“Why do you want to work here?” is one of the most direct yet challenging questions hiring managers will ask during job interviews in 2023.
If you know a lot about the employer, you might have difficulties figuring out the right angle for your answer.
If you don’t know anything about the company, then you have a completely different problem - you have absolutely no idea why you want to work there!
Whichever the case might be with you, we’re to help!
In this article, we’re going to teach you the best way to answer the “why do you want to work here” interview question.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- Why Do Interviewers Ask “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
- How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
- 10+ Sample Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
Why Do Interviewers Ask “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
When they ask “why do you want to work here?”, interviewers are inquiring about a bunch of different things that can help them decide whether to hire you, such as:
- Your knowledge about the position, the company, and the industry
- Whether you’re interested in this particular job or just looking to get any job
- If your career goals are aligned with the position
Imagine you’re an interviewer and you ask two equally-qualified candidates this question. The first gives the following answer:
“I want to work here because I recently relocated to NY with my family and I need a new company to practice my profession and make a living.”
And the second this one:
“Actually, your ad campaigns are what got me into advertising in the first place! Your creativity and out-of-the-box approach to advertising really inspired me as a professional, which is why I applied for this position as soon as I saw the job opening!”
Chances are, you’d be a lot more likely to hire the second candidate. Here’s why their answer is so effective:
- It shows off extensive knowledge of the company and its values.
- It highlights the candidate’s passion for the field.
- It does a better job convincing the interviewer the candidate will stick around for the long-term.
By now, we should have already convinced you how important it is to nail this interview question if you want to impress the interviewer.
In the following section, we’ll show you just how to do that:
How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
#1. Before the interview, do your research
To answer this question as best as possible, prep work is key!
If you already know the employer well, you might as well skip this step. Just keep in mind everything you know and like about them and incorporate that into your answer to explain why you want to work there.
If you don't know the employer well though, don’t fret. You can always do some research on them before the interview to figure out what they do, what their core values are, what the company’s mission is, etc.
Keep in mind that there’s not always going to be a lot to find out about every employer who interviews you. Smaller companies, for example, might not have a lot of information about them online, or they may not have core values and mission statements to guide them like big organizations do.
In such cases, you can find out more about the job and its responsibilities and show how you can do it well thanks to your skills and experience.
#2. Show how your skills and experience can help you succeed
If an employer hires you, it’s because they believe that you can meet the responsibilities of the role and help the company achieve some of its future goals, in one way or another.
As such, explaining how you can see yourself succeeding in this particular role based on your skills and experience is a great way to answer “why do you want to work here?”
Growing professionally is something that interests both you and your potential employer (you want a successful career, while they want productive employees), which makes this a win-win answer for everyone involved.
You can use phrases like “thanks to my experience doing X, I can see myself succeeding…” or “I look forward to applying the skills I’ve acquired so far to…,” or even “I think I will be able to contribute by…”
Here’s a practical example of this:
- The reason why I want to work here is that I can see myself growing professionally in this position. You probably noticed from my resume that every job I’ve had since graduating has been related to writing, be it in journalism, marketing, or advertising. I believe I can apply all the skills I’ve acquired so far to the role of Communications Assistant for an organization of your size.
#2. Describe why you’d enjoy working in that position
Mark Twain once said, “find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
It’s true that when we find enjoyment in our work, we work better and longer. And what employer doesn’t want that from their employees?
So, your task when answering “why do you want to work here?” is to make this connection between job satisfaction and position as clear to the interviewer as possible.
What we mean by clear isn’t just saying something like “I really enjoy what I do” or “I really love my job.” If you really want to strike gold with your answer, focus on explaining exactly why you love the industry or how working in that position will bring you joy.
Here’s an example:
- Helping other people learn new things and expand their knowledge has always been my passion. I was actually a tutor long before I got my Master’s in Education, all the way back in high school. Teaching is almost second nature to me and I can’t really think of a better position than this one to practice professionally what I love doing.
