HOW TO ANSWER: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

In this post, we’ll give you the full Big Interview guide to answering yet another one of the most common (and most critical) job interview questions: Why do you want to work here?

”So, why do you want to work here?” — if you’re looking for a new job, you’re very likely to hear this interview question at some point. Many candidates say this is the “dumbest question ever”, frustrating and seemingly useless. 

Still, it’s asked for a reason.

“Why do you want to work here?” and its sister questions like “Why do you want to work for us?”, “Why do you want to join this company?”, and “Why are you interested in this position?” are very important to hiring managers for a number of reasons. It may help them figure out if you’re a culture fit, or understand your motivations in applying for the job and whether you’re likely to stay in the role for a while.

When preparing an answer to this question, there are two important angles to consider: ‘Why do you want to join this company?’ and ‘Why are you interested in this position?’ Combining the answers to these two will give you the complete answer you’ll use in an interview. 

Answering “Why Do You Want to Work for This Company?”

The hiring manager is looking for someone who will fit in at the company and enjoy working there.

A good answer will demonstrate your knowledge of the company and industry. That means you must do your homework so that you can identify specific reasons for wanting to work there.

These reasons could include one or several of the following:

  • Company’s general reputation
  • Key leaders’ reputation 
  • Admiration of products/services
  • Admiration of other company initiatives (marketing campaigns, community involvement, training programs)
  • Company’s culture and values
  • Company’s growth/success

You can probably think of other reasons that would also work. Please note: “It’s close to my house” and “I need the money” are not good reasons.

Don’t overlook the importance of cultural fit. You can find out a lot about the culture of a company before the interview. Many firms are proud to advertise the kind of culture they’re trying to create. If you feel it aligns well with your own preferences and abilities, make it clear in the interview.  

Common mistakes: “Why do you want to work for this company?”

  • A too-general answer that could apply to any company. Many job seekers make this mistake. They say something like, “It’s a great company and I’d love to work there.” That’s nice, but it’s also not very memorable.
  • An uninformed answer that shows you haven’t done any research. The worst thing you can do is demonstrate that you don’t even know what the company does — or that you only have a vague idea and expect the interviewer to fill you in.
  • An unenthusiastic answer that makes the interviewer wonder if you really want the job. You want to convince the interviewer that you are excited about the idea of working for their company. Avoid an answer like “I heard there were some open positions, so here I am.” 

Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company: Sample Answers

Sample answer #1:

“Well, the JP Morgan reputation is certainly a factor. I would be proud to build a career with JP Morgan, a company with such a long history of leadership in the industry.Also, a good friend of the family has been working in corporate finance at JP Morgan for the last two years and he told me that the culture supports learning and development on the job – and really rewards hard work. These are values I also share and feel I could be an excellent fit with JP Morgan. ”

Why we like it:

In this case, the candidate is interviewing for a job with JP Morgan, a very well-known firm. In a situation like this, the tendency for many candidates is to basically answer, “Well, it’s JP Morgan. Duh.” In today’s job market, that’s not going to be enough to set you apart from other candidates, even if your resume is stellar.

This sample answer addresses the JP Morgan brand and history but also demonstrates that the candidate took the time to do some additional research through their network. The answer goes on to emphasize the candidate’s values, strong work ethic, and the wish to develop in their role.

Sample answer #2: 

“I saw an article in Business Week about your new CEO John Jacobs and the firm’s renewed focus on technology innovation. I consider myself an innovator and I would love to work for an organization that’s leading the future of the industry.”

Why we like it:

It’s smart to seek out recent press on any company that interviews you. In this case, the candidate found an article about the firm’s new CEO. Quoting it makes them sound smart, prepared, and interested.

They also single out the bit from the article about innovation and articulate that this is a shared value. It doesn’t hurt that they compliment the firm as a leader in the industry. A little flattery can be effective — just be careful not to cross the line.

Sample answer #3: 

“I’ve been following your company’s work on data protection for a while. My expertise in cybersecurity and your dedication to keeping your customers’ data safe made me realize we share the same values and we might be a perfect fit.

I already have several ideas on the Web Application Firewall you recently launched a blog about, and I’d be excited to discuss them with your team.”

Why we like it:

The candidate emphasized they share the same values as the company, which is the basis for a successful collaboration. In addition, they’ve been keeping up with the company’s blog and are experienced enough to contribute with concrete ideas. They seem to be proactive and ready to take the lead, which is also a plus.

Sample answer #4:

“Your brand is very strong and I admire the culture you’ve developed. Your employees have built a great reputation by posting informative and actionable pieces on LinkedIn. I’d be thrilled to work with a group of experts who share their knowledge selflessly and I’m sure it would be of immense help when it comes to fine-tuning my own skills.”

Why we like it:

This is an example of a candidate who’s been following the company for a while and is already familiar with the brand and employees. Their answer also indicates that they’re a team player and they wish to perfect their skills — and employees who constantly grow and develop are every company’s dream.

How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

So you love the company and you can prove it. But you must also be prepared to speak about the position and answer a question like why should they hire you.

