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Interview Time: Why Do you Want to Work Here?

October 23rd, 2020

There’s a strong chance that at some point during your job interview, your interviewer will probe to find out how much you already know about the company and the role, and he or she will try to assess your level of personal interest in a partnership. Like almost every job candidate everywhere, you’re probably pursuing the role because you need to make a living and this opportunity revealed itself to you at the right place and time. But that’s not what your interviewer needs to hear (she already knows this). Instead, answer the question “Why do you want to work here?” by explaining why this specific company appeals to you.

Here’s how.

Don’t fawn or lie about your level of prior knowledge.

You don’t have to tell your interviewer that it’s always been your lifelong dream to work here. If you did not know the company existed before you saw the job posting, that’s okay. There’s no shame in not instantly recognizing the name of a random local business two counties away from your home. In fact, it’s best to be honest and say something like, “I didn’t know anything at all about the company, but when I saw the job post, I looked you up and learned more about your history and business model. I was impressed with (fill in the blank) and I feel like we are a good match because (fill in the blank).” Of course, you should never attend a job interview without briefly researching the company beforehand.

Anticipate being asked for more detail.

A common follow-up to “Why do you want to work here?” is “Please explain more about why you like us.” At this point, you can stop reciting the facts you learned from the website. Be introspective and look for connections between your personal long-term career plans and what this company may have to offer you. Find links between the product or service they provide and some aspects of your own personality. Since this may require thought, do your thinking beforehand, so you’re ready when the question comes your way.

Have answers ready if you hear an objection.

Your interviewer may put obstacles in your path to see how you respond. For example, she may say something like, “You seem friendly and outgoing. This job will require a lot of alone time and self-direction. Will you be okay with that?” Another example: “We provide products or services that some people object to morally. Will that be a problem for you?” Or yet another: “Your home address seems quite far from here. Will you be comfortable with a long commute?” Answer by explaining why you believe your sacrifice or compromise will be worthwhile. You may also want to explain why you’ve overlooked similar companies that presented you with fewer obstacles. Again, this may take some thought.

There’s no wrong answer to this question if you speak with honesty and self-knowledge. Focus on what you can offer the company, but also emphasize what you believe the company can offer to you. For more guidance, turn to the job search experts at Merritt.

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