#3. Highlight your knowledge/passion for the employer’s mission/service/product
Generally speaking, employers always prefer candidates who are passionate about their work, be it a service, a product, or a mission.
As such, pointing out that you’re not just applying to get hired but because you’re actually knowledgeable and passionate about that line of work is a great way to answer this question.
Now, we know that being super passionate about every company you apply to isn’t very realistic. Oftentimes, you’ll simply apply for jobs that you’re professionally qualified for because, well, you need a job.
That, however, doesn’t mean that you should go into the interview without any knowledge of who your potential future employer is or what they do.
Doing your homework and researching them in advance can go a long way in showing the hiring manager that you prepared for the interview and that you’re not just some random candidate that’ll accept whatever job comes your way.
If, on the other hand, you’re applying for a job in a company or organization that you actually know and whose work you admire, then that’s even better! Make sure to highlight that in your answer, such as:
- I’ve always believed that everyone should have equal opportunities, regardless of their social background. This is why I deeply admire your work with vulnerable communities and all the projects you’ve undertaken to provide everyone equal access to education and employment. That’s why I’d be more than honored to apply all my years of experience as a project manager for such an impactful organization as yours!
#4. Be specific and back up your claims with examples
One thing you should always keep in mind when answering the “why do you want to work here” question is to be specific and back up everything you say with examples, data, achievements, etc.
After all, anyone can claim they’re passionate about a line of work, or that they’re super skilled at what they do. Hiring managers will always be inclined to believe candidates who can actually convince them about their claims.
Best way to do that? Through cold, hard, data.
See for yourself how this plays out in the two answers below. The first candidate does a great job backing up everything they say while the second, not so much.
- I want to work here because I really love your company and all the products you’ve launched in the last decade! I’ve been using Pineapple since I can remember and I think your tech is the most user-friendly in the market. I’d really love to contribute everything I know about tech to work on such intuitive smartphones!
- I want to work here cause you’re an awesome company and everyone knows it!
And here’s another one:
- I want to work here because I can see myself succeeding in this position and making the most out of pay-per-click advertising. Just to give you an example, at my last job I managed to improve return on ad spend by 18% within 4 months of taking over the account.
- I think I’d be a great candidate for this position because I’ve done this type of work before and I’ve been successful.
Catch our drift?
#5. Always be honest
Never, ever lie about your qualifications.
If you get hired because of a lie, what will happen next will be a horrible experience for you, your supervisor, and the company in general.
Everyone will end up stressed from the experience, waste a lot of time and resources and you’ll eventually end up needing another job anyway.
So, always be honest!
Below, we’re going to give you 10 sample answers on how to answer “why do you want to work here” as effectively as possible. Before we dive deep, though, make sure to check out our other articles about becoming an interview pro!
10+ Sample Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
- I've seen your work in theatrical production, and your behind-the-scenes video really inspired me to apply! I love working with a team to achieve a common goal, and I know my background in production has prepared me for this role. I look forward to becoming a valued contributor to this phenomenal team.
Explanation: It demonstrates the candidate’s knowledge of the company because they are aware of their projects and even viewed a video of their work.
The candidate then relates it to their personal values and previous experience to drive the point home that they’re qualified for the role.
- I read an article a few months back on the outreach your company does within the community. Giving back and volunteering is a significant part of my own personal values, and I’m very excited to work with an organization that shares that!I would really love to work in a company where I know that my work, on a day to day basis, really contributes to the community.
Explanation: By showing how their personal values align with the company’s, this candidate is proving they would be an engaged employee who is likely to stick with the company long term.
- I have used your software for many years and am consistently impressed with the innovation and developments made in the space. I also appreciate your dedication to education, providing your customers with free demos to learn how to use your products effectively. I would love to be a part of this innovative team and use my skills to continue the groundbreaking work you are doing here.
Explanation: The candidate directly refers to the quality of the company's products here, which is flattering for the hiring manager to hear. As a user of the products, this candidate demonstrates that they are already knowledgeable about what the company does, and how much they want to be a part of the team.
