“So, why do you want to work here?”
“You replied to my application!”
Your joke falls flat.
“You’re the best brand out there and ever since I heard about you I wanted in!”
“OK, the truth is I need a job.”
The “Why are you interested in this position?” interview question is not an invitation to get cute.
Nor is it your cue to suck up to the employer.
And too much “honesty” will kill your chances of getting that job.
What’s the best answer then?
Why does it even matter?
This article will show you:
- A bulletproof formula for how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” and “Why are you interested in this position?” to land every job.
- Job-killing mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Sample answers you can tweak and use in your next interview.
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Here’s What They Actually Mean by “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
This interview question is one of the toughest, because your interviewers want to know two things:
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Why do you want this position?
And secondly, by asking “Why do you want to work here?” or “Why are you interested in this position?,” your hiring manager is looking to find out a lot about you:
- Are you really interested in this job, or are you going from one interview to the next?
- How much do you know about the organization, its competitors, the industry, and the requirements of your prospective position?
- What are your career goals and how well does the position match them?
Now, I know all this might sound overwhelming—
But to truly stand out from other interviewees, you’ll need to cover all of the above in your answer to “Why do you want to work here?”
Take heart. There’s an easy, proven formula. Read on, and we’ll break it down in 3 easy steps.
Start With Researching the Company and the Position
A good answer to the “Why are you interested in working for our company?” interview questions begins way before your interview starts.
Thorough research is the first, critical step—
This study revealed that as many as 3 out of 4 recruiters rank “poor preparation” as their biggest interview turn-off.
Yes, that means that there’s no one general “Why do you want to work here” answer template that you can use for any company.
You’ll need to personalize every reply to really stand out.
You’ll need to learn as much as you can about the business and show this knowledge off in your answer later.
Here’s what you should focus on in your research.
The Company Mission
Check out their website—pay close attention to the “About” section. Usually, it will include the company values, goals, as well as some history: how they started and how it has shaped them.
Then, ask yourself: “Why do I want to work here?”
- What aspects of the company mission resonate with you? Why?
- Maybe they’re related to something you’ve done in the past?
- Maybe you like something about the way they run their business?
- Maybe you find them inspiring because their mission is related to something personal that happened to you?
That’s right—now, note the answers down.
Primary Products or Services
You’ll be able to identify the primary product using similar methods. Check out the company website and social media profiles. Pay attention to the copy they use.
- What aspects of their products do they seem to be especially proud of?
- How does that resonate with you?
- In what ways do you find their products or services useful?
The Company Presence in the News
Again—a quick online search should do the trick. Google the name of the company and click “News” on the Google toolbar. For instance:
This will give you an idea of the company’s ongoing projects and current objectives, as well as potential challenges they might be facing and their biggest competitors.
In your “Why do you want to work here?” answer you’ll want to address what you’ve learned:
- What, in particular, excites you about their current projects?
- Are they in line with your professional experience and skills?
The Requirements of Your Future Position
After you’ve researched the company, think about the position you’re applying for.
Read the description from the job ad. Then read it again. Pay attention to the requirements and the duties you’ll be expected to perform.
- What makes you think you’ll do well with those duties?
- What about the position will feel rewarding for you?
- What skills and experience will you be able to translate into success in this role?
For more information on how to describe your motivation to join the company, visit our dedicated guide: What Motivates You? Sample Job-Winning Answers
Done with the research? Time to craft your perfect answer to the “Why do you want to work here?” interview question and see some sample “Why do you want to work here?” answers.
Begin Your Answer with Enthusiasm About the Company
Surprise! The “Why do you want to work here?” question isn’t about you.
It’s about them.
When asking why you want to work for a company, employers are actually saying “Please tell us why you are interested in this position and how you can make a difference.”
How to Answer “Why do You Want to Work Here?”—Why This Company
- Tell them what inspires you about their mission and values.
- Show off your knowledge about the company.
- Indicate how your expertise and skills would make you the perfect fit.
Keep in mind: it’s okay to be a little bit personal at this stage.
Alright, now it’s time to see some sample answers to “Why do you want to work here?”
Note: These sample answers below will refer to four different positions. If you need help with crafting your answer for a different position, let me know in the comments, I’ll give you some hints!
Why do You Want to Work Here Answer Sample—Nurse
“Why would you like to work here?”
“I recently came across an article about your hospital in The Los Angeles Daily Journal. I’ve learned that your Oncology Ward has been the first one in California to comprehensively tackle the problem of breakthrough pain experienced by patients. It immediately resonated with me, as for the past 7 years I’ve been working with NGOs and patient organizations on raising the public awareness of that common, yet not widely acknowledged malady.”
- The candidate immediately shows her knowledge about the organization.
- She points out that their mission is important to her and proves that with an example.
