During the interview, an employer may ask why you want to work for them or what drew you to this position. While this may seem like a simple question, it can be challenging to answer if you’re unprepared.
You have to deliver the best response that clearly communicates your interest and demonstrates why you’re an excellent fit for the job. An inadequate response to this question could make all the difference in whether a potential employer decides to extend a job offer to you or not.
An employer wants to hire someone who is committed to the company's mission and who they hope can make a positive contribution to the organization and its clients or customers. The search for a candidate who matches the position and the business's needs can be time-consuming and costly.
Hiring managers want to ensure that the company's investment in time, money, and energy in sourcing the best candidate is worth it.
When could they ask you the “Why would you like to work for us” question?
You may hear the “Why do you want to work here?” question at any point during the job interview, but it’s most likely to crop up early on, when the interviewer may use it to set the tone for the rest of the interview session.
You may also hear it near the end of the interview when the hiring manager seeks to substantiate your commitment and eagerness for the role.
What NOT to say in response to “Why do you want to work here?”
Your response to the question “Why do you want to work here?” depends on the job and the organization, and on how you want to express and represent yourself, your key strengths, and your professional identity.
To be able to compose a response that matches most interview situations, it’s critical to realize what employers DON’T want to hear.
Here are some examples of what NOT to say in response to this question;
EXAMPLE #1 - Do Not Say..
I really just applied to as many jobs as I could, and this company looked interesting and was one of the first that got back to me…
EXAMPLE #2 - Do Not Say...
I’ve heard this company offers great pay and has amazing benefits..
When discussing compensation with prospective employers, leaders recognize that they need to offer competitive compensation to hire top talent. However, they do NOT want to hire workers who are primarily motivated by money.
EXAMPLE #3 - Do Not Say...
This position will enable me to reach new heights, and realize bigger and better opportunities…
A company doesn’t expect every employee to stay with them forever, but this response indicates that you're more concerned about the future than the present.
(Ex. You may want to eventually become a Project Leader, but the company’s present need is for someone to fill the specific requirements of the role you're applying for.)
A more Strategic approach to justifying why you want the position
One of the keys to coming up with a compelling answer to “Why do you want to work here?” is to flip the question, like this:
Why would this company want to hire me?
In other words, think more about what you have to offer, and how you could make an impact than why getting the job would benefit you.
Here are some things to consider as you practice your response:
- How can I help the organization succeed?
What knowledge and experience do you have that would be especially useful to this employer right now? Read up on what’s happening with the business and the industry. What competitive forces in the industry is the company facing? What new innovation, product, or service has the company recently introduced to the market, or working on currently?
- What wins/successes in my previous roles might I be able to repeat at this company?
How did you meet or exceed your former employers’ needs? What problems/challenges did you help resolve? What novel ideas did you propose that helped the company save money? What previous employer successes could you possibly repeat at this company? What key lessons have you learned that you may apply in the future to make an impact at your potential new employer?
- How can I complement the organization’s culture?
Many employers consider the candidate’s ability to fit in and add value to the firm’s culture when hiring. Conduct some prior research on the company’s culture and values, and determine key areas that interest you deeply that you can speak more on based on your own values and core beliefs.
For example, if the company values communication or building excellent client relationships, express why you would be a great fit based on your past success in these areas in your response.
Begin your response with strong opening statements
When the interviewer asks, “Why do you want to work here?” or “Why are you interested in this position?”, it's time for you to deliver a well-prepared response that sounds confident, and more importantly, natural.
Here are some good examples of lead-ins for building your own unique response:
I feel that this opportunity is a way for me to apply my skills and contribute as part of a forward-thinking/innovative/inspiring organization because of my passion for ______, and my experience in ____________ would enable me to ....
I strongly believe my talents are especially well-suited for this role because …
I am confident that I have the knowledge as well as the skills to succeed in this role with the company because of my passion for _______, and deep experience I the areas of _____…
I’m excited about this job opportunity, as it would allow me to fully apply my skills in ________, developed over the course of my professional experience as a ___________ …
When faced with the question “Why do you want to work here?” (or other challenging ones like “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your greatest weaknesses?”), not being prepared can cause you to freeze, stumble in your responses, and break the flow of the interview.
Preparing yourself to respond to different kinds of questions can help you overcome the natural anxiety and make an excellent impression at the next interview.
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