The question “Why do you want to work here?” is at the centre of any job interview. An interviewer will want to know what exactly peaked your interest for this role, and what your motivations are.
Recruiting is an expensive process, so your interviewer will be looking for the candidate who best fits their needs. Those who are just looking for another job can be clearly identified, and likely won’t be viewed as a good prospect for a long-term hire. Those candidates who demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the role, the wider industry, and can explain how this career step fits into their long-term plan, however, are much more likely to impress.
When preparing for interview questions, this question should always be the first one to be ready for – because it’s most likely to crop up. Having a clear sense of why you want the job will lay the foundations for the rest of your answers during the interview. Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask “Why do you want to work here?” specifically, finding a way to incorporate answering this question both directly and indirectly is sure to impress them.
The below goes in to more detail about what sort of answers recruiters are looking for from this question:
What are they looking for?
Your interviewer can find out a lot about you with this simple question. Their main goal will be to gain a sense of the motivation behind your application, and how it fits into your career plan. They will be looking to identify if you are genuinely interested in the role, and if you’re going to stick around…or whether this is merely a stopgap until something better comes along?
They will also be on the lookout for candidates who are knowledgeable about the company and the wider industry. If you haven’t done any research in advance, then you’d better get started, otherwise it will seem as though you aren’t really interested.
They will also be looking for candidates whose long-term goals align with those of the company. Are they searching for an ambitious sales team leader who they can eventually mould in to a sales manager? If this sounds like you, it’s a perfect match! But if you would prefer being a sales executive and don’t have any intention of moving up in your career, it might be best that you don’t apply for that job.
How to answer “Why do you want to work here?”
So, from what we’ve learned above, what’s the best approach when answering this tricky question?
A good answer to “Why do you want to work here?” will demonstrate three things:
- Enthusiasm for the company and wider industry;
- Your ability/skills to succeed in this job;
- How this move fits into your long-term career plan.
Step 1: Before you can talk confidently about the company, you’ll need to research it. Start with the company website and see if you can find any information on current projects. A quick Google search will also help to pick out any recent news stories they’ve been involved in. It might be beneficial to take a look at their competitors too – this should give you an idea as to where they sit within the industry.
Use this information to hone in on any news or projects that you’re particularly interested in, that relate to the role.
Step 2: Explain how your skills and experience make you the right person for the job.
It’s useful to refer to the job description while carrying out this step. Focus on skills that are central to the role. By targeting these, you present an understanding of what the role will entail.
Remember to frame all of your answers in the context of what you can do for the company, rather than what they can do for you. Focus on how your skills will add value to the company and its current and future plans – and how excited you are about the prospect.
Step 3: A great way to conclude your answer is to emphasise how this job is the natural next step for you. This is a good time to suggest that you see a long-term future at the company.
“This role particularly caught my eye due to the fact that I’ve seen the company cropping up increasingly in industry news, particularly with regards to revenue and staff growth. It’s clearly a company on the up and that’s a very exciting prospect. So I can obviously understand your decision to recruit more sales staff. This particular role is the sort of progression that I’ve been looking for from my current sales executive role. The team I’d be leading is more specialist, and in an area that I have a great deal of experience and interest in.’
Why we like this answer: The candidate demonstrates their interest in the industry by mentioning reading industry news. They also express enthusiasm for the company and the direction it’s heading in. Finally, they show their own desire for career progression matches up with the needs of the company.
“I am particularly excited by the work that you’re doing to train your sales staff. I have always been passionate about a learning environment, so this part of your ‘Career Culture’ page on your website is particularly inspiring for me. I have been looking for an opportunity where I can expand on the work I did in my previous role, and knowledge share with others. Your more ambitious environment would certainly allow me to do that.”
Why we like this answer: This candidate has made sure that they have identified a company goal relevant to their experience, and the role they applied for. They have also mentioned that they have researched the company’s website, and that the role itself seems to be a natural progression from their previous job.
What not to say
- Avoid giving the impression that you’re just looking for any job you can get. If you tell them that you’re just looking for another job, they will have doubts about your commitment;
- The same applies when suggesting to your interviewer that you need the money. Of course, money is important, however, focus on the role rather than the salary in your interview;
- Don’t focus your answer on what the company can do for you, make sure all your answers focus on the value you add for them.
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