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Why Do You Want to Work Here? Nailing This Tricky Interview Question

Jun 27, 2024

Ever been stumped by the classic interview question, “Why do you want to work here?” You’re not alone.

This seemingly simple question can trip up even the most prepared candidates. It’s crucial to align your response with the company values, demonstrating that your personal values and goals are in sync with the organization’s culture and mission.

Understanding the company’s mission is also essential, as it shows your enthusiasm for contributing to the company’s success and growth.

Let’s dive into how you can ace this question and leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.

The Hidden Meaning Behind “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

When interviewers ask this question, they’re not just making small talk.

They’re trying to figure out a few key things:

  • Are you genuinely interested in the company?
  • Have you done your homework by researching the company website?
  • Do your values align with the company’s culture and mission?
  • Can you contribute meaningfully to the team?

Answering this question well shows you’re not just looking for any job – you’re excited about this specific opportunity.

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Why Nailing This Question in a Job Interview Matters

Getting this answer right can make or break your interview.

It’s your chance to show you’re not just another face in the crowd.

A strong response proves you’re:

  • Passionate about the company’s mission
  • A good fit for the team
  • Ready to hit the ground running
  • Committed to the role long-term

So, how do you craft an answer that ticks all these boxes?

Let’s break it down step by step.

Crafting the Perfect Answer

Step 1: Do Your Homework

Before you even think about answering this question, you need to know the company inside and out.

Dive deep into:

  • The company’s website: Check the company website to find information about the company’s vision, mission, values, history, latest events, and other relevant details. It is a crucial source for understanding the company’s background and tailoring your messaging for the interview.
  • Recent news articles
  • Social media presence
  • Employee reviews

Look for:

  • The company’s mission statement: Discuss the company’s mission, culture, and values during the job interview. Align your personal qualities and skills with the company’s goals and values, showing enthusiasm for contributing to the company’s success and growth.
  • Core values
  • Recent achievements or projects
  • Company culture
  • Industry trends

The more you know, the more genuine and specific your answer will be.

Step 2: Connect the Dots

Now that you’ve got the intel, it’s time to connect it to your own experiences and values.

Ask yourself:

  • What about this company excites me?
  • How do the company’s values align with mine?
  • What skills can I bring to the table?
  • How does this role fit into my career goals?

Jot down your thoughts – they’ll come in handy when crafting your response.

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Step 3: Craft Your Response

Now for the fun part – putting it all together.

Here’s a simple structure to follow:

  • Start with what excites you about the company.
  • Make sure to tailor your response to impress the hiring manager by providing specific reasons for wanting to work for the company.
  • Connect it to your personal values and experiences.
  • Explain how you can contribute.
  • Wrap it up with your enthusiasm for the role.

Let’s see this in action with a sample answer:

See how this answer ticks all the boxes?

It shows:

  • Genuine interest in the company’s work
  • Alignment with the company’s values
  • Relevant experience and potential contributions
  • Enthusiasm for the role and company culture

Step 4: Practice, but Don’t Memorize

Now that you’ve got a solid answer, it’s time to practice.

But here’s the catch – don’t memorize it word for word.


Memorized answers often sound robotic and insincere.

Instead, practice the key points you want to hit.

This allows you to sound natural and adjust your answer based on the flow of the interview.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even with preparation, it’s easy to fall into some common traps.

Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

Being Too Generic

“I want to work here because you’re a great company.”

This is just a bad answer. It could apply to any job at any company.

It shows you haven’t done your research and aren’t genuinely excited about the role. Instead, express your enthusiasm for this particular company by mentioning specific aspects of its culture, people, or clients that genuinely excite you.

Focusing Solely on Personal Benefits

“I want to work here because the salary and benefits are great.”

While it’s OK to be motivated by compensation, this shouldn’t be your main selling point.

It suggests you’re more interested in what the company can do for you, rather than what you can do for the company.

Instead, emphasize how your skills align with the company’s needs and the value you can bring. Show enthusiasm for the company’s mission and values, and highlight the potential for growth and development opportunities within the role.

