Because everyone should dig their job

Why Do You Want To Work Here?

By Judi Perkins

A job interview is stressful. The person who hasn’t made a lot of changes isn’t practiced at what is involved (nor should they want to be), and the person who has made a lot of changes doesn’t have any idea what’s involved either, or they wouldn’t be making so many changes!

Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, 78% of all candidates - regardless of the level for which they are interviewing - wing it!   As a result, they’re frequently dropped from further consideration.

Seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. For instance, in response to the question, "Why do you want to work here?" occasionally people say things like:

  • I don’t know
  • Because it seems like a good place to work
  • It’s a great growth opportunity for me
Others at least attempt a thoughtful response:   

"I've worked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track record of leadership. I've read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of Marketing, I can help straighten those out."

While that answer may seem impressive and appear to suffice, on a scale of 1 - 10, it ranks about a 5! Why? The answer shows no research, no thought, no consideration. It provides no specific examples of previous accomplishments and fails to reference information relevant to the prospective job. It sounds stock and could suffice for any number of companies. Overall, unimpressive.

So let's look closer at the question: “Why do you want to work here?”

The tricky part about this question is that it’s often asked fairly soon in the interview process, before you could possibly know enough about the company -- solely from the interview -- to answer.   The reason for this question and its timing is precisely to see how much thought and preparation you have put into your search and where you are applying.

So when you score an interview, don’t just sit back and wait for the appointment day to arrive. Use the time to research the company. 

Obviously not every company is the size of General Electric or a regional powerhouse that you can find in Dun & Bradstreet, but librarians are more than willing to help you find information in their reference directories. Local newspapers may have done stories on the company.   If you’re out of town, a librarian will photocopy and fax them to you. And these days, most companies have a website.

In the interview, tell the interviewer what you've learned about the company, and why it seems appealing to you. Specifics are the key here.

Relate chosen examples from your experience to the position, the company, their focus, their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from wherever you learned of this opportunity.

For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking for an executive level guy to overhaul the marketing department and existing program from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen - there's your answer - along with examples of how you have grown, established, or rebuilt campaigns in a parallel situation.

Share what you can do and why you feel you can contribute to and benefit the company. This question is about how you can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit you.

If you’ve chosen to submit your resume for an opportunity, then – from the beginning - do everything within your power to stand out from the others who haven’t bothered to prepare. If you wait until the interviewer tells you enough about the job to decide if you want it, you’ve waited too long.