Why do you want this job or why do you want to work for us?
This for sure is one of the top interview questions at most job interviews and has a kind of ‘make-it’ or ‘break-it’ halo to it.
What the interviewer really wants to know
- Has this candidate spent time to completely understand the job description? Is this person serious about joining this position or is it just one of the hundreds that he/she has applied for?
- Your interest is also related to your experiences and continuing education. How well can this candidate tie it all together?
- How much do you know about the company or the division you might be getting hired to?
- And most importantly- Tell me why should I hire you? Do your skills match my requirements or perhaps you can influence me that your ability to learn on the job matches your enthusiasm to be the right fit for this position. If you can convince me with the right answer, chances are I will hire you!
So indeed, it is one of those answers which you must be prepared with at your best.
Preparation is the key to nail this one
Now when you know what the person on the other side of the desk or phone wants to know, it becomes easier to prepare the answer. What you must do to answer this question with confidence and honesty:
- Thoroughly read the job description – what are the must-haves for this position, what is generally expected and how can you convince yourself first that you are the right fit for this position?
- What are some past experiences and projects that you can relate to the job requirements?
- Research and read on the news and developments of this company? You can follow the company on LinkedIn and Twitter and also perform a general search to find out about new products or services that this company plans to dish out in near future.
- Don’t forget that what you say here could be cross checked with what you have on your public profile on the internet. It is a good idea to check your LinkedIn profile to see if what you say here ties in well with what you have there.
Possible good answers to this question
Tie in your technical skills and experience to validate your suitability for this position:
“I see that the job requires someone with high level skills on <ABC>. With the last 5 years working at <> I’ve moved on to an expert level at this skill. During the last two years it has been my pleasure to mentor 2 new employees to get up to speed at this skill set and I’m proud to see my team innovating more than others at the company. I bring expertise and a sincere enthusiasm to this position at your company. I’m sure I’ll learn more and take this skill set to another level within a few months.”
Note: Tie in closely to the job requirements and your skills.
You may also add to the answer by adding some information about the company that you have read or researched.
“This company is well known for its <product/service> and I have come to know through a recent report that a new product is in development for this division. I am quite excited to be part of a growing and an innovative team. With my experience and the enthusiasm for this position, I am already excited to get started on the job soon with an industry leader!”
You can also weave some stories and experiences from past depending on whether the interviewer is keen on taking this discussion further. Honesty is the key here; lies never survive for long. As a preparatory step, it is always good to have a repository of some stories you can relate to during the interview.
How have you answered this question in any of your past interviews and what has worked for you?