your company to join your engineering department I had to make sure my application was put in. I believe strongly in working with other people towards a common goal and I know the skills I bring not only as an engineer, but as a team member will not only bring me work satisfaction, but will make me a valuable teammate as well.”
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