Many interview questions are familiar no matter what type of job you’re interviewing for. “Tell us about your past experience.” “Describe an obstacle you’ve faced in the workplace and how you overcame it.” “What are your professional goals?”
Other interview questions, however, can leave job seekers completely stumped. Often “Why do you want to work here?” is one of those questions that catches people completely off guard. And unfortunately it’s also one of the most critical questions to answer in a positive way. Say the wrong thing here and you may sound as though you’re really not serious about the job. Or, even worse, that you’ve given no thought at all to why you want to work for the company you’ve applied to.
But don’t despair. There are a few easy ways to prepare yourself for how to answer this sometimes tricky interview question.
Make a list of what you like about the company
Before you ever get to your job interview, do a little online research about the company and figure out a few things that you like about them. Maybe they seem to have a very tight knit community. Maybe it looks like an environment where you would learn a lot and develop new skills. Maybe it’s close to your home. Compiling a list of positive attributes will arm you with lots of reasons why the job appeals to that you can easily rattle off. Aim for at least 4-5 different list items, and try to find a good balance between the personal (i.e. close to my home) and the professional (i.e. opportunity to develop skills).
Tap into your network.
Get in touch with some of your contacts (friends, family, past co-workers) and see if anyone has any information about the company that they could share with you. That way, if you’re asked why you want to work for the company in question, you can reference a contact of yours who had positive things to say. This will go over even better if you’re able to indicate that your contact is a person whose opinion you value.
The “why do you want to work here?” question is also an excellent opportunity to subtly flatter your interviewer and play into their sense of pride in their work. You don’t want to be disingenuous, but there’s no harm in saying that you’ve found the interview process to be very professional and that it’s given you a very positive feeling about the company in general. Particularly if your interviewer has gone out of their way to make the hiring process organized and efficient, hearing that you’ve recognized their hard work will be a really nice personal touch.
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