How to Answer, “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” in a Job Interview

How to Answer Why Do You Want to Work Here in a Job Interview

So you’ve made it past the initial application round – and it’s time for your interview. There are many questions that you can anticipate being asked but one that will almost certainly be asked of you – is “Why do you want to work here?” 

Understandably, this can be a bit of a tough question because your immediate reaction might be, “I need a job and you’re hiring.” If it’s a really “popular” company to apply to, you might be tempted to say, “Who wouldn’t want to work here?” Of course, you’re not going to say either of those things (right?), and honestly, if it’s a job you really want, you know you have a deeper answer than that.

So how exactly do you answer the question then? How do you express why you want to work there, in both a strategic and authentic way, that is true to you, and gets them excited to have you onboard?

With a bit of research, self-reflection, and authenticity, you’ll be well on your way to landing that role! 

Align with the Company Values

Your first step should be to understand the mission of the company. The mission of the company is found beneath the surface of what they do – it is the why behind it all. You’ll likely have to go through their website, use google, and reviews to figure out what that mission is (or at least, something they do well.)

For this article, I’ll use my own experiences with Indigo as an example. Indigo (or Chapters) is largely known as a bookstore, but their mission though isn’t to sell books. Their mission at the heart of everything they do is to bring joy into people’s lives and to use storytelling to get there. When I told them (in my cover letter and in my interview) why I wanted to work there, I talked about my passion for storytelling, and inspiring others, and how that connected with Indigo. 

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Work with your Career Goals

You also have to understand your own career goals. Your goals may not involve specifically working at the company you’re applying to but consider the aspects of their mission that ties into your own goals.

For example, a big goal of mine is to be a storyteller whether that be through my social media, someday a podcast, book, YouTube channel, etc., and in a lot of ways, I can practice that at Indigo. Also, make sure to talk about what you’re passionate about in your answer – and how that connects to what they’re doing at that company. Tell them how you (and your passion) are going to improve the company and drive them forward into more success (and believe that you will!)

Don’t Forget Culture

It’s also important to understand the work culture as best as you can – and tie that into what you would like in a workplace. This will require a bit of research on your part, but it’s also so important for your own understanding. A workplace that fits your personality, work style, and overall lifestyle is key to it being a fit for both you and them.

Let’s say you are applying to a start-up and you know that you thrive in a fast-paced environment and like to wear many hats – say that in your answer. You might say, “I am so excited about the potential to work in a fast-paced environment that allows me to try and learn new things and gives me the chance to approach problem-solving creatively daily basis.”

For me, I really loved the idea of working alongside others who were equally as passionate about books and providing a great experience to customers in what is my personal happy place.

Be Honest and Authentic

It can be easy to put together a generic answer that ticks of all the boxes they might be looking for, but it’s important to go beyond that. Be honest about why you think this job/company would be a great fit and use the above considerations as a guide for that. Focus on what you are excited about and be enthusiastic in the ways that you and the company could grow together. Your genuine approach will get noticed and will stand out when others give a cookie-cutter response.

In short, answer the “Why do you want to work here?” question by telling them how the mission of their company is aligned with your goals, values, passions, and skills. Show them how your excitement for the elements you’re most looking forward to will be of value to their company – and let that enthusiasm shine!

Are you looking to learn how to ace your next interview? Book an Interview Prep Meeting with Christie to hone in on your approach.

By Jenna Yeomans – Jenna is a freelance community manager and writer in Hamilton, ON with a passion for storytelling, creativity and supporting small businesses.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock