Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

One of the most common interview questions is "Why Do You Want to Work Here?" It's not a rhetorical question. The employer needs to know.

The Real Meaning of "Why Do You Want to Work Here?" Has Several Facets. 

Your answer must address them effectively to give a good competitive response. Motivation is the primary element which must be addressed. The employer has to assess the motivation of job applicants on a logical basis. A motivated applicant will have several clearly defined reasons for wanting a particular job:

  1. Career progression: Job applications for career progression positions are very strong motivations. They make good sense as a reason for applying for a job. A sales job, for example, can be an important move in a sales career. The application relates to a real career need.
  2. Career experience: In many professions, experience is a primary requirement for career progression. In other areas of employment, the experience is absolutely fundamental to core competence. (You'll have seen job ads requiring several years experience in some fields. Even an MBA has specific experience requirements.)
  3. Professional opportunities: Some jobs are unique professional roles, or extraordinary opportunities. In architecture, for example, the chance to work on some projects is truly unique. There really aren't any jobs like them. The work is a career and professional credential, and it's invaluable resume material.
  4. Industry or sector positioning: These jobs are usually with major industry employers, the "blue chips" of the professional sectors. Positioning in this context means you can say you've worked at the top of the industry. That is an extremely useful, and portable, career move.

The other important element in the question is that the interview question works as a comparison between candidates. A good or bad performance on a motivational question can get or lose you a job. It's the sort of regular interview question you need to understand and know how to handle well. The question acts as a quality control for the interviewers, helping them separate closely matched candidates, and is often a basis for selection.

Answering "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

You must produce a comprehensive, credible answer to this interview question. The motivational issues above apply at all levels of employment. They're particularly common at entry level, where employers have to decide which people are really good prospects.

  • Think hard about your reasons for applying for particular jobs. It's in your interest to target rewarding jobs which will take you where you want to go. In these cases, the "Why Do You Want to Work Here?" answers itself.
  • Consider career issues and options at all times. The "Why Do You Want to Work Here?" interview question is a question you really must ask yourself.
  • Give a clear idea of your reasons for applying. You can talk yourself into a job with a relatively simple answer that states your case. "You need the job, because..."
  • Prepare your answers in advance for this question for every job. You will be asked repeatedly in interviews.

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