How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” at Interview
Why do you want to work here? Why are you interested in this position? Why do you want this job? Learn how to answer these tricky questions right and excel at your next interview.
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Every question recruiters and hiring managers ask during the interview is supposed to eliminate you from the pack because they’re looking for just the right one.
And when you hear something like “Why do you want to work here?”, it’s not an invitation to get all cute. It’s a tool for weeding out the candidates who applied for all the wrong reasons.
Want to stay in the game? Then it’s just the right article for you.
This guide will show you:
- How not to get caught off guard by Why do you want to work here?
- How to best answer the Why are you interested in this position? type of question at an interview.
- Sample answers to Why do you want this job? to inspire you.
- What not to say when you’re asked why you want that job.
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Looking for advice on how to answer similar questions? Here’s a selection of guides to help you out:
- Why Should We Hire You?
- What Are You Passionate About?
- What Are Your Weaknesses?
- What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
- 40 Top Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Learn the Why's
The only way to answer any interview question meaningfully is to know the motivations behind it. If you don’t, you risk giving an irrelevant answer and missing the opportunity.
“Why do you want to work here?” may seem so obvious that it doesn’t warrant any answer at all. After all, doesn’t everyone want to work somewhere to have a job?
Well, that’s definitely not what the hiring manager wants to hear. Moreover, there’s a very typical mistake that applicants make when they answer such questions.
Generic answers along the lines of
- “I would like to earn more.”
- “I like your company and the products it offers.”
- “I know how to do the things listed in the job ad.”
…will most likely leave recruiters underwhelmed. Your answer to Why do you want to work for us? never has to be just about you—it has to cover how the company will benefit from having you on board.
How you answer the question will show the recruiter three main things:
- Why you’re interested in joining this company rather than any other: do you really want this job, or is it just another interview for you?
- What you find interesting about the job you’re pursuing: did you do your research? How much do you actually know about the organization, its competitors, the industry, and the requirements of your prospective position?
- How you can contribute to achieving the company’s goals: are your career objectives aligned with the direction in which the organization is going? Can you bring value?
You need to make sure your answer covers all of the above.
Now that you’ve established what the question is all about, let’s find out how you can actually get ready to answer it.
For more information on how to describe your motivation to join the company, visit our dedicated guide: What Motivates You? Sample Job-Winning Answers
Do Your Homework
There’s always a tiny little chance that you’ll wow the recruiter without any preparation. But do you really want to entrust your professional career to chance?
You must research the company extensively if you’re serious about getting the job. Where do you start?
1. Visit the Company Website
Pay close attention to the “About” section. Usually, it will include
- Company values
- Their goals and vision
- Something about their team and their history: how they started and how it’s shaped them.
Then, ask yourself: “Why do I want this job?”
Note down the aspects of the company mission that resonate with you. Maybe you like something specific about the way they run their business? Perfect, that’s part of your answer.
2. Read About Their Products and Services
Check out their social media profiles if there’s no dedicated section on the website. Pay attention to the language they use, and jot down information on what aspects of their products or services they’re especially proud of.
Is this something you can relate to? Do you find their products or services useful?
3. Check the Latest News About the Company
Google the company's name and click “News” on the Google toolbar right under the search box.
That will give you an overview of the company’s ongoing projects and current objectives, as well as potential challenges they might be facing and their biggest competitors.
4. Revisit the Job Posting
Reread the description from the job ad. Pay attention to the requirements and the duties you’ll be expected to perform.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes you think you’ll do well with those duties?
- How will the position feel rewarding to you?
- What skills and experience will you be able to translate into success in this role?
Once you’re done with the research, you can move on to deciding how to answer Why are you interested in this position? based on your findings.
A special technique will help you nail any job interview question. In this guide, you’ll learn how to use it to your advantage: STAR Method Technique: Interview Questions & Answers
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Craft Your Answer
Now that you know the reasoning behind the question, you’ve investigated the company through and through, and you know exactly how your skills match the position—
You’re ready to craft your answer.
