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Decoding the Job Interview Question: “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Among the multitude of questions that may emerge during a job interview, some can be quite straightforward yet deceivingly challenging. One such question, often underestimated by job applicants, is: “Why do you want to work here?”

While it appears to be a simple question, this query seeks a unique, authentic, and well-reasoned response. Similar to the enigmatic “Tell me about yourself,” it demands a concentrated answer without any assistance or indication from the interviewer. It presents an empty canvas, but that doesn’t mean one should impulsively splatter it with haphazard colors.

So, how does one tactfully answer, “Why do you want to work here?”

Drawing from my extensive background in human resources and being on both sides of the interview desk, I propose three fundamental strategies:

  • Display your genuine interest in the company’s product/service/mission.
  • Illustrate why you would appreciate the duties of the role.
  • Indicate how you envision yourself prospering in the position, backed by your skills and experience.

Let’s break down each approach and explore some potential responses that can guide your preparation.

1. Display your genuine interest in the company’s product/service/mission.

Businesses want assurance that you’re genuinely engaged with what they do. This interest could be associated with their product, service, mission, or brand. Additionally, linking your interest to the company’s core values can be impactful, demonstrating your alignment with the organization’s ethos. For non-profit roles, showcasing your enthusiasm for the mission is crucial, as it should resonate with your personal values.

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Conveying your enthusiasm can be tricky. As a useful tip, think about the ways your interest intertwines with different areas of your life. Using these examples can help you authentically express your passion. Remember, it’s not about staging dramatic theatrics, but about clearly conveying what genuinely matters to you.

Examples of responses:

“I’ve been a long-standing supporter of X because I believe in Y. Hence, I would love to contribute to an organization that shares these values.”

“X resonates strongly with me both professionally and personally, and it would be a privilege to work for a company that upholds the same principles.”

2. Illustrate why you would appreciate the duties of the role.

Productivity and job satisfaction tend to increase when employees enjoy their work. Highlighting why you appreciate the tasks associated with the role can communicate your dedication to potential employers. It’s not merely about stating that you enjoy X, but elaborating on why and how it brings you joy can make your answer more valuable.

Examples of responses:

“I take immense satisfaction in mentoring others – a passion that traces back to my tutoring days and the training I’ve undertaken in my previous roles. Therefore, I can see myself thriving in an L&D role.”

“Writing and editing have always been my strong suits. Given that these are integral aspects of this role, I am excited about the opportunity.”

3. Indicate how you envision yourself prospering in the role, backed by your skills and experience.

While you’re being hired for your current capabilities, recruiters are also interested in your potential growth. Confidence in your future success and progress in the role can leave a lasting impression. Use phrases that highlight how your past experiences have equipped you to excel in the role.

Examples of responses:

“Given my past experience in a similar role, I’m confident about excelling at engaging with our target consumers.”

“I thrive in collaborative environments, and I look forward to partnering with different departments to achieve our shared goals.”

Conclusion: Striking a Balance

The ideal response could entail a blend of all three strategies, provided the answer remains concise. Be as specific as possible for a more substantial impact. Generic or vague responses might appear inauthentic or even rehearsed.

Avoid discussing extrinsic motivations such as salary, perks, job title, remote working options, or that it was your only option.

Above all, remember that the best answer is not just about why you want the job, but why they should want you. Convey your passion, enthusiasm, and optimism with a dash of specificity to resonate with the interviewer’s expectations. Practice your response out loud before your next interview and ensure it reflects why they would want you on their team.

 

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