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Overemphasizing the Company’s Reputation

“I want to work here because you’re the industry leader.”

While it’s good to recognize the company’s success, simply praising their status isn’t enough.

Explain why their leadership position matters to you and how you can make a positive contribution to maintaining it. Highlight your skills and experiences that align with the company’s goals and mission, and provide specific, personalized details and concrete examples to demonstrate your potential for a positive contribution.

Being Too Verbose

That’s just a fancy word for talking too much and telling a completely irrelevant story. For example:

“Well, it all started when I was a child…”

Keep your answer concise and to the point.

Aim for a response that’s about 1-2 minutes long.

Not Tailoring Your Answer to the Job Description

“I’ve always wanted to work in marketing, which is why I’m excited about this sales position.”

Make sure your answer reflects an understanding of the specific role you’re applying for.

Show how your skills and interests align with the job description.

Timing Is Everything

When you’re asked “Why do you want to work here?” can be just as important as how you answer.

Here’s what you need to know:

Early in the Interview

If this question comes up early, it’s your chance to set the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Impressing the hiring managers early in the interview is crucial as they assess your motives, interest in the company, and enthusiasm for the position.

Use it to highlight your preparedness and enthusiasm right off the bat.


If it pops up in the middle, you can use information from earlier in the interview to enhance your answer.

Refer back to points the interviewer has made to show you’re actively listening and engaged.

End of the Interview

When asked at the end, use this as an opportunity to summarize why you’re the perfect fit for the role.

Reinforce the key points you’ve made throughout the interview.

Regardless of when it’s asked, be ready to adapt your answer based on the flow of the conversation.

Get Expert Help

Our cutting edge AI interview preparation gives you complete preparation for your interview. Get started Now!

Going Beyond the Basics

Want to really wow your interviewer?

Here are some advanced techniques to take your answer to the next level:

Share a Personal Story

Connect the company’s mission to a personal experience or passion.

This makes your answer more memorable and authentic.

For example:

Yes, this is a bit of over the top example. However, you get the point.

Try to apply this to your own situation.

Demonstrate Industry Knowledge and Company Culture

Show that you’re not just interested in the company, but in the broader industry as well.

For example:

Highlight Unique Skills

Explain how your unique blend of skills and experiences makes you an ideal fit for the role.

For example:

Ask a Thoughtful Question

Turn the tables by ending your answer with a relevant question.

This shows your genuine interest and engagement.

For example:

Addressing Potential Concerns

Sometimes, your answer to “Why do you want to work here?” needs to address potential red flags in your application.

Here’s how to handle some common scenarios:

Career Change

If you’re switching industries, explain what drew you to this new field and how your past experiences are relevant.

For example:


If you’re applying for a role that might seem like a step down, explain your motivations clearly.

For example:

Gap in Employment

If you have a gap in your resume, address it proactively and positively.

For example:

Putting It All Together

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to “Why do you want to work here?”

The key is to be genuine, specific, and enthusiastic.

Show that you’ve done your homework, that you’re excited about the company’s mission, and that you’re ready to contribute in meaningful ways.

With practice and preparation, you can turn this tricky question into an opportunity to shine.

So, next time an interviewer asks, “Why do you want to work here?” you’ll be ready to knock it out of the park.

Conclusion – Take Away Points

  • Do your research.
  • Connect the company’s mission to your values and experiences.
  • Highlight specific contributions you can make.
  • Be genuine and enthusiastic.
  • Practice, but don’t memorize.
  • Avoid common pitfalls like being too generic or focusing solely on personal benefits.
  • Be ready to adapt based on when the question is asked.
  • Consider using advanced techniques like sharing a personal story or demonstrating industry knowledge.
  • Address any potential concerns proactively.
  • Job candidates should prepare for job interviews by understanding their motivations and making a strong impression.

Remember, this question is your chance to show why you’re not just a good fit, but the best fit for the role.

Good luck with your interview!