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How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” in a Job Interview

The Job Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

There are several questions you can reasonably expect to be asked during your job interview, no matter the field: “What are your weaknesses?” “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” and “Why do you want to work here?” This last one might not always come up, but it’s still a very common question. If you struggle to answer the question of “why do you want to work here”, it could give the interviewer the impression that you really aren’t interested in their company. 

We spoke to Senior Account Executive Jamie Davis who has over 18 years of staffing experience to learn why it’s important to have a good answer prepared and how to answer “why do you want to work here?” 

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here”

This is one of the more in-depth questions an interviewer can ask. Unlike “Tell me about yourself?” and “What’s your experience with XYZ?”, the interviewer is trying to learn why the company or position is a good fit for you. The question carries more weight when you consider that employers are currently dealing with a labor shortage

The key to coming up with a great answer to why you want to work here is to connect yourself to the company, position, or its mission. Be sure to read up on the company and its mission statement, which are often found on their website. Then think and connect it back to your resume and goals — does the company’s commitment to renewable energy resonate with your background in sustainability? Are they known for having a positive impact on society and you want to get involved?

Davis explains why doing some research can help you craft the best answer to “why do you want to work here” and it can help you land the job.

“It demonstrates your interest in the job. As a potential candidate I recommend that you do your due diligence in preparation for an interview. Yes, our team at Aerotek will help with interview preparation for our candidates but you should always do a little research on your own — investigate the company, know what they do, know their mission, and be prepared to discuss it. To truly create a connection, you will need to know what the company stands for and how their values align to your own,” says Davis.

“Why Do You Want to Work Here” Examples of What Not to Say

From the interviewer’s point of view, this is arguably the most important question for deciding if you’re a good fit for the job. Especially if this is an interview for a long-term position. They want to know you’re interested in the job and company for the right reasons.

“The question gives the candidate a chance to match their skills to the company. I would recommend tying this question back to the company mission/values to show how you will be an asset to the company,” says Davis.

There are several — admittedly honest — things you can say that could be very off-putting to an interviewer. Here are examples of those: 

“I really need the job.” 
Employers want to know why you’re interested in them out of all the other companies. This answer implies that you’re looking at other companies and doesn’t tell them anything about why this job stands out to you. The lack of specific interest could be off-putting.

“It seems like a good company/job to work for.”
Yes, but why? This answer is very generic, but most importantly, it doesn’t explain why this job is of interest to you. Because of that, it comes off as lazy to the interviewer. Therefore, it’s very helpful to research the company in advance.

“Because the salary is great.”
According to our recent Job-Seeker Survey – pay is the most important factor when trying to find a new job. However, that’s not exactly what an employer wants to hear since you could find a job that pays even better as soon as they hire you. Instead, focus on what makes you an asset to the company. 

“It’s a great opportunity!”
This one is a little cliché — avoid it, especially for long-term positions. If you only frame the job as a learning opportunity or chance to bolster your career or resume, the interviewer will interpret this as you only having a short-term interest before you decide to move on to something else. 

Davis also recommends avoiding focusing solely on yourself.

“Try to avoid reasons that focus solely on you. During this time try to stay focused more on culture/mission/values and not salary/hours/commute/benefits. Remember to focus on how you can benefit the company and not only how the company or job can benefit you. Wait until you receive a job offer and then you can negotiate,” says Davis.

“Why Do You Want to Work Here” Best Answers 

Davis suggests answering the question to let the interviewer know about your long-term intentions.

“I recommend that you let the company know that you believe this opportunity is a way for you to enhance your skills and knowledge while contributing and working in an exciting industry. You should come prepared with concrete examples from your past and be able to speak to how those skills align with the specific company and role,” says Davis.

Additionally, here are some general ideas and thoughts that can help you answer the question and secure the job offer. 

“I’m passionate about the mission of your company.” 
If you can connect the mission to you, this is a great answer. It will come off as genuine and prepared, and some enthusiasm will likely spill over into your voice or body language, which is a great thing. 
“I’m excited to be a part of your company’s work culture, because ___”
Talking about a company’s work culture is a very safe answer if you can elaborate on it. Does this company offer flexibility? Encourage innovation? Emphasize teamwork? Explain why you’d be a good fit for their team, and help the interviewer imagine you being a part of it. 

“I would enjoy the opportunity and responsibility of the position/company.” 
If you enjoy the responsibilities, you’re more likely to succeed at them. If you can explain your interest in the responsibilities and why you’d be good at them, as well as the long-term opportunities it provides, this is a very good answer. 

The question “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” has tripped up many people. It’s a question interviewers use to weed out disingenuous candidates, and it’s very effective. Using the tips and advice above should help you answer the question with confidence.

When you’re ready to find work that matches your skills and goals — visit our job board