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“Why do you want to work here” is a tough question.
Acing a job interview isn’t something that can happen without any preparation. Think about it.
You must search for jobs to find the ones you are qualified for, tailor your resume to match the job description, and then complete the application before waiting for the call saying you’ve been selected for an interview.
You probably put at least a few hours work into your resume along with some additional TLC to perfectly craft it for each job you apply for.
You should do that same when preparing for an interview.
Sure, you might have a stellar resume that scores several job interviews, but having cookie-cutter answers to important questions won’t get you hired.
Your resume sells your skill set, but you still need to sell yourself as someone who will contribute to the company.
There are some common questions that you’re practically guaranteed to be asked in an interview. “Why do you want to work here?” is one of them.
Sure, the question seems pretty straightforward, but the answer is not so simple. Let’s dive right in!
What are they REALLY asking?
You won’t be doing yourself a favor if you don’t fully understand the additional questions that are being asked in this single question.
Of course, you want to mention why you want to work there. Additionally, they’re also analyzing your answer for why they should hire you.
Here are some hidden questions within the question:
- What do you know about us?
- How will you contribute to our organization?
- Do your values align with ours?
- How do you see yourself with us in the long term?
- What does your future look like here?
- Why should we hire you?
That’s a lot more than you probably imagined. This simple-yet-complex question has the potential to make or break your interview.
Before Crafting Your Answer: Research and Reflection
If you think that you can provide the same answer to this question in every job interview you have, you are so wrong.
However, here’s an idea of what you don’t want as your answer:
I want to work here because it seems like a good company. I have all the skills you are looking for, and it pays pretty well.
Every company is different, so your reasoning for wanting to work at each should be different, too.
There are several points you can cover when responding to this question. These points require research and reflection.
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Research the Company
Maybe you have a friend or family member that works there, and they told you they love the company. That’s great!
But why do YOU love the company?
To answer this question, you’ll want to dig in and take a look at the following things.
- Nearly every company has a mission statement these days.
- It gives you an idea of what the objective and values are for that organization.
- If you don’t align with them, do you really want to work there?
- Every company provides a product or service, so you should be familiar with what they are.
- You might not be applying for a position in the sales department, but knowing what the company is offering to clients is important.
- If you don’t agree with what the company is selling, why would you help them sell it?
- There are so many ways to learn more about a company’s culture. Having friends or family members that work for the company is the easiest way to get first-hand information.
- Ask for a tour or shadow experience for a day to formulate your own opinion of the culture.
- Additionally, Glassdoor is a wonderful resource for finding employee testimonies.
- You can even reach out to current employees on sites like LinkedIn.com and ask them questions about their work life.
- By reading recent press releases, you’ll be up-to-date on company news.
- This is a great strategy to prove you know about the company.
- It will also help you form a deeper opinion on how you can contribute if you were hired.
After performing research, part of your response could include:
“I would love to be a part of the PPG team because it values integrity, innovation, and sustainability, which are three things I also value. As a hockey fan, I think it’s great that PPG is the company that developed a coating to improve the game. I want to be part of a company that can bring those improvements to life.
After speaking to current and former employees and touring the facility, I can see myself really enjoying working here. Your company values of integrity and customer service align directly with my own. I want to work for a company that truly puts the customer first.”
You also want to determine the value this job could bring your future.
Unless you’re in a position where you simply need a job to make ends meet, you should pick jobs based on how they can help your career ambitions.
Here are some thoughts to consider when crafting this portion of your answer.
- Getting a job at any company doesn’t mean you have to work there your entire career, but it should offer ways for you to develop professionally.
- Look at trainings that are offered to employees and how they support their staff.
- If you feel like you might just be a paper-pusher without getting any additional tools or support, you might not want to apply.
When you look at how the company operates, is it a structure that you can move up in?
- Most people don’t plan to stay in entry-level positions their entire career, so understanding your potential for promotions is important.
- Similar to the organizational structure, you’ll want to know if that potential exists for you.
- Are you planning to go through more schooling or training to work your way up through the company?
- Do you need additional degrees to join management or the c-suite?
Here’s what you could provide in the next part of your answer:
“AT PPG, I love that they provide on-site training to their employees and have leadership opportunities available for top performers. One of my goals is to manage people, and I believe my integrity makes me a valuable asset that puts me on a management career path.