Ask yourself: What is appealing about this job? Why did you respond to the job description?

You must be able to discuss what excites you about the role. After all, every manager wants to hire someone who will love the work required and be committed to doing a great job.

A great answer will also allow you to sneak in information about your expertise. While the interviewer wants to know why you are attracted to the job, he’ll be even more interested in hearing about how you can contribute to the company with your knowledge and experience.

Bottom line: Companies like to hire people who will be good at the job – and enjoy what they do. Clearly communicate both your interest and ability.

Common mistakes: “Why are you interested in this position?”

Again, we see similar mistakes when answering this second part of “Why do you want to work here?”:

  • A too-general answer that could apply to any position. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re only interested in this job because it’s available. Compare job interviewing to dating (hopefully, dating is at least a little bit more fun for you). No date wants to hear, “You were the only one who would go out with me.” It’s the same with job interviews. You have to woo the company and talk about why the position was made for you.
  • An unenthusiastic answer that makes the interviewer wonder if you really want the job. Don’t play it too cool. You want to give some detail about why you would enjoy the work and how the job fits into your goals. This is particularly important if the job represents even a slight career shift or a step up to more responsibility.

Sample answers: “Why are you interested in this position?”

Sample answer #1:

“I feel that my proven track record leading multi-functional teams makes me an excellent match for the job requirements. Also, the role excites me because I love the idea of helping to develop cutting-edge software products and I know I could start delivering results from Day 1.”

Why we like it:

This answer manages to sell the candidate while addressing what they like about the job. They lead with the fact that their experience makes them a great fit for the job requirements. They continue by stating that the role excites them. This is good. Don’t be coy about whether you want the job or not. Show some enthusiasm.

Sample answer #2:

“My 6-year-long experience in tech recruitment makes me the perfect candidate because I already know the ins and outs of the hiring process. People are what makes a company great and I’d be more than happy to assemble a team of top-notch developers for your business. I also like the fact that you support internal promotion, which could help me become an HR team leader down the line, which has always been my goal.”

Why we like it:

This is an experienced candidate who knows exactly what a company needs and how to make it happen. They also show the right attitude by putting people first. In addition, they display the ambition to move up the ladder in the future, and it’s always good to have determined and proactive people on the team.

Sample answer #3:

My insatiable curiosity and problem-solving skills make me a great developer. I’m fully proficient in several coding languages. So far, I’ve worked on software development in the trucking industry but I’m looking to switch to something more sophisticated. Also, I’ve been using your app for several months and it’s served me well – so I’d like to be on the back-end side of things. Overall, I think I’d really enjoy working in your company.

Why we like it:

The candidate is concise and straightforward. They want to take on more responsibility and complexity, which is why they’re open about changing industries. Bonus points for using the company’s app and being familiar with the user experience! This knowledge will help them immensely once they’re hired and settled.

Sample answer #4:

As a sales associate, I helped my company increase its revenue by 30% in 2021. In addition, my conversion rate for the month of June 2022 was 25%. I’d say understanding customers and knowing the product is the perfect formula for any great salesman. And because I like and believe in your product, I’ll be able to deliver even better results for your company.

Why we like it:

Saying it is good. But backing it up with data is even better. This candidate is all about numbers — he lets them prove his hard skills. He also lists his secret ingredients to success, which can help interviewers understand his approach to work and get a sense of how this person may perform in the future.

Your Best “Why Do You Want This Job” Answer

Once you’ve considered the two angles we mentioned (Why this company and why this role), it’s time to wrap everything up nicely and create the answer that will amaze your interviewer.

You’ll need to combine the two answers and deliver them confidently. This means an informative answer with no restless movement, no umms, and no awkward pauses.

It can be really hard to think about what you want to say and remember everything you’ve learned about answering well while also trying to pay attention to your body language, pace of speech, and everything else.

This is why it’s critical that you practice what you’re going to say by planning it out first.

This doesn’t mean memorizing a script—that’s never a good idea. It will make you sound stiff, robotic, and likely not genuinely interested.

Instead you’ll want to map out your answers with bullet points. These bullet points should cover the gist of what you want to say, but it allows you to say it organically and a little differently each time.

You can put your bullet list together in a notepad or Word document, but it can also be really useful to use a tool like Big Interview’s Answer Builder.

The Answer Builder is a nifty tool that walks you through how to build your answers using our fool-proof 4 step method (read our Ultimate Guide to Answering Job Interview Questions for more on this method).

You’ll be able to view Sample Answers right in the builder, as well as read tips on the best way to structure your answer to really impress.

why do you want to work here

You can save your answers to return to again and again for reference until you are 100% confident in what you want to say.

You can then go directly into practicing with our Mock Interview Practice Tool and get instant AI Feedback that will give you a custom-made report that will show you how to improve.