- I've seen your company consistently listed as one of the top places to work. I've read employee testimonials and heard how you encourage employee growth through education, training, and vast resources. I would love to join your innovative team, continue to create great work, and grow within the company by further improving my skills.
Explanation: For starters, speaking about the reputation of the company is something that the hiring manager will love. This response, however, also does a great job highlighting what the employee can bring to the table – through experience and innovation – and continue to develop.
- I know that you’re a leader in the industry and I would be proud to work for a company with such an excellent track record for innovation. I have a friend that works in the accounting department, and he told me that the culture here is top-notch and that management supports continuing education and learning on the job while rewarding hard work. Based on his assessment and encouragement, I think that I would fit in perfectly with the team here.
Explanation: By already knowing somebody who works at the company, the candidate has an automatic leg up because they can speak to the direct perks that their colleague referenced. By demonstrating that there is a built-in network, the hiring manager might be more likely to hire this person because they know the employee will be happy at their company.
- Working at your company has been a dream job for me long before graduating, which is why I also sought an internship there. I would now love to apply all the experience I gained as an intern to an actual job and continue to help your company grow through my skills and education.
Explanation: The candidate is highlighting that they already know what they job entails, as they’ve already interned there, and that they can apply their skills to the role as a full-time member of the team.
- This company is internationally known for signing book deals with up-and-coming writers, and my experience in reading literature and spotting new literaly talents aligns perfectly with this position. I saw that last year two of your writers won awards, and I would love work with and learn from such strong professionals!
Explanation: This response ties together the company, the role, and the candidate’s values all in one. Sometimes, when the hiring manager asks, “Why do you want to work here?” they are looking for two answers: “why do you like our company?” and “why do you like this position?” It could be beneficial to add a small nod to what drew the candidate to this position.
- I specifically want to work here because I read your company’s mission and vision. After finding out more information about your company from social media, I can clearly see how my goals align with that of the company. There's nothing I love more than when I am working with other engaged individuals toward a common goal, and that's what excited me about working here.
Explanation: This example calls out the alignment in values clearly and directly. By saying the exact ways that the candidate’s mission matches the company’s mission, the hiring manager will recognize that this person did their homework and is excellent for further developing and upholding the values of the organization.
- I first found your company several years ago, and I was inspired by the style of your brand. You market yourselves to a millennial audience, which I can relate to. After following you and observing your job openings for several years while working my way up at a smaller marketing firm, I believe I am now ready to join your exceptional team, enhancing and driving forward a brand that is a natural extension of my own values.
Explanation: This example ties together the candidate’s and the company’s values seamlessly. By demonstrating that the candidate already lives in the messaging and branding, it appears to be a no-brainer to bring them on as a representation of the brand and the team the company is building.
- Before the recruiter called me about this opportunity, I must admit that I didn't know much about your company. I've been doing some research in preparation for this discussion, and I need to say that I'm impressed by your work and your vision for the future. I'm genuinely interested in getting more involved in the technological side of marketing, and I read that you are growing in that area. As an experienced marketer with an emphasis on technology, I know I can bring a lot of value to the team.
Explanation: Honesty is always appreciated by the hiring manager, and it’s okay to admit if the candidate had no knowledge of the company before they applied. However, that statement should always be backed up by the research the candidate did and what they found intriguing about the company. They still need to demonstrate that they want to work at the company and explain why.
How NOT To Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
While you probably already know that some topics are strictly off limits during a job interview, there’s no harm in repeating them.
So, DON’T say you want to work a particular job for the following reasons:
- You like the hefty salary
- You’re in it for the benefits and perks
- You couldn’t land a job at another company so you’re settling
- You want to work remotely, no matter the job
- You’re desperate to get hired anywhere
For a bigger list of things not to do during the interview, check out our article about major interview mistakes!
And that’s all there is to answering “why do you want to work here?”
Practice all the tips we covered, get inspired by our sample answers, and you’ll nail your own interview without breaking a sweat!