For now, I really believe I can do this job well with the skills I have and knowing that PPG will ensure I can do it to the best of my ability with any training I need. I’ve also read that your company encourages employee development, which is something I envision doing.
My goal is to learn additional management skills, along with database training and client relations. I want to work for a company that invests in its people.”
This might seem a little strange to consider, but it can mean a lot to the interviewers, especially if you’re applying from another area.
This is one area that you could leave out of your answer, but it could boost you above the competition if you can prove you already see yourself living nearby.
Do some research on the nearby area to see if it incorporates any of your hobbies and interests. You can also take a look at what type of commuting options are available based on your potential residence.
If you choose to mention the location in your answer, it might go something like this:
“After doing some research about Pittsburgh, I found that this area has a lot for me if I’m offered a position at PPG. I love that the office is located downtown so I can walk or ride my bike to work.
It would be so cool to go to hockey games after work when I can, and it’s a short walk away from the office. Also, I saw that Chipotle, one of my favorite lunch places, is only two minutes away.”
What Not to Include
When answering this question, there are some points that you should steer away from.
These can turn off the interviewing team and make them second-guess your real motives.
Salary and Benefits
- It’s possible you might be asked about salary in another question, but this is most definitely NOT the response you’ll want to bring up money.
- Focus on selling your skill set and how you see yourself filling the position rather than filling your pockets.
- Even if the benefits package is stellar, this should not be mentioned when explaining why you want to work there. Companies want employees that will contribute to their service and mission, not one that is worried more about the benefits that come with the job.
- Yeah, it might be really cool that you could have your next degree paid for, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason you want to work for a company.
- Some companies are moving toward more flexible time-off policies. As cool as they are, it shouldn’t be the focus of your reason for wanting to work somewhere.
- If an interview panel senses that you might abuse that policy or any policy, that might deter them from offering you the job.
Negative Things About Past Employers
- If you’re hoping to move out of your existing position at another company, you may be tempted to compare your past employer with your potential new one.
- Speaking ill of your previous employer might leave a sour taste in their mouth. Instead of speaking negatively, focus on the positives of the company you’re interviewing with.
Make sure you don’t catch yourself saying anything like this during your interview:
“At my last job, I wasn’t making enough money to pay my bills, so I had to cancel my cable. With this job, I could finally get that back and use the actual skills I learned in college. Also, my manager never gave me the time off I needed when I wanted to travel to visit my family in California, and this job seems like I’ll be able to have that time and money to see them more.”
These things might be true, but there is a better way to phrase the same concepts more professionally and appropriately.
“I’ve learned to cut back and prioritize what’s really important in my life. This job would fulfill me more, especially because I’ll be utilizing the skills I learned when studying manufacturing engineering. Prioritizing my career is important to me at this point in my life. I want to work doing what I enjoy. While I haven’t had many opportunities in the past to do so, I know this is all a part of being a consummate professional. Now is the time. I’ve built my skills in the industry and see myself taking my performance to the next level. Here, now, I’m looking for the opportunity that takes my contributions to the next level.”
How to Prepare
Now that you have all the information to craft a beautiful answer to this question, you’ll want to practice before the interview day.
Before you take a seat in front of the interviewer, do the following to really wow them.
- Make a list. As you do your research, make sure you’re tracking all the positive information you come across. Creating a list is the easiest way to keep all the information in one place without worrying about finding it again.
- Write out your response. Physically writing out your response will help solidify the reasons you want to work for that company. If it feels unnatural or forced to write, that could mean you’re not being truthful. It can also mean you haven’t reflected deeply enough.
- Say the words out loud to determine if they sound natural. You might tweak some wording or realize another word fits better to convey your. As you practice, you can go off script a bit to make your response so more authentic. Don’t sound like a robot during your interview.
- Get feedback. Reciting your response to a friend or family member is a great way to get feedback. If the person knows you well, they might question whether you’re being truthful and challenge why you really want to work somewhere.
Conclusion: How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
This is a quintessential interview question. It’s quite open-ended, so it’s your job to prepare without rambling on.
Remember to perform your research and custom-tailor your response to the company. Don’t forget to include company values and how you can fit within its culture.
Last, write down your responses and adjust them as necessary. Seek feedback, and try your best to drive home your vision.