You may think this question is all about you, but it’s not.
During a job interview, you may be caught off-guard if you’re asked, “Why do you want to work here?” After all, you’ve taken the time to apply and come in for an interview—isn’t your interest obvious? But it’s highly likely you’re going to come across this question at some point in your interview.
Interviewers like to ask this question to see if you’ve done your homework, says Jennifer Malach, founder of 20/20 Career Solutions in New York City.
Understanding the company's history, mission and vision will help you talk about how your education, skills and experience can add value in meeting the company's goals, she says.
These tips can help you put together an answer that will make you stand out.
Show that you’ve done your research
Ideally, you researched the company even before you applied, or at least before the interview, and now is the time to call upon what you learned, says Kansas City, Missouri-based career consultant Daniel Alexander Usera. By reviewing the company’s website and social media accounts, and reading news articles about the firm, you’ll be able to draw conclusions about the value you can bring to the position, whether it’s because the company’s mission matches yours, its culture is a good fit or you have a skill that the company needs.
You say: “I’ve always thrived at fast-growing companies like this one and I understand the challenges that high growth rates can bring to a sales department. It looks like sales have hit a plateau here and I'd love the opportunity to help ramp them up again.”
Provide specifics about your value
Find ways to go beyond “I would do a great job” or “I’m a good fit.” Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders near Baltimore, says when she was interviewing someone for a retail management position, she asked him to drive to the stores he would be overseeing and act like a customer. When
she asked him later why he wanted the job. he listed all the ways he could improve the customer experience based on his observations. “Then he added that’s what he’s passionate about—customer service. He got the job.”
While this won’t always be part of the formal recruiting process, you can still apply this concept in your interviews. Malach says one candidate she interviewed for an accounting manager position stood out by noting the company’s recent announcement that it was going public and would need a new set of accounting skills. The candidate then highlighted her applicable certifications and skills. “This demonstrated that she knew what value she could add to the existing accounting team during the company's transition,” Malach says.
You say: “I have a history of turning around underperforming teams and would love to be a part of refocusing Company X’s marketing efforts to increase the brand’s appeal to millennials. Boosting the company’s social media marketing would be my first step.”
Keep the focus on the employer
You may think this question is all about you. but like other questions in your job interview, it’s still really about what you can do for the employer. “Most candidates fall into answers related to culture or a lifelong dream to do this work. But the candidate that can move beyond an attractive culture or lifelong dream and put their skills into the context of a deliverable to the employer will move beyond other candidates,” says workplace culture consultant Steve Langerud, who is based in Grinnell, Iowa.
“Drill down on a key skill or deliverable that the employer needs and that you love to do. It is less important to the employer that you will love working there than the fact that you will get juiced by helping them improve their performance.”
You say: “Company X’s balance between strong growth and corporate stability make it an attractive place to build a career. My history of boosting team performance shows I would be a great fit and asset for the company.”