Let’s now take a look at good examples of complete answers that combine Why do you want to work for this company and Why do you want to work in this position.

why do you want to work here

Sample answer #1:

“Well, I have great respect for your company’s software products and I would welcome the opportunity to work with the best in the business. At the same time, I have friends in the industry who have told me about your company’s respect for employees and how you create a great environment for rewarding innovation. I think my proactive style would fit in really well here — especially in this particular role.”

Why we like it:

This answer addresses both the organization and the role. The candidate compliments the products, the employees, and the work environment. They then talk about how their working style would fit in well. He could also add one last line about WHY his style would benefit this role in particular.

Sample answer #2:

“My academic background and numerous writing courses directed me towards content writing. I feel that this position is a natural step forward in my career and I’ll give my best to contribute and grow together with the company. Even though I don’t have much corporate experience, my work ethic sets me apart and I believe the HR industry is the perfect place for me to grow into a world-class expert. In addition, I have so much to learn from the senior writers on your team and I’m sure I’ll remember that experience forever.”

Why we like it:

This is an answer by someone who is just starting out and shows enthusiasm and teachability. Even without much experience, the candidate talks about their transferable skills and shows eagerness to develop, which is perhaps their greatest asset. It’s often heard that companies should hire for soft skills because hard skills can always be taught — and this is especially true with juniors who are looking to enter a company. We love this candidate’s ambition.

Sample answer #3:

“Your app was one of the tools we used at my previous company and I always liked its functionalities and the fact that it’s easy to use. When I saw the job opening in your company, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me. I have the skill set you need and I believe I would fit in perfectly. Additionally, the reviews on Glassdoor convinced me you value your employees, and that’s the kind of company I’d love to work for.”  

Why we like it:

This candidate is not a stranger to the company they applied for — they’re already a user, which would make their transition much easier. In addition, they researched the company online and checked out employee reviews, which is a great way to take a sneak peek into the company culture. They finished off with a little compliment, which can go a long way.

Sample answer #4:

“I’m a detail-oriented person with integrity. I’m not afraid to push back on initiatives if things are not perfect, and I think that makes me a great QA. I’ve also heard a lot of great things about your Dev and QA teams from an acquaintance who works for you and I love the fact that the projects are internal, not outsourced. I’d be thrilled to join you and work on interesting initiatives.”

Why we like it:

The candidate succinctly describes their skills and work ethic and how they make them good at what they do. They also mention insider information about the company culture and teams, which shows that they did their homework and asked around before applying. Their answer is concluded by stating how interested they are, and showing enthusiasm makes them stand out.

Why Do Interviewers Ask “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Now that we covered the approaches to answering this question, let’s go back to the core of this question.

Why is this question asked in the first place?

It’s simple: recruiters want to know if you did the homework before the interview. They’d like to:

  • Learn about your career goals and how this position fits into your plan
  • Make sure that you are sincerely interested in the job and will be motivated to perform if hired
  • Find out what you know about the company, industry, and position (and if you took the time to research)
  • Understand your priorities and preferences — which aspects of the company and/or job are appealing to you and why?

You must approach each part of the question differently, and you’ll need to build the foundation for your answers by researching the company.

How to research the company

Besides sharing more about your own career goals and motivations, your answer to “Why do you want to work here?” will need to show that you’re familiar with the company you’re interviewing with.

If you already know all about the company and why it’s a good match for you, you can skip this part and go practice your answer. For everyone else, here are some tips for researching any company.

The company website

Start with the company website. This may seem like an obvious approach, but you have to take the time to actually do it.

A good website covers everything from the company history to the mission statement to product lines to the latest awards and accomplishments. Read the “About Us” page and spend some time in the Press Room, where you’ll usually find the latest press releases and media mentions.

Read the company blog if they have one. Next, sign up for any newsletter offered and check out the company’s social media presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)

You’ll also want to check out the “Careers” section. Some firms provide extensive information about the hiring process on their sites  — including job profiles and sample interview questions.

Media coverage

Although company websites can tell you a lot, you can learn even more with a broader Google search.

Look for recent articles about the company in the mainstream press and industry publications. These articles can also provide useful information about the latest trends in the industry and how the company compares with competitors.

Your network

Your network (or LinkedIn account) may be your most valuable research source. Reach out to trusted contacts in your network for information. A search on LinkedIn can quickly reveal who you know at the hiring company (or who you know who knows somebody). Look for those currently at the firm and those who worked there in the past.

An “inside contact” can provide priceless data and can even serve as an advocate (if you’re lucky and have been nurturing your relationships).

Don’t just rely on LinkedIn. You can also ask around to determine if any trusted contacts (former colleagues, professors, etc.) have a connection to the firm.

Conclusion

On the surface, “Why do you want to work here?” may seem like a simple question. Why would you be subjecting yourself to the interview if you didn’t want the job?

However, many job seekers have lost offers based on how they answered this question. The interviewer just didn’t feel they were as motivated as their competition.

This topic is guaranteed to come up in every interview, so use our advice to make the most of your answer and close the deal on the job. And if you’re feeling a bit rusty, read about our training program and practice tools – they will help you be prepared and feel confident during your next interview.

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