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How to Answer: Why do you want to work for us?

When you are asked in an interview, “Why did you choose this company?” it can leave you stumped. While the obvious answers would be “I need a job” or “I want more money”, that’s not what hiring managers are looking for in a response. Candidates have objected to this question being asked, especially in a climate where job-seekers have companies lined up to take them in.

As we explained in this article, the post-pandemic market is candidate-driven, so the approach should instead be a conversation around why employees enjoy working at the company.  However, looking at some of the reasons below, you’ll see why you should have answers prepared when asked about your motives for applying for the job.

1. The interviewer wants to see that you’ve researched the company

Are you interested enough in the job to have read the company’s mission, vision, and values? Preparing for a job interview starts with researching the company you are interviewing at. In-depth knowledge of their products or services is great, but it’s even better if you have actually used their services. Incorporating positive feedback in your answer will show your enthusiasm and suitability as an advocate for their product.

Sample response: “I’ve been a customer of your mobile app for several years, so I wasn’t surprised when (Company Name) was awarded “Business of the Year” in 2020. The helpful support I received from your customer services department is a testament to your mission to offer excellent customer-focused services across the continent. However, there are a few processes that you can put in place to make your app even more consumer-friendly. The strategy I used at (Previous Company) boosted sales by 24% and would work well here.”

2. Do your core values align with the culture of the company?

Your core values are those intrinsic beliefs that influence your decision-making. Analyze what yours are and see how they match with the values of the company. Also, check out the charity organizations the company supports as insight into what matters to them. Core values can range from fairness to flexibility to family. However, don’t be like one candidate whose familial attachments resulted in him bringing his mom to his interview

Sample response: “As I looked into the values of (Company Name), I was struck by the importance placed on equality. I grew up in a culture that has struggled with gender equality. Having witnessed the effects first-hand, I have always spoken out against inequality. I was also impressed by (Company Name)’s support of charities like Girls Who Code in allowing them to use your resources to empower young women.”

3. They want to know if you really want to work for them 

Companies want to hire someone enthusiastic and excited to become part of their team. Pat answers like “I’m looking for a challenge” or “I see a potential for growth” aren’t going to cut it. As stated in this article by Workable CEO Nikos Moraitakis, “Overly polished people with canned interview answers may suggest a good effort on the candidate’s side (a good thing) but also suggest a lack of authenticity and confidence in one’s own personality.” So give them a glimpse into a future with you by explaining what you can do for them and what they can do for you.

Sample response: “I’ve been tracking the forward momentum of (Company Name) for a few years now, and the advances you’ve made in technology have brought me to the edge of my seat. My own innovations have been praised by (Previous Employer) and have triggered further research and development into new areas. I believe (Company Name) can foster my unique concepts while allowing me to work autonomously.”

How to prepare for the question: “Why do you want to join our company?”

1. Do your research 

In our wonderful web-centric world, information is just a few clicks away. Tap into your online resources to get the data you need. Here are a few starting points:

  • The company’s website

This seems like a no-brainer but don’t just browse the ‘Home’ page. Click on ‘About Us,’ and you’ll find a wealth of insight into where it began, where it is today, and where it plans to be in the future. Check out the blogs, press releases, and even the ‘Careers’ section for helpful clues. Sign up for their newsletter to keep track of the company’s activities.

  • Hit the search button 

Most successful companies have a social media presence. Along with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, you can also read about their events and accolades from news articles. Have a look at customer reviews on sites like Better Business Bureau and Yelp to gauge where the company’s shortfalls are and how they react to negative feedback. Use this information to suggest solutions to these problems in your interview. Feel free to tumble down the rabbit hole with this one to learn about their competitors and industry trends.

  • Use your network 

Hit up LinkedIn to find friends and colleagues who have previously worked or currently work at the company. Hiring managers love hearing about their company’s great reputation, so mention your sources when you’re highlighting their positive attributes.

2. Go over the job description

Reread the job posting to make sure you’re clear about the responsibilities entailed and that you meet the requirements. Adjectives used in the ad will show you the type of personality they’re looking for and if you are a good fit. You can only answer the question if you’re sure of the role and what’s expected of you.

3. Make lists, lists, and more lists

Take a moment to write down the qualities you like about the company and the job in question. Match them with your goals, and you’ll quickly see how well-suited you are for the position. Do something similar with core values but start with your own. If you find that you can’t identify with the company’s beliefs, you may be better off applying elsewhere.

Final thoughts

We’ve supplied some good answers for “Why do you want to work here?” so you’ll be prepared for it and other popular interview questions that may come up. Think of it as a chance to show how hard you worked in preparing for the interview and how passionate you are about the job. 

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