Based on what we’ve established in previous chapters, your answer to Why do you want to work for this company? can follow this three-step formula:
- What you know about the company and the position
- What inspires you about their mission and values
- How your expertise and skills can boost the company's performance
Here’s what a professional recruiter has to say about how she evaluates the candidates’ answers to the question:
I always expect candidates to show me how their skills can help further our mission. And I want them to go beyond simply reciting their skills—think bigger than just the specific requirements of the position. Good candidates can draw connections between past experiences (personal or professional) and the mission of our organization. But I’ve noticed that those who tell personal anecdotes when drawing these connections tend to stand out more. They are able to pinpoint something specific in their life that led them to the industry or to applying with our organization. It gives a unique insight into the candidate that interviews sometimes fail to provide.
Now, let’s have a look at some sample “Why are you interested in this position” answers. The best way to prepare a great answer is to see what good examples look like and spin yours on this basis.
Why Do You Want to Work Here—Sample Answer for Retail
I’ve been interested in fashion since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to bring that passion into my work. Accessories from ABC have been my favorite for many years—they actually led me to discover the philosophy of mindful design and high-quality fabrics. I’m familiar with most of your seasonal product lines that came out since 2008, and so far, I’ve even managed to turn five of my friends into your loyal customers! When I saw there was an opening for a retail assistant position, I knew I had to apply. With my previous retail experience and my firm belief in your products’ superior quality and timeless design, I’m sure I’ll be a great fit.
Why does this answer work?
- The candidate displays their knowledge about the organization.
- They highlight their understanding of the company’s products and mission.
- They show how their passion drives them and aligns with the company’s own values.
Why Are You Interested in This Position—Sample Answer for an Internship
Why wouldn’t anyone be? Your company has a reputation for being a strong market leader—after all, you’re in the latest issue of Forbes! I’m interested because I know you seek the best people for Convex, internship candidates included, and I’ve put maximum effort into my studies to become someone you’ll consider.
You define success as “where the willingness to learn and skill to make impactful decisions meet,” and I assure you, I fall squarely into the definition. My high GPA testifies to my dedication to learning, and the real-life success of my student projects proves my ability to make an impact. I would love to use this internship opportunity to grow among experts such as you and to contribute whatever I can to help the company find optimal solutions to its current business needs.
Why does this answer work?
- The candidate doesn’t just show they know the industry and the company but is also up-to-date with the latest news about the company.
- The answer proves that the candidate’s experience and achievements align with the company’s expectations.
- Finally, it emphasizes that the applicant would like to contribute to solving problems, not just learn new things.
Why Do You Want to Work for Us—Sample Answer for Banking
Besides really wanting to join the most innovative team in the industry, I am curious to learn about how DCM operates daily. Having worked on debt crisis management at a government agency before, I’d like to see how debt financing works from a corporate standpoint. I am certain my knowledge of the central side of things will bring a fresh perspective, and I’m excited about the challenge of translating my expertise into a new environment.
Why does this answer work?
- The candidate says that the position will help them get a new perspective on what interests them professionally, clearly showing how the position matches their chosen career path and enthusiasm.
- At the same time, the applicant indicates that their specific knowledge will also benefit the bank they’re applying to.
The last example is different, as it will show you what NOT to do:
How Not to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
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 makes a strong motivation! My previous job didn’t have those; that was one of the reasons I left. 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. Plus, I just love everything about your company. That’s why I applied in the first place.
What’s wrong with this answer?
- The entire answer is very generic. If you think about it, it doesn’t really say anything of the essence about the company or the candidate. While it’s clear that the candidate is interested, it’s unclear why they need to be hired in the first place.
- Too much, too soon. The money is important, but you have to “bring out the goods” before you start talking about what’s in it for you. This answer only focuses on the candidate's value, not what the candidate has to offer.
By the way, talking about your salary is an essential part of any job interview. Salary negotiation just usually happens when all the cards are on the table, and the propositions from both sides are clear.
And just like that, you know how to explain why you want the job and impress the hiring manager.
Your interest in the new position matters. But so do the reasons why you left your previous post. Learn how to answer this difficult question gracefully: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? (Answers + Good Reasons)
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
Let’s recap. Here’s what we know about approaching questions like Why do you want this job?:
- Why do you want to work here? and all its permutations gauge your knowledge of the company and motivation to work there.
- To answer most effectively, you need to prepare yourself by researching the company, studying the job ad, and linking that to your unique skills and talents.
- The best answers prove that you understand the company’s mission, know its products and services, and that your skills will be of value to the company itself.
- The worst answers are generic and focus only on what you want vs. what you can give the company.
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