- She shows off her relevant experience that her future employer will surely benefit from.
Why Do I Want to Work Here Answer Sample—Corporate Banker
“And why would you like to work for U.S. Bank?”
“First of all, I’ve met a few people from here already: John Brown and Jennifer Smith, Associates from San Francisco, and Jim Doe, CTO in the Florida office. I’ve spoken to them about your current plans for further expanding into Asian market—since I minored in Oriental Studies, this is something I’m naturally interested in.”
See? A pitch-perfect answer.
- The candidate proves that she’s been proactive in learning about the company—recruiters won’t help but notice that kind of engagement.
- The candidate also shows that she’s comfortable with networking and uses name-dropping, a very useful technique in the banking and finance industry.
- She shows how her interests and education make her a perfect candidate for the role.
Pro Tip: Do your best to emphasize your soft skills in your answer. According to the Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, recruiters feel that modern job interviews often fail in assessing your soft skills. For reference, see the sample answer above—the candidate mentions his networking efforts that indicate her well-developed social skills.
Why Do You Want to Work Here Answer Sample—Copywriter
“Why do you want to work for us?”
“I first heard about Ogilvy during my freshman year in CUNY. One of our professors told us: ‘If you want to become good at real marketing, first thing you should do is pay close attention to what the Ogilvy team does.’ Ever since, I’ve been a devoted fan of your activities—and not just because you’re a household name. Your branding philosophy resonates with my core professional values. I believe brands without a strong identity are doomed. That what makes a truly great marketer is craftsmanship. And that one should always challenge the status quo.”
- The candidate uses interesting personal storytelling—especially fitting since it’s a creative role.
- He shows that he knows and understands the company values and mission and that they reflect the attitude he has.
Why Do You Want to Work Here Answer Sample—Hotel Groundskeeper
“Why do you want to work for this company?”
“I’ve always wanted to work for Hilton Hotels. With almost 100 years of tradition, Hilton has values and a mission I admire. For example, I’ve recently read the news that the company is willing to pay the full cost for team members to get their GEDs. I’d love to work for a company that promotes equal chances and cares about their employees’ development. Also, the name Hilton is universally associated with ideas of luxury, comfort, and quality. And that shows that Hilton is succeeding in its mission to be the most hospitable hotel chain in the world—I’d love to be part of an organization with that kind of reputation.”
- Like in one of the previous examples, the candidate refers to recent company news she’s read—this shows her engagement.
- She notices that the common perception of Hilton Hotels reflects the company mission and says that she’d be eager to join so reputable a company. If prestige is what motivates you—be straightforward about it. There’s nothing wrong in that.
Want to learn how to tackle other common job interview questions? Read: The Most Common Interview Questions & How to Answer Them
Alright. So you’ve learned how to say why you want to work for a company, in general. Time to get more specific.
Explain Why the Position Is a Perfect Fit for You
Employers want to make sure that you’re not just a good fit for the company, but also for the position. You have to prove that your interests match the job description.
Why? If you’re happy, they’ll be happy. Research shows that job-hopping is twice more common than it used to be 20 years ago. Hiring new employees is expensive. Happy employees stick around longer and are way more productive.
How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”
- Refer to the job description and tailor your answer to match the requirements.
- Say what excites you about the position in particular.
- Prove that you have the skills required to do well (it’s not really about your preferences, your employer’s profit always matters most).
- Show that it makes sense career-wise to join the company. Prove you’re actually making an investment.
Remember the candidates from the previous section and how they responded to “Why this company?”
Let’s see more examples on how they explained what interests them in the position.
Why Are You Interested In This Position Answer—Nurse
“Why this company? Why do you want this job?”
“For the past 7 years I’ve been working with NGOs and patient organizations on raising the public awareness of breakthrough pain—a common, yet not widely acknowledged malady. When I saw an opening for the Head Nurse of Clinical Oncology I knew it was an unparalleled opportunity to leverage my insights and expertise to help you further develop systematic methods for treating breakthrough pain—something that is important for me both professionally and personally.”
- The candidate shows that the position would allow her to further develop her professional interests.
- She also mentions her past experience that will help the employer in fine-tuning their organization.
Why Are You Interested In This Position Answer—Corporate Banker
“Why are you applying for this position?”
“I’d like to learn more about DCM. Having worked on debt crisis management at a government agency before, I’d like to see how debt financing works from the corporate perspective, while sharing my knowledge of the central side of things.”
- The candidate says that the position will help him get a new perspective on what interests him professionally—she clearly shows how the position matches the career path she’s chosen.
- At the same time, she indicates that her specific knowledge will also benefit the bank she’s applying to.
Why Are You Interested In This Position Answer—Copywriter
“What interests you about this position?”
