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A Common Interview Question You Should Be Prepared to Answer

Part of preparing for an interview is looking up common interview questions and knowing how you want to answer them. With 41% of workers planning to look for a new job in the next six months, hiring managers need to protect their open positions and avoid turnover by asking a very simple but sometimes hard-to-answer question.

So how should you respond when the interviewer asks why you want to work there?

Think about what the company wants to hear.

They want to know how you’ll add value to the position and organization. Your answer should communicate how your skillset and experience will lead to success. Study up on the company culture, any new initiatives and innovations it has, and challenges it’s experiencing. Recall and share previous successes you experienced in other positions and tie those into the current opportunity.

In comparison, you need to know what the company doesn’t want to hear and make sure you don’t lead with that, even if there might be some truth in the answer.

For example, coming up with a coined response like the following isn’t a good place to start.

I’ve been looking for a job for a while, and this one seemed appealing.
This is a great step in my career to move on to where I eventually want to be.

Any hiring manager wants to be the one who brings on a star employee. The type of candidate who is engaged, buys into the company culture, and exemplifies the organization’s values. So, when you break it down, there are 5 main ways to respond to the question, why do you want to work here?

  • I admire the company – Do your research and talk about the progress of the company and what it provides to the consumer. If the company is a startup, talk about its potential. Discuss why the company was created and how it matches your experience or professional desires.
  • I will provide a positive impact – Break this down specifically. Look at your experience, what you brought to the table for other employers, and explain how you could do the same for this company.
  • I agree with the company values – Share how your beliefs and professional mission tie into the values of this organization. Give tangible examples. For instance, if one of the values is integrity, explain how you exemplified this in a previous position or uphold it in your everyday life.
  • I fit in with the company culture – Look up the “About Us” page prior to an interview and see what the mission says or if testimonials give you any sort of insight into the culture of the company. Reviews are also a great way to figure out a company’s culture.
  • I like the way management leads – Through your research, are you able to determine if management supports professional development, a reward system, or mentorship opportunities on the job? Is leadership dictatorial, democratic, freewheeling, or transformational? From there, figure out which suits you and your professional growth best.

Have you heard this interview question before? If not, which have you heard most often and how did you respond? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How to Change Your Career or Industry?