How to answer the question "Why do you want to work here?"
You have already applied for a job, got past the application process, and have been invited for that daunting first interview. Congratulations. To increase your chances of success you need to ensure you are thoroughly prepared for the range of possible questions that can come up so that you can impress and increase your chances of getting that job you deserve.
One of the first and most important interview questions you will need to answer will revolve around your motivations for applying to this specific company. This article will focus on making sure you can successfully answer the question "Why do you want to work here" and avoid the pitfalls so that you can set the tone for a successful interview.
From my extensive experience of the recruiting process, I must highlight the importance of focusing on specific attributes of the company and how it differentiates itself from otherwise similar competitors. You must avoid giving purely generic answers that have been heard countless times by the interviewer such as:
- This company is the biggest by revenue in the sector
- This company has an international presence
- This company has X employees
- This company pays great money and provide great benefits
You get the drift.
I am not, by any means, suggesting that you avoid giving this type of answers in interviews altogether, but rather, I will now show you how you can take these and transform them in a way that spices up your response to increase its impact and demonstrate your understanding of the company and convey your motivations to make a tangible continuous contribution over a long and prosperous career.
1. This company is the biggest by revenue in the sector:
If the company is the biggest in the industry, country or whatever, they are certainly proud of the fact. However, they already know this and have heard it over and over again from applicants. Therefore, I like to mention it in passing, for example, by saying "besides the fact that your company is the most successful in the industry, I am attracted to…"
2. This company has an international presence:
If you would like to mention the company’s international presence, don’t just state it. In my opinion it would be better to say that you are incredibly mobile and that you are looking for a global company that offers opportunities abroad that will enable you to internationalise your career and contribute greatly to your development so that you can add value to the company in return.
3. This company has X employees
Instead of mentioning the number of employees, highlight the fact that you appreciate the value of a workforce of diverse backgrounds and cultures and how this translates into greater ideas and the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences.
4. This company pays great money and provides great benefits
Rather than focus on the higher than average salary and benefits provided by a company, which could possibly blow the interview, it would be much more beneficial to focus instead on your attraction to the personal development opportunities the company provides such as training programmes, the flexibility to pursue professional qualifications or even a company sponsored MBA. However, always remember, it is not about what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. So make sure to say that personal development opportunities will, as a result, enable you to add even more value in return for the company’s investment in you.
Additionally, these days, companies often stress their contribution to society and describe their corporate responsibility initiatives. I strongly suggest you mention your interest in particular initiatives. If company policy allows a few days a year for employees to take the opportunity to volunteer, make sure you stress the fact that you would love to participate. Finally, I would like to suggest that you try to tailor your answer to the company as far as possible and demonstrate what differentiates them from the competition (without explicitly name them).
Making sure you begin the interview with a good and solid answer will greatly enhance your confidence and set the tone for a successful interview which will hopefully land you your dream job. I wish you the best of luck in your career pursuits.