How to Answer “Why do You Want to Work Here?”

by Pranav Ramesh
January 06, 2021
How Best To Answer: “Why Do You Want To Work Here?

Are you preparing for your next IT job interview? If so, you have likely covered the basics. You know your resume inside and out. You can describe your past experiences, education, and certifications, and all your relevant skills. You have a portfolio of your work, a GitHub page of your projects, and an optimized LinkedIn page to show. If you’ve really prepared, you have even roleplayed likely interview questions with a friend or family member. You should be all set, right?

Not so fast.

There are many common interview mistakes you should look to avoid. Don’t be unprepared or present yourself poorly, and don’t forget to close strong. Sometimes, though, the most common interview questions are the most likely to trip you up. “Why do you want to work here?” is just such a question.

Topics Covered:

  • Why Hiring Managers Ask “Why do you want to work here?”
  • How Not to Answer “Why do you want to work here?”
  • How You Should Answer “Why do you want to work here?”
  • Examples of How to Answer “Why do you want to work here?”

Why Hiring Managers Ask “Why do you want to work here?”

During the interview, the potential employer is trying to gauge much more than just your technical expertise and communication skills. They want to understand you, as a person, and how your personality will fit the role. They want someone who is excited about the work itself, about the company, and about what they can add to the team. At the same time, they are looking to remove anyone who just wants a job rather than a career they can excel at.

Every company wants a happier and more engaged team. Positive employees create a positive work environment which not only leads to better outcomes and performance, but to a safe space where the employees can grow and thrive along with the organization. Figuring out the reason you want to work at their company is often a hiring manager’s best opportunity to predict your likely engagement.

How Not to Answer “Why do you want to work here?”

Knowing what not to say can be as important as knowing what you should. Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on the Company, not yourself: When answering the question, try to avoid topics that benefit you. Instead, focus on what will benefit the company or person you are interviewing with. Answering this question by focusing on yourself may prevent you from even getting the chance to share how passionate you truly are about the organization or the work.
  • Steer clear of perks and salary: While your income and benefits are important, now is not the time to focus on them. No hiring manager is seeking the person who is always looking for the next best thing. They want someone who is inspired by the project, not just the pay. Remember, if the reason you want to work there doesn’t help the company, the company doesn’t want to hear it.
  • Don’t give obvious answers: The interviewer already believes it’s a great job and a great company, so you don’t need to tell them again. “This looks like an awesome company to work for,” sounds like you have not done your research and don’t know much about the actual company. 47% of interviewers say they would not hire someone unless they are already familiar with the company.
  • Avoid speaking poorly about former employers or co-workers: If you focus on, or even bring up negative factors, the hiring manager will form a negative impression about you. They will wonder what you did to create a bad situation and may assume that you might do the same in their company. Even in the best-case scenario, even if none of those thoughts come to their mind; you are still not doing yourself any favors. How does escaping a bad work situation for you benefit this new employer? It doesn’t.

Looking for common technical interview questions?

What is a UX Designer and What do They Do?

What are the Top 10 QA Analyst Interview Questions?

What is a Help Desk Analyst and How to Become One?


How You Should Answer “Why do you want to work here?”

Companies are finding it harder and harder to build engaged workforces. 71% of millennials are either not engaged or actively disengaged, costing an estimated $30.5 billion annually due to turnover. If you only do the opposite of the points above, you’ll be on your way to showing how engaged you can be. Prepare personalized answers, focus on how your excitement will help the company, and always stay positive.

Here’s how you do this right:

  • Be Specific: The key to being specific is doing your research beforehand. Read the job description thoroughly and try to read between the lines. The technical requirements are self-explanatory, but the verbs they use to describe things may give some additional insight. Are they looking to “grow” something or “manage” it? This can help you understand whether they want someone with unique ideas to build something new, or someone who can follow processes and procedures perfectly.
  • Do your research: Be sure to look at the “About Us” section of their website and all of their social media accounts. Learn about the company history, the current team, and review their recent press releases. Bringing up an interesting trivia fact, like when they were founded or how many locations they have, is a great way to prove you did your research and are really interested. You will also learn, especially through social media, what is important to the business right now. If they have a new initiative, product, or project you see they’ve posted about lately, that will give you something specific and relevant to talk about.

Note: Not every company has a huge digital presence, so you may not always have that specific of an example. Focus on what you do know they’re doing, and how interested you are in using your unique skills and experience to benefit it.

Examples of How to Answer “Why do you want to work here?”

If you’re still unsure how exactly to answer the question, use some of these examples for inspiration:

“I’m really excited about the new AI platform you’re building that I heard about on Twitter. I would love to use my Python experience to work on a cutting-edge project like that!”

“When I read the job description, I saw so many different ways I could help the company. Most, if not all, of the skills and experience you’re looking for are exactly in line with what I can bring to the table and am excited to work on.”

“One thing really caught my eye when skimming through your blog and social media. You seem to be very involved with the community, sponsoring local events and volunteering, which is something I strongly resonate with.”

“I want to work with a company I trust and believe in. I personally use your app all the time and have referred quite a few friends to it. So, I’m really excited about working on something I already use and love.”

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