How to Answer the Interview Question, “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

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Explore why an interviewer would ask you why do you want to work there, discover helpful tips to answer the question, and find three answers to tailor to your needs.
Sep 8, 2022 7 min read

An interview is a feeling-out process, a time for both the interviewer and the job applicant to decide whether they feel like they can work together.

One way that interviewers discover whether you are truly interested in the role is by asking you the question, "why do you want to work here?"

It seems like a simple question, but there is so much hanging on it, so much meaning packed into one simple sentence, that you might be a little nervous to answer the question.

Don't worry one bit, though! You can easily prepare for this question by discovering more about the company and asking yourself why you feel you'd be a good fit for the role.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • The reason interviewers ask, "Why do you want to work here?"
  • Mistakes to avoid when answering the question.
  • Answers which will show that you've done your research.

Before we jump into the article, Enhancv has an excellent career counseling service which provides you with a dedicated counselor to help prepare you for the interview, even conducting a mock interview. That'll help you feel confident and crush the interview.

The reason interviewers ask, "Why do you want to work here?"

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There are many reasons an interviewer may ask you your motivations for wanting to work there.

Just like any question asked during an interview, there are several hidden meanings behind this question.

Like two sides to one coin, this question is multifaceted, and the interviewer is trying to discover what is drawing you to work at the company and what motivates you to work in this role. Let's explore those a little more below:

1. Why do you want to work at this specific company?

A hiring manager wants to know that you are motivated by the good things you see being done at the company. They want to know that you want to be a part of the company because of its stellar track record, excellent customer service, and their great approach to the company culture.

This is where a little research can help you gain an understanding of the things that the company prides itself on. One tip is to scroll through the company's social media posts or their executive's social media posts to gain an understanding of what the company values.

Here are some other places to gain more information about the company's mission and vision:

  • Job Description: Study the job description for clues, like a mission statement.
  • Company Website: Check out the company's website and check to see what they showcase on their homepage.
  • Reviews: Scroll through reviews of the company online to understand more about what makes the company truly unique for its employees.
  • Friends or Family: Ask friends or family who work for this company what they enjoy the most about the company.

2. Why do you want to work in this role?

Here, a hiring manager is trying to gain a bit more of an understanding of what made you specifically apply for the position.

Essentially, you're being asked, “What drives you and motivates you to work in a company like this?"

To prepare for answering your motivations, follow the checklist below to help you discern what motivates you:

Sometimes, in order to gain a real understanding of your skills and abilities, you should create your own personal brand, your digital reputation. Having a personal brand can help you to identify yourself from the competition.

If you're interested in creating your own personal brand, check out this article: The 11 tools you should use to create your personal brand.

Avoid these 3 mistakes

Steer clear of these three common mistakes that people make when answering this question. Try also to keep your answers as specific as possible, and give tangible reasons you want to be a part of the company.

1. Generic answers

Interviewers can see right through generic answers, and it may look to them like you haven't researched the position or the company.

For example, if you're asked why you want to work there, and you answer, "I've heard a lot of good things about the company, and I feel like I'd be a great fit," it's too generic. This answer doesn't list any of the reasons you think the company would be great to work at, or why you think you'd be a good fit in the company's culture.

2. Inappropriate answers

"I was recently let go from my company and I needed to find work to help pay my bills, you know what I mean? That's why I could really use this job!"

You and I both know that there are right ways to answer questions and wrong ways to answer questions. For example, if your answer centers on collecting a paycheck, your hiring manager won't be too thrilled.

Companies want to find people to work for them that are motivated more than just by earning a paycheck, but by other things like career advancement and finding meaningful work that challenges you.

They want to know that you are there interviewing for the position because you found the role appealing and the company's mission to be something that intrigued you.

3. Weak answers

A weak answer is one that makes you look undecided.

Typical answers that are weak involve indirect answers which don't really answer the question, "I was scrolling through job boards, and I found yours, so I decided to apply for it. It seemed to make the most sense."

That answer really doesn't tell a hiring manager anything about what motivated you to apply for a position at that specific company. But if you hit them with a persuasive answer, you'll prove that you're the person for the job.

Think about it like this, if you can't nail down a specific reason why you're excited about the position, why should your hiring manager pick you to fill the position?

3 answers to the question, "Why do you want to work here?"

Let's examine this question in more detail by delving into specific answers that you could give for different career paths. Three different types of careers are listed below—HR, sales, and hospitality—and you can examine each one to gather important information you could use for your own interview.

Example 1: Human Resources

I want to work here because you build into your employees. One thing that I really admire about your company is your desire to equip your staff with career development courses at no charge to them.

I've had friends who worked here and they shared with me all the opportunities they had to go to conferences and take courses to upgrade their skills.

I very much see this as an opportunity to advance my own career goals in the human resources field, while also working to build this company up. I am passionate about presenting career development options for the people that I work with and showing them ways to progress to become better at what they do.

Example 2: Sales

I've spent the last seven years honing my sales skills in a small market setting, but I've always wanted to work for a company with such a large control of the market. I've seen your national sales campaigns from a distance, and want to be a part of what you're doing.

I even noticed that you continue to break new ground in the computer sales industry, especially with your new product line of ZX4 GPU chips. You're pushing forward, and I want to be there to help you as you conquer the market.

Example 3: Hospitality

I really respect your commitment to providing the best service to customers in the timeshare industry, leveraging everything you have to create a comfortable place for your customers to stay on vacation.

I heard that your company’s stock has continued to rise, and this is because of your expansion further into island destinations throughout the Caribbean Sea, resorts in Mexico and South America, and the beautiful beach getaways on the Mediterranean Sea.

You have a reputation for excellence in the hospitality industry, and I know I can add to your stellar track record by helping you break into other markets, including the Northern European market.

Food for thought:

  • Study the company's mission, vision, and values before creating an answer to this question.
  • You can find a lot of the information you need to form an answer to this question in the job description, the company website, and social media accounts.
  • Avoid generic, vague answers like "I need a job," and stick to specific examples of things that you admire about the company and the skills you bring to the table.

If you're looking to ace the job interview with your hiring managers, check out Enhancv's career counselor services. By speaking to a career counselor, you'll learn the finer points of interview question tips and salary negotiation. With their help, you'll feel prepared with practical examples up your sleeve to wow your interviewer.

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Dave Van Kooten
Is a human resource expert that helps passionate jobseekers to put their best foot forward to prepare for an interview. He believes that success can be achieved through going out of your comfort zone.
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