Tough Interview Questions: Why do you want to work here?

February 9th, 2011 § 0 comments

Often the most basic interview questions pose the greatest difficulty for interviewees.

Why do you want to work here? Why do you want this job?

Something so simple as one’s motivation to be present for an interview seems like it would be intrinsic knowledge and many job seekers make the false assumption that preparation for a question like this is unnecessary. That is certainly not the case.

As I’ve said before, most non-technical questions are designed to trap you – the interviewer is looking not for a positive response but rather for something they can use as a reason to not hire you into that particular role. Your carefully considered answer needs to address the question properly without being too open, too forward or, simply, saying something incorrect.

All that said, let’s delve into the questions:

Why do you want to work here?

Well, why do you? What is it about the company that attracted you in the first place? The worst answer sounds like “I’m here because I needed a job” or “a friend referred me to you so I figure I would go on the interview.” If that’s your genuine answer, you shouldn’t be there in the first place. There’s a reason that good recruiters refer to their open roles as “opportunities” and not “jobs.” A job is something you punch the clock in to earn a paycheck. An opportunity is the chance to develop yourself and your skills in the workplace. Not being able to articulate your interest in the company immediately shows an interviewer that you’re treating this as a job and you’ll probably find that interview wrapping up quickly.

A proper answer to this question should contain several elements, all of which link back to your experience and career desires. First, address the company itself.

I am highly interested in a role with ABC Corporation as they are a well-regarded and serious competitor to my prior firm of XYZ Corporation. Having worked in the same sector as your business, I have learned and appreciate the strong reputation you have for work in this area.

You can also seize this opportunity to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of the company. In addition to the above answer which is fairly general, adding something along the lines of the quote below will demonstrate that your truly did proper research on the firm and understand why they are well regarded in the sector.

I also appreciate the significant advances that ABC Company has made within this particular sector. I was particularly impressed by the release of your Widget 2.0 product because…

Finally, you want to relate the company directly back to your experience. This is closely tied into the “Why do you want this job?” question.

I think ABC Company offers me the greatest opportunity for professional and personal advancement based on my prior career accomplishments. Because ABC is [larger or smaller] than my current firm, I’ll have the ability to [take on more responsibility or benefit from the diversity of a large organization] that will help me to meet the goals I’ve set for myself.

It’s crucial with questions such as these to show that you’ve done your research on the company you’re interviewing with. Combining knowledge of the company with a pitch that utilizes the information you’ve gathered to draw parallels to your own experiences will produce the most refined and impressive answer to this open-ended question.

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