This One Question Can Make or Break Your Interview!

A photo by Alejandro Escamilla.












 You have finally landed an interview for a great role with a reputable company. You’ve put on your best business attire, arrived early, and the conversation is going very well – if you may say so yourself. Then it happens: the question that can throw the entire interview off course. The interviewer smiles, folds her hands together on the table and inquires, “Why do you want to work for us?”. You pause a moment before piecing together a generic compilation of the words, “great company”, “wonderful opportunity”, and “need a job because…” concluded with vague details. She jots something down, thanks you for your time and says that they will be in touch.

That is not the answer that your interviewers are looking for. 

Employers are looking for something specific when they ask this question, and typically it will come up in the very first round of interviews.  Here are a few steps to build a better response that encompasses the reality of why you want work there:


  • Do your research. It is impossible to tell someone why you want to work for them if you do not actually know yourself. Research the company – find out what they do, how they do it and why it is done that way. If you have any contacts there already, reach out to them. Learn as much as possible about the company and the role ahead of time.


  • Tell the truth, but give relevant responses. It may be true that you need a job to pay off your car or afford daycare. It is not, however, relevant to the question at hand. The employer wants to hear what specifically about the company and role appeals to you and why. Maybe it aligns with professional goals you have set, maybe the company offers great training opportunities and is highly regarded as an ethical company or maybe you are looking to get back into a similar set of responsibilities as your last position. Whatever the case, include the relevant facts, rather than the extraneous ones.


  • Paint them a picture. Your answer to this question is a great way to showcase your skill set, your passion and your future goals. Show that you are a motivated and driven individual.


The next time that someone asks you why you want to work for them, you should be able to identify a clear, concise and truthful answer.


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