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How To Answer "Why Do You Want to Work for Us?" in a Job Interview

May 12, 2021

To answer "why do you want to work for us?" effectively, you need to know about the company you're applying for. You should draw on the company's values, reputation, culture and the products and services they offer. In this article, we discuss how to answer the interview question "why do you want to work for us?", what to avoid when answering and provide some examples of good answers.

What to include in your answer "why do you want to work for us?"

Here's what to include in your answer to the question "why do you want to work for us?":

  • Speak about what the company does, its services and products and why you are interested in this.
  • Discuss the company culture in your answer and bring in the company's mission and philosophy.
  • Mention the company's successes and the challenges it faces.
  • Mention the development and training opportunities on offer, if applicable.

For best results, pick between 2 and 3 of the above topics and build your answer around them. Always avoid speaking about the benefits, bonuses or salaries in your answer.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

How to answer the question "why do you want to work for us?"

Follow these steps to answer the question "why do you want to work for us?" successfully:

1. Research the company you are interviewing for

The interviewer will notice if you haven't researched the company you're interviewing for a job with. You should check out their website, in particular, the "about" page. It's also good practice to search the company online to see if they have received any media coverage. Another area worth looking at is the company's job openings page.

2. Look at the Company's Social Media Profiles

Successful businesses often have a good online presence. Therefore, it is a good idea to scan their profiles for any news announcements regarding the company or industry. Alongside recent news, this can also give you useful insight into the company values and mission.

3. Analyse the job specification

Analyse the responsibilities of the role in the job description. By doing so, you will comprehend exactly what the position involves. If you do not have a good understanding of the potential role, it will prove challenging to encourage the interviewer that you are the perfect candidate for the job.

4. Align the role with your career goals

Identify the ways in which the position will help you achieve your career aspirations. A good practice is to speak about how the role will help you to achieve your professional goals in the interview. Additionally, speak about how the duties will enable you to take your career to the next level and utilise your many skills.

5. Think about what is important to you

When answering this question, it is a good practice to think about your personal values and align them with the business's values. You could mention the quality treatment of staff and how you would love to get involved in an organisation that arranges team-focused meetings and events.

Related: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Yourself'

Outline for answering "Why do you want to work for us?"

To help you in answering this question, here is an outline you can use as a reference point:

  • Begin your answer by mentioning the company for which you are interviewing for
  • Relate working for the company to yourself and some sort of personal interest, passion or experience
  • Close your answer by bringing it back to the company again

Your answer should highlight the level of research you have done on the company and you should be as specific as you can be about this information where possible. Remember, they are not asking why you want to work in this sort of job, they are asking why this company in particular. After all, when a recruiter asks you to describe your strengths or to tell them about you, they are looking for an answer in the context of the specific company you are interested in. You should also think about your broader career goals when answering the question.

The interviewers are searching for the reasons as to why you would fit well with the existing workforce of the company, either in relation to ongoing projects, the corporate culture or even how the company operates on a basic level. Additionally, they want to hear about your accomplishments and qualifications.

Related: Interview Question: 'What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?'

What to avoid when answering "why do you want to work for us?"

Here are some things you should avoid when answering "why do you want to work for us?" in an interview:

Don't mention the benefits

The last thing you want is for the business to think that you're only being encouraged by the benefits added to the role. Therefore, don't base your answer around the perks of the job such as a company car, salary and health insurance.

Don't Get Too Personal

Make sure you keep your answer focused on your professional reasons for wanting to work for the company. Avoid getting too personal with your answer to ensure that your interviewer sees you're focused on your career.

Don't give a generic answer

Avoid providing a generic answer which could apply to many different positions. Recruiters will clearly see if the answer has not been personalised to their company. A generic answer can make interviewers reconsider your sincerity and commitment to the job.

Answering without enthusiasm

When answering this question, it's important to try to present some enthusiasm to the interviewer. If you answer the question with little or no enthusiasm, the interviewer is unlikely to be convinced that you want the job. Employers are always looking for enthusiastic, positive and driven employees. You should always aim to present an enthusiastic and positive personality to employers.

Sample Answers

Below are some sample answers to help you when answering "why do you want to work for us?" during an interview:

Example 1

"I have worked in the media industry for over ten years. Throughout that time, I have gained a lot of experience in public relations and I hope to apply that knowledge and experience to a global organisation that is dedicated to its team.

I like working with others and am particularly happy that this position will enable me to utilise my communication skills to speak with customers across the globe. My goal is to rise to a leading position within public relations, and I hope that by having this opportunity to enhance my skills and further expand my experience, I can get closer to reaching this stage of my career."

Example 2

“Although your business has been established for many years, the company has never stepped away from its overall objective to provide clients with exceptional service. You have continuously been forward-thinking and made use of technology to help enhance the experience for your clients. You have won many awards within the industry. When I started my job search, I made the decision to apply for companies that are not afraid to adopt change, and integrate new services and systems. This is exactly what your company does."

Example 3

“I've used your skincare line for years and have always been impressed by the quality ingredients you use. A while ago, I had a problem and I contacted the customer support line. The person I spoke with was incredibly helpful and personable. From that point, I immediately thought this business would be an excellent place to work. Once I saw the opening for a job, I researched your company's culture and values and found that they were in line with my own."

Example #4

“This company's dedication to the development and growth of its team members impresses me. I'm looking for a business that challenges and empowers its team to constantly improve. Through researching your company, I've discovered that you are dedicated to educating your team members through education reimbursement, onsite training and mentorship programs and investment. In addition, the company has an incredible reputation for leadership within the industry. For the above reasons, I would be honoured to expand my career at your company.”

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