3 Tips for Answering “Why Do You Want to Work Here” (+ Examples)

Maja Stojanovic | Big Interview

“Why do you want to work here?”

“I’ve always been passionate about earning money and not starving to death.”

Okaaay, Dwight Schrute. While deep down this is true, it’s just a fraction of the bigger, more complex truth. And you certainly wouldn’t say this.

In this article, we will teach you how to realistically answer the “Why do you want to work here” question and spice it up with meaningful details that will set you apart from the competition.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • 3 elements to cover in your answer: why this company, why this position, why you
  • How to research the company
  • How not to answer the question
  • Sample why-do-you-want-to-work-here answers for different seniority levels and positions

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

First off, be aware of different versions of the “Why do you want to work here” question:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why are you applying for this position?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?

When answering the interview question “Why do you want to work here,” you need to cover three things: why do you want to work at this company (which will show you did the research), why this particular position interests you (to show you’re a great fit), and why you’ll be successful in this position (to showcase your relevant skills).

1. Why you want to work at this company

There must be something that set this company apart and made you apply. It can be the industry they operate in, company reputation and values, or perhaps you prefer startups over corporations or vice versa. Whatever it is, make sure to bring it up in your answer.

Additionally, you’ll want to do some research beforehand, so that you’re in the loop with the company’s current situation, future plans, events such as mergers & acquisitions, reputation, and similar.

2. Why this particular position interests you

Is it a great fit for your skills and experience? Or is it just a bit outside your comfort zone and will help you grow? Does it represent a meaningful transition from your current job (e.g. from customer service specialist to sales representative; or from English teacher to content writer; etc.)? Will it be a great opportunity for collaboration with different teams and individuals?

Think about what makes this position appealing; filter out the best factors, and remember to mention them.

3. Why you’ll be successful in that role

This is the perfect opportunity to promote yourself a bit, which will make you stand out compared to everyone else that sticks only to one of the first two points.

Mention some of the skills you possess that are needed for this position, and bring up your top achievements. Tell them how you can contribute to the company and why you’ll be successful in that particular role.

If you don’t have enough relevant experience or you’re looking for your first job, mention transferable skills and high school/university achievements that could be an indicator of future performance.

All of this will give recruiters a sense of how you’ll perform in the future, but it’s also a nice opportunity for you to display your unique strengths.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable speaking about yourself, we get it. A lot of people feel the same because they think selling yourself means bragging. This is not true. Selling yourself is simply speaking about your skills and experience in an engaging and appealing way, mostly through storytelling. We’re here to help you with this: check out our lesson on how to sell yourself and feel good about it.

Remember: The strongest answers to “why do you want to work here” are a combination of these three talking points. But depending on the context or the exact timing of the question, you might want to focus on one — if they ask you “why this position, specifically?”, don’t drone on about how you cherish the company values.

Finally, be honest. Recruiters can smell a stuffy answer from a mile away.

Read the full article and view sample answers here.

By MIT Sloan CDO