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Why do you want to work here?

How to answer the number one interview question: “Why do you want to work here?”

In every interview and application form there is always one question you may encounter, ‘Why do you want to work here?’ No matter what the job is, this is the pinnacle question for potential employers. For you, this is your opportunity to show what it is you know about the company, highlight all relevant skills you have on offer and express why you really want to work for them.

The key thing to remember with this question is make sure you highlight what you know about the company, the position, evidence of the things the company do and what it is you hope to gain from the job. By showing this much of an interest and knowledge, you will reflect as an enthusiastic new recruit, something every employer requires to credit his/her company.

Here are some top tips in making your reply stand out in a way where it’s not too short, not too generic and as a result it will ensure you don’t turn employers away.


The key to answering this question lies within thorough research. Make sure you know the company inside and out by going beyond basic facts and statistics in order to impress and make a memorable impression. You need to highlight your interest in the company as well as understanding who and what they are all about. The more you know, the better you will look.

With this in mind, to answer the question you should research into recent news articles, the company’s social media pages and look out for all their marketing campaigns including Youtube and Vine videos. If you prove you have an idea of their background, recent successes, challenges faced and biggest competitors, employers will realise you have taken an interest in the company itself and not just the job.

However, be careful with how you answer it using this new found information, purely because you don’t want to simply repeat everything you have read, seen or heard. When your potential employer receives your response, they want to see that you have not only given your time to research more into the company, but you have also digested and acknowledged their regime and their processes. Show your understanding of it by expressing your opinion on what they strive to do and highlight what particular skills you have that benefit the company’s purpose.

Tailor your answer so that is specific to you and the company, ensuring that you both benefit from each other. If you realise during this stage that nothing really takes your interest within the company, then it’s best if you look elsewhere. Job searching is a two-way street. The company wants to see if you are right for them as much as you want to see if the company is right for what you want out of a job/career.

Websites like Glass Door, http://www.glassdoor.co.uk/index.htm, and The Job Crowd, http://www.thejobcrowd.com/, will help provide you with wider insights into a company’s culture and offer a number of reviews.

Topics you should cover and ones you should completely avoid

When you hear the question “why do you want to work here?” there are five main areas you can talk about to answer it successfully. These are:

• The organisations purpose – what the company does, what service or product it provides, their procedures and why this appeals to you.

• The organisation's values and principles – what is it like to work with that company, the atmosphere, team players or work ethics?

  • The company’s successes, challenges and barriers they have previously and recently faced.
  • The company’s attitude and the operations that occur behind the organisation – what measures do they take to be where they are?
  • The training they can offer you within the job – what developments will you receive on working at this organisation?

The best way to tackle these five topics is to not try and cover all of them at once during your answer. By putting focus on two or three of these areas and push into more details to reinforce your initial research, you are able to sell yourself as a future employee more successfully and show you have really taken an interest in the company. If you were to write sparsely on the five topics, it just seems like you are reeling off a number of different reasons why someone would want to work there, as opposed to why you personally want the job.

On the other hand, there are also several things you want to avoid whilst answering why you want to work there. As much as the perks of any job seem extremely appetising, whether it be how good the wages are, how much holiday you are entitled to or job security, this will not secure you the job if you use these as your answer. It doesn’t reflect your interest in the job itself, but rather implies you only want it for the incentives available.

Making your answer stand out

Once you have your initial plan mapped out, you need to change your answers from being merely average to outstanding. The way to do this is to add purpose.

Giving your key motives and reasons as to why you want to be employed at this particular organisation increases your credibility and integrity within your response. You are effectively delivering a personal sales pitch where you promote yourself as the perfect candidate for the job.

Rather than just saying what you like about the company, you need to mention what skills you have that match and profit this philosophy. How will X skill reinforce Y purpose of the company?To truly impress and make your answer stand out to the rest, you need to reflect on your research of the company and your skills that match their criteria and needs. If you successfully include this in your answer, you will make more of an impact.


Maria Lalor

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