Have you been preparing to answer every possible interview question that may come your way, but are close to throwing in the towel when it comes to the seemingly pointless inquiry – ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ Don’t be deceived, this is more to this question than meets the eye.  

We get it; you worked hard to get to this point. You put together your CV just so and went through the application process knowing that you want to work for this company. So, shouldn’t that be enough? Are they asking you to toot their own horn and start sucking up to them by ranting on about how wonderful and beyond compare the company is?  

Quite simply, no, they are not.  

In this article, we’ll take a look at why this topic is so important and how you can focus on the right points to use to get the edge over the competition. 

How to answer this question ‘correctly’

Let’s first discuss what they are NOT looking for. You aren’t telling a love story -your interviewer isn’t interested in hearing about your lengthy search for the ‘perfect’ company and how void of meaning your life has been before you came to the realization that this company was ‘the one’. You will invariably come off sappy and barely believable; not to mention vague. Singing their praises can only take you so far. 

What to avoid: 

Being too generic – You want to put in a personal touch to make you seem sincere and not as if you’ve used the same reply for other companies and jobs you may have interviewed for. 

Appearing dispassionate – An unenthusiastic candidate is almost painful to behold. Sometimes it seems as if they are reading straight from a script but can’t act the part.  

Not doing your research – It never looks good when you show up without a clue as to what the company and position are all about. Once again, being ambiguous may be easier for you now, but it will have repercussions in the long run. 

What your interviewer really wants to know

You may be surprised to hear that this question aims at discovering your underlying agenda for pursuing this job and company. Interviewers are dissecting every reason you give as a way of understanding, not what they can give you, but what YOU can give them.  

When you describe the specific qualities, you like about the job/company, you are actually describing your career expectations and motivations. This is a way for you to express what you are looking for, but we warned, if your answer doesn’t match what they are looking for then you may not be hired.  

A truly great answer demands that you do your homework; acquire knowledge about the company’s values, goals, services, reputation and programs (amongst other things). At this point, be prepared to prove just how well the company’s culture is aligned with your own. 

Feel free to toot your own horn by showing how compatible your career goals and core values are with theirs, why it is so appealing to you and how well you can contribute to their mission.

In short:

  1. Research the facts about the job and company in-depth 
  2. Get a clear idea of the organisation’s priorities and culture 
  3. Understand why this work is so important  
  4. Prove you are an asset to their organisation 

Example:

“I noticed that ABC company is very involved in giving back to the community. This is something that demonstrates to me that the company really cares about its impact in the world and I want to be a part of that. In addition, the fact that you emphasise safety tells me that you care about your employees as much as you care about the customer. As you may see in my resume, safety is important to me as well as I was the safety captain for the past five years and would be able to bring that experience to ABC.”

So give it a go! Show the interviewer you believe in the organisation’s cause and that you have what it takes to take them forward.  

Where can I do my research?

The first place to look is the company’s website. This platform has got everything; from their mission statement to their accomplishments. Search for their ‘Careers Page’, since that will be your ticket in to check their requirements and available positions. Browse through the ‘About Us’ page as well to get a sense of their history and successes.

Another great place to do some research would be… can you guess? The media! Yes, google can be your best friend. The internet is full of informative, educational and even juicy material. Look for up-to-date articles about the organisation’s current events and don’t hesitate to reference it in your answer for extra points.

Don’t be afraid to show off!

Skills you can stress to impress:

  • Motivation and dedication 
  • Good communication skills 
  • Innovative thinking and creativity  

Yes, you are describing the company’s great qualities, but you should use this answer to show that you are just what they have been looking for as well!  

We at JobTestPrep are here to help you succeed throughout the hiring process. Prepare with our pre-employment tests and interview practice to improve your performance today.