“When I saw your opening for the copywriter position, the first thing that caught my eye was the diversity of the media I’d be working with: film, print, radio, outdoor, digital, BTL, and many more. I’m a storyteller and the stories I want to tell can’t be limited to using words on screen. Together with you, I want to help brands come to life. I believe this position will let me use all my creative skills to achieve that.”
- The candidate proves his application has been thoughtful—he mentions requirements from the job description and says they’d amount to an exciting challenge for him.
- He also explains how his attitude and work ethic matches the position he’s applying for.
Why Are You Interested In This Position—Hotel Groundskeeper
“Why are you interested in this job?”
“Hilton Hotel’s landscaping inspires me. That’s why I am interested in the position of Groundskeeper. Two years ago, I took an intensive 8-week course in Landscaping at the New York Botanical Garden. I have done projects inspired by your Pattaya, Thailand location. I would love the opportunity to do a bit of landscaping. Plus it would make me proud to tell people that I do groundskeeping and maintenance for Hilton.”
- The candidate clearly refers to the job description and mentions her Landscaping course as a strength.
- She reiterates her enthusiasm—says she’s been inspired by the company’s activities and that working for them would satisfy her on a personal level.
Some interview questions are harder to prepare for than "Why do you want to work here?" What do I mean? Situational interview questions. Luckily, we've got a dedicated guide that will show you how to ace these: 20 Situational Interview Questions and Answers to Nail Your Next Interview
So you’ve seen some great examples of “Why do you want to work here?” and “Why are you interested in this position?” answers.
For the final part, let’s go through some most common mistakes that could actually cost you the job of your dreams.
Common Mistakes You Have to Avoid—How Not to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
Trust me, I know a thing or two about it.
A couple of years ago, I got rejected after an interview with an e-commerce start-up only because I didn’t answer why I wanted to work there quite right.
“While we liked your application and were satisfied with the tasks you completed, we regret to inform you that we decided to proceed with another candidate. Your motivation to work at our company hasn’t been clear to us.”
That’s an actual feedback email I got some time after the interview.
What was my response to the dreaded “So—Why do you want this job” question?
Something along the lines of:
How Not to Answer Why Do You Want to Work for Us
“Why did you apply for this job?”
“I genuinely like your product—and that is rarely the case with my picky self. I’d be happy to be part of a team responsible for your online marketing. I know it would feel rewarding to me.”
To this day, whenever I think of this answer, I cringe.
What was so bad about it? Well… Pretty much everything:
- It was generic. Something anyone would say in any interview.
- It didn’t show I know a lot anything about the company.
- It lacked enthusiasm and was plain rude. “Umm… What you do is ok. And take that as a compliment because I hate most stuff.”
- It was focused only on my own expectations—just see for yourself how many times I used personal pronouns.
The good thing? I’ve learned a lot since that day.
Let’s see some more typical mistakes, so that you won’t ever repeat them.
Why Are You Interested in This Position—How Not to Answer
“Why did you apply for this job?”
“I’ve heard that your company offers great benefits—full medical and dental, paid paternity leave, and a lot of bonuses. I’ll be honest, that’s a strong motivation. But that’s not all. There are so many renowned specialists working for you! I’d love to be surrounded by people I can learn from.”
- Too much, too soon. We all know money matters, no need to highlight this. And—
- All me, no you. Wanting something out of a job is great, but not offering anything in return is a dealbreaker.
Why Are You Interested in This Position—How Not to Answer
“What interests you about this job?”
“I just love what Ogilvy does. Everything about it, really. You’re the most impressive marketing company in the world. Working for you… Oh God, I could die any day and still be fulfilled. Every day, I’d wake up with a sense of deep purpose in my life. I mean it. You’re a company to kill for. An ultimate dream employer.”
Alright. There’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and creepily obsessive. This candidate crosses that line. Such answer can only mean two things:
- You’re unstable.
- You’re faking.
One way or another—thanks, but no thanks.
For more great interview tips, techniques, plus Dos & Don'ts, see this beast of a guide: 50+ Successful Interview Tips, Guidelines, and Hacks
So there you have it—
Now you know how to answer the “Why do you want to work here?” and “Why are you interested in this position?” interview questions and how not to.
To ace every “Why do you want to work here/Why are you interested in this position?” question, keep in mind these key strategies:
- Research the company and the position before you go to the interview. Focus on their mission, values, competitors, and current challenges.
- Start by saying what makes you eager to join the organization.
- Highlight what aspects of the position you find most interesting.
- Show your interviewers how your skills and knowledge can benefit them.
- Tailor every answer. Never use a generic, copy-paste “Why do you want to work here?” answer template.
Got more questions on how to answer “Why do you want to work for us?” to land an offer after every interview? Would like to share your interview experiences? Give us a shout in the comments! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts—let’s chat!