How to answer the ‘Why do you want to work at our company?’ questionFeatured

There are a million questions you might get in an interview. Questions like ‘Can you tell me about yourself?’ or ‘Could you walk me through your resume?’ are common ones that employers will often start by asking you. But sometimes they jump straight in with a more pointed question like, “Why do you want to work for our company?” If you’ve taken the time to apply and put together a good application, you probably have a good sense as to why you want to work for the specific organization. Recently, while working through this answer with a client, we stepped back to unpack their interest in working at a specific consulting firm. Here were a few things they said were reasons they were excited about the company: o Heard there was good work/life balanceo Thought their brand was very reputable and coolo As a transgender person, really appreciated the company’s commitment to inclusion that they could sense in the company’s brand and in the work they doo Appreciated the company’s track record and commitment to new, creative, and innovative solutions for clientso Liked that the company was open to full time remote working optionso Loved the company’s client list, which is full of organizations that have missions they care a lot about That’s a lot of reasons! We realized they probably didn’t want to rattle off a list of seven things. And while this client really did feel that the reputation, work/life balance, and remote work opportunities were very important to them, we agreed they weren’t the top reasons that would impress a recruiter or tell the hiring manager that they really understood the job description and what the company does. Instead, we focused on three top level summaries that covered most of the above reasons. These three reasons broke down into:1. The Personal – why it was good for them as a human2. The Technical – why the organization’s approach matched how they work3. The Substantive – why the content of the organization was compellingWhen trying to answer the question for the second time, here was their response: “There are really three big picture reasons I’m excited about this company. First, from a personal perspective, as a transgender person, I see your commitment to inclusivity and know from others that you value diversity and that this company is welcoming to non-binary individuals. Second, from what I can tell, your firm prioritizes innovation and creative new approaches to its work. How you do the work seems to match how I work. I have a track record of implementing new technology and creatively problem solving with clients. I am excited by the innovative approach and it’s a critical component for me in an environment. And third, the content you all are working on and the clients you work with are exactly the types of organizations I want to be supporting. Voting rights, the environment, education, healthcare – these are all issues I’m passionate about so I know that if I were to work here, I’d be working on content and problems that I’d be energized to engage in.” When preparing for this question, you can go through the above process. Write out all your reasons for why you are genuinely excited about the organization. Then look at what you wrote and see if they fall into a few big picture themes. And when in doubt – make a connection between the personal, the technical (the ways they work), and the substantive (what they work on). Happy interviewing!
Very crisp post and the 3 top-level summaries, gonna be very handy to many out there. Thanks much for sharing!
That's how I typically tend to answer this question and anything related to "why us vs someone else" ie. why are we a match! I love it thank you for this breakdown @EmilyLamia!
Great to hear Iynna!
I would suggest the response is tightly linked to where and when it is asked in the interview. Unless you are in later stages of this process often you don't know completely that you do want to work at the company. If its asked in the first interview and by a recruiter and you applied for the job (vs being recruited) then the response should be, I am qualified for the role per the job description and could add value to the function and team and am interested in what the companies mission and purpose are.... or something like that. If you have been recruited at the same step it should be I am still gathering information and my interest in what the company does is there and I would like to continue to find out if there is alignment. If its in later stage the response can be far more nuanced, and if the hiring manager is the one asking then the response should be more direct to what they want someone to do in the first 30-60-90 if you know. Gauging interest is often what companies do to eliminate people who they think lack passion for the role or company mission so be sure to not go in unprepared about who they are and what they do.
Thanks for this great advice! The breakdown is really useful to me since I get overwhelmed by all the information I think I need to cover.
@EmilyLamia this was AMAZING!!! Thank you so much, I'll let you know when I get the job!
This is such an amazing post and love the clear advice and example used, would def carry this forward to any interview in the future!!