It’s the question you know will come: ‘Why do you want to work here?’ That question can be quite difficult to answer, especially if you are not prepared for it. A shame because there’s a reason it’s always asked: for employers, this is perhaps the most important question they can ask.
The question can come in different forms. Why do you want to work here? What attracted you to the vacancy? Why did you apply for this position? We can think of three examples. But no matter how it is put, one thing is certain: the interviewer will ask it. Then you better prepare well.
Why do they ask the “Why do you want to work here?” question
Before we look at how best to formulate your answer, it’s helpful to know why employers say, “Why do you want to work here?” actually ask.
The purpose of this question is often to check whether an applicant has done their research about the company well and whether the applicant’s expectations match the actual job. But the interviewer is also curious about your ambitions and how you think this position will fit in.
Of course, when candidates feel like they’ve applied at random or that they need a job to pay their rent and bills, they don’t win over candidates who, for example, show they believe in the company’s mission. Everyone has to pay their bills. You want to give a reason that is specific to the company or the position.
Most people will be aware of this. How do you distinguish yourself from other candidates?
“Why do you want to work here?” reply
Below we discuss which aspects should be included in your answer anyway.
Your knowledge of the company
Before the job interview, it is important to do good research about the company. You do this by, among other things, reading news items about the company, checking the company’s social media accounts (and the reactions of customers), and scanning the website.
The ‘About us’ and ‘Working at’ pages are especially interesting. But of course, it is also important to know the products and services well. And if the website has a blog, that’s also a good way to learn more about the company’s views.
You can then mention the company’s social commitment, the prizes won, marketing campaigns, training programs… Whatever you can find and attract you to this employer.
Your knowledge of the position
Then you can start making a list of reasons why you are the right person for the job. How can you help the business succeed? Which knowledge and skills of yours are useful in this position? Of course, you can also include your knowledge of the company on this list.
Your ambitions and work experience
Finally, it is important to mention your experience and ambitions in your answer. So now is a good time to think about your career goals and how this role would fit into them. Show that you want to be challenged at this new job but that your experience will allow you to do the job well.
“Why do you want to work here?” examples
That’s all nice and good; you might be thinking now. But what does such an answer look like in practice? We share some examples. Please note that we remain generic on purpose. So see these examples as a starting point and don’t just copy them.
“I have been a big fan of your products for years and am always impressed by your latest developments and innovations. In the five years that I have worked in an [position] at company X, I have discovered that I am always looking for new innovative solutions. I would love to be part of a team that has the same values as me.”
“This company is named every year as one of the best companies to work for, and I can see the effect that has on the quality of your services. When I saw the vacancy pass by, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Through my years of experience with X, I am convinced that I can help you achieve your goals.”
“I would be proud to work for such an established name in the sector. You have won several awards in the field of X. After five years of experience with [skill], I would like to use the knowledge I have gained in a company where I can learn even more.”
“I am very impressed with the company’s mission to fulfill [the company’s social, climate, and diversity ambitions]. This is a subject that I spend a lot of time on in my spare time, and which I now miss in my current job.”