How to Answer ‘Why Do You Want to Work Here?’

When preparing for an interview, you want to make sure to put your best foot forward in selling your strengths, skills and background for the job. However, you also have to be prepared for ancillary questions like, “Why do you want to work for us?” Surprisingly, this question can sometimes be difficult for professionals to answer because they don’t necessarily prepare for it, focusing more on how to sell themselves effectively. Read on for examples of good and bad ways to answer this common interview question below.

Why Do Companies Ask This Question?

Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are truly excited about the job position, and this is a great way to find out a candidate’s motives for applying. Asking job candidates this question also allows them to see which candidates have done their due diligence and really researched the company. They will be looking for insightful answers, not just vague and general responses.

[READ: 10 Communication Skills for Your Resume.]

How to Prepare Your Answer

It can be a challenge to know how to be authentic and genuine in your response while at the same time impressing the hiring manager. Ask yourself that very question as you prepare for your job interview: “Why do I want to work here?” To find the answer, start by researching the organization.

You can research the organization by looking at its company website, LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. You can also do a general search and see if they have appeared in any industry or news articles. Look at things like their mission statement and their blog, as well as articles they post on social media. Have they made any contributions to their industry? Do they make a product that you feel makes a difference? Do they give back to the community? Do they regularly implement the newest technology? Make some notes about what speaks to you about the company and/or the department you would be working in.

Once you have done your research, take your notes and consider what you can personally contribute to those points. What skills do you have that can help the organization reach its goals? What would you do to help the company? How do you fit into the company’s mission?

[READ: 10 Communication Skills for Your Resume.]

Good Ways to Answer ‘Why Do You Want to Work Here?’

A good answer to this question should include something that stood out to you in your research about the company, what that means to you, and the contribution that you could make. Your answer doesn’t have to be long, but it should be meaningful. Consider the following examples:

— “I researched your company’s values and mission statement and they really resonate with me. VALUE NAME is also a professional value of mine that I try to live by daily. I believe that makes me a great fit for this position, and I would strive to help the department implement those values on a greater scale.”

This type of answer lets the hiring manager know that you have done your research and that you aren’t just looking for a temporary job. When you let them know you have similar values, that signals that you would be a good long-term employee.

— “When I first saw the job listing, I knew I could make a positive impact in this position since I enjoy tasks such as managing data and projections. When I looked further into your organization, I was impressed with how you try to make a difference in the local community. That made me even more excited at the prospect of being part of something meaningful.”

It’s OK to let the hiring manager know that you didn’t know too much about the organization when checking job posts. Expressing that you looked further into the company and want to be part of something meaningful signals that you will be a diligent employee.

— “I am impressed by the rewards that your organization has received for being a leader in the industry. It would be an honor to work for one of the top organizations in the industry, and I know I can make an immediate contribution.”

Letting the hiring manager know that it would be an honor to work for them lets them know that you have put thought into the type of company you want to work for and represent. This gives them insight into your values and how you take pride in your work.

— “I have a few friends who work for you in DEPARTMENT NAMES, and their comments about your organization have always impressed me. I know this is an excellent organization to work for and it would be a pleasure to work with such an outstanding group of people.”

By letting the hiring manager know that you already know someone in the organization, this can signal that you would fit into the company culture quickly.

— “I have used your product for years and I always recommend it to my friends and family. I truly believe in your product and I am excited at the possibility of being able to work directly for a company that makes such a wonderful product.”

An employee who gives a great testimonial is a great asset. Letting the hiring manager know that you are already familiar with the product and you are a faithful customer lets them know you would also be a faithful employee.

— “I appreciate your well-thought-out articles on LinkedIn as well as your other social media handles. I am excited about the opportunity not only to work in X department but also to work for a company that uses its voice on social media in a positive way.”

Letting the hiring manager know that you follow them on social media is a great way to show that you are up to date with what the company writes about. This indicates that you would be an employee who stays up to date with department tasks and company news.

[READ: What Is a CV or Curriculum Vitae?]

Bad Ways to Answer ‘Why Do You Want to Work Here?’

When a hiring manager asks, “Why are you interested in working for us?” you need to be careful not to focus on only the job benefits or what you can get out of the organization. Companies want employees who are excited about their jobs and who believe in the company, not someone who will just take any job.

Here are some examples of how you shouldn’t answer this question:

— “I need this job to pay my bills.”

While this may be a truthful answer, don’t focus on the paycheck. You want to show the hiring manager that you love what you do and aren’t just in it for the money.

— “The job description sounds good.”

This response is too vague. Your answer needs to be more specific. If you are nervous during the interview, ask for a moment to collect your thoughts before answering the question.

— “Your company has great health care.”

You may be impressed by how the company takes care of its own, but this type of wording makes it seem that you only care about what you can get out of the company. There is a delicate balance between being excited about benefits and letting it show too much.

The “Great Resignation” has opened up a lot of new possibilities for professionals looking for a new job. However, if you find after researching the organization that you don’t feel excited about working for them and can’t honestly answer that interview question, that’s a signal that the job isn’t the best fit for you. Keep looking until you feel excited about the answer to, “Why do you want to work here?”

More from U.S. News

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How to Answer ‘Why Do You Want to Work Here?’ originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 04/25/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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