Its one of the most common interview questions a hiring manager will ask, and yet its often the question that stumps job candidates the most.
Your answer also helps a hiring manager decide if you really want the job, or if its just another one on the list of hundreds you submitted your resume for. “What interviewers are looking for when they ask that question is the depth of thinking and seriousness a candidate has about working at this company,” Jeff Hyman, CEO of Recruit Rockstars, tells CNBC Make It. Hyman has interviewed more than 30,000 people throughout his 25-year career as a recruiter.
Below, Hyman and career coach Emily Liou share their best tips for answering this question and impressing any hiring manager.
Before your interview, research the company by reading its recent news coverage, social media posts, employee reviews on Glassdoor and the “mission and values” page on its website.
“You really stand out as a candidate when you show that youve gone the extra mile to look beyond a companys homepage,” Liou says.
She explains: “If youre interviewing for a position at Apple, for example, and tell the hiring manager you want to work there because they make cool computers, thats not going to land you an offer, because so many other candidates are saying the exact same thing.”
Pick out two or three details: It could be the companys mission, their business strategy or the opportunity to work with a particular employee, and build your answer from there, Hyman suggests.
Its also important to be genuine and personal in your response to show how much time and effort you put into preparing for the interview, which will set you apart from the competition.
“One of the most empowering actions you can take as a candidate is sharing what specifically drew you to an organization,” Liou says. “You can say, I love the reputation your company has built around having excellent-work-life balance or how you give back to the community through X, Y and Z, those are important values to me as well.”
Finally, close out your answer by describing the immediate impact youre hoping to have on the team.
“When someone is interviewing candidates, theyve got a problem that needs to be solved, whether its growing revenue, launching a new product or something else,” Hyman says.
When an interviewer asks “Why do you want to work here?” its a great opportunity for you to demonstrate that youre not only excited about the companys mission and opportunities, but “you see a chance to help solve a problem and make a real impact,” Hyman explains.
For example, if youre applying for a communications position at an appliance company, Liou says, “you can say, Im really excited to help get your refrigerators in front of as many people as possible by leveraging my years of brand awareness and marketing campaign experience.”
At the end of the day, Liou adds, companies are looking for people who understand their mission and are genuinely committed to their work. “A lot of people miss the opportunity to really connect with their interviewer,” she says. “When you can do that, you become the no-brainer hire.”
- I’ve known about your company for a long time and really admire it.
- I believe I can make a positive impact here.
- The company’s values align with my own.
- I love what I’ve heard/read about the company culture.
- I admire the company’s work ethic and collaborative spirit.
“I’m impressed by your company’s commitment to the growth and development of its employees. One of my friends works in your marketing department and she has praised this company for its excellent treatment of employees for years. I’m looking for a company that empowers and challenges its employees to be the best professionals they can be. In my research, I’ve found that you invest in ongoing education of your employees through education reimbursement, onsite training and mentorship programs. In addition, you have a great reputation for leadership in the industry. This is a company at which I would be honored to grow my career.”
“Why do you want to work here?” is one of the most important questions in an interview. Your answer helps the recruiter or hiring manager gauge your interest, and gives you a chance to prove you’re well-informed about the company and role. By sharing the facts you’ve discovered through your research while also displaying authentic enthusiasm for the organization and industry, you’ll leave the employer with a favorable impression and get one step closer to landing the job.
“I’ve been a loyal user of your product for many years. I’m consistently impressed by the cutting-edge technology and great user experience it provides. A few months back I had an issue and called customer support. The representative I spoke with was helpful, personable and sharp. I remember thinking at that time that your company must be a good one to work for. When I saw the opening for the Product Manager position I decided to research your company values and culture further, all of which supported my intuition that this is a place I’d love to work. I would love to grow my career at a company that is passionate about user experience and innovation.”
Review the company’s social media accounts.
In addition to being knowledgeable and excited about the company, the interviewer also wants to make sure you understand the role you’re interviewing for and all the duties it entails. Although you likely reviewed the job posting before you applied, take time to go back over the description—especially information about what makes the company a great place to work and specific job responsibilities.
Answers for Why Do You Want to Work Here?
In the search for a position, every job seeker will be faced with a question that may be seemingly obvious. A question that does not seem even to warrant an answer. When hiring managers ask you, “Why do you want to work here?”
They are trying to determine if you would fit in at the company and if you would add value to their existing team.
An engaged employee that is aligned with the companys mission and values will be more productive and stay at the company longer. The hiring manager is trying to find out if that person is you.
You might be panicking, wondering how to answer, “Why do you want to work here?” You never want to answer this question with a blunt and thoughtless response like, “Well, the pay is good, and I need a job.”
While this may be true, you aren’t giving yourself much of a chance.
You need to prove that you’ve done the research on the company, that your core values match the objectives of the company, and that you will enjoy working there.
The hiring manager won’t want to hire someone who is only in it for the paycheck.
It’s critical that you take the time before the interview to learn everything you can about the company.
Visit their website and read the “About Us” section, check out their social media accounts to get a sense of their culture, and search for press or articles about innovative things the company might be doing.
If you don’t find anything that sparks your imagination and drives your desire to work there, this may not be the right company for you.
When crafting your response, you will want it to be customized to the company you are interviewing with. Hiring managers do not appreciate a generic answer like, “This is a great place to work and I would love to be on the team.”
This doesnt say anything about the impact the candidate could have on the company and what they bring to the table.
Instead, design a response that demonstrates how your personal goals are in line with the values of the organization.
For example, if the company values community service, talk about your volunteer work and how you want to be a part of a team that is doing good in the community. Always tie your response back to your experience.
If you’re finding it difficult to draft your response, we’ve crafted some sample answers that can inspire your own reaction. Take your time to understand what is truly important to you and only interview at organizations that reflect those values.
Examples to help you craft your response to this common interview question:
Answering “Why Do You Want to Work for This Company?”
The hiring manager is looking for someone who will fit in at the company and enjoy working there.
A good answer will demonstrate your knowledge of the company and industry. That means you must do your homework so that you can identify specific reasons for wanting to work there.
These reasons could include one or several of the following:
You can probably think of other reasons that would also work. Please note: “It’s close to my house” and “I need the money” are not good reasons.
Don’t overlook the importance of cultural fit. You can find out a lot about the culture of a company before the interview. Many firms are proud to advertise the kind of culture they’re trying to create. If you feel it aligns well with your own preferences and abilities, make it clear in the interview.