How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Work Here?”(Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

Updated 5/7/2022

There comes a time in every job seekers quest for the perfect position when they come across a question that seems simple at first glance, but is surprisingly tricky to answer. When the hiring manager rolls out the common “Why do you want to work here?” interview question, it’s easy to fall into a trap and choose the wrong answer.

After all, the bottom line is you need a job; shouldn’t that be enough? Actually, it’s not. In the end, the situation isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Instead, the hiring manager is looking for specific information and, if you don’t know what they’re after, it’s easy to stumble. If you want to make sure you nail your response, here’s what you need to know.

Why They Ask The Question “Why Do You Want To Work Here?”

First off, let’s explore why this question is even asked. In many ways, this question two much more complicated and dynamic questions rolled into one. Those are:

  1. Why do you want to work for this company?
  2. Why do you want this job?

Now rather than deciphering the more complex layers, most job seekers will simply answer the question in a straight forward manner: Because I need the work and you guys are offering a great rate of pay.

Okay, that’s honest…which might win you some points. But if you really want to impress your interviewer, you need to make sure that you’re not only answering it, but that you’re answering the layers…and tailoring your answer.

Remember all that research you did on the company before you even got to the interview stage? Here is yet another opportunity for you to not only showcase what you know, but wrap it up with what you can provide skill wise.

With all interview questions, your number one goal is to always be the perfect candidate. In all cases, that includes making sure you align your skills and qualities with the values and needs of the company.

Additionally, the hiring manager wants to know you’re excited about the opportunity. In the end, happiness makes professionals productive (12 percent more based on one study, and 13 percent more according to another). If they don’t think you legitimately like the role, they may pass you by.

So, to sum up what the hiring manager really wants to know when the ask “Why do you want to work here?” they mainly want to know what about the company and job appeals to you. By tapping on those points while also showcasing enthusiasm, you’re usually covering all of the bases.

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Mistakes To Avoid

1. Being too honest:

“Uh, because I’m totally unemployed and sorta desperate at this moment which means my standards for what I’ll do for money are pretty low and flexible right now, including working for you.”

Again, bonus points for being honest. Although we always encourage you to tell the truth, there is a time and place for this level of transparency, and this isn’t it. It makes it seem as if the role is inconsequential, and that’ll never work in your favor.

2. Being too generic:

“Well, it seems like this is a super cool company to work for and it would be great to be able to get a job here.”

Not only is this answer generic, but it doesn’t showcase any of the research that you’ve done on the company or the position. In the end, that kind of answer won’t stand out. Plus, it’s a missed opportunity to showcase your passion for the opportunity and your capabilities.

3. A boring apathetic answer:

“I dunno.  I saw you were hiring.  Guess you wouldn’t be advertising if you didn’t have a job opening and I could really use one…a job that is.  So…we gonna do this or what?”

Your job is to convince the hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate, and this approach doesn’t do that. It makes the job seem inconsequential. Plus, it’s a hair pushy, which isn’t ideal.

4. Being wishy washy:

“Uh, I don’t know.  I mean, I need a job and well, you guys have a super cool website and I really like your company logo colors so I guess…give me a chance?”

With this answer, any reference to the company is incredibly superficial, which isn’t great. Couple that with asking for a change – a strategy that makes it seem as if you lack confidence – and there’s a high chance the hiring manager is passing you by.

5. Being inappropriately funny:

“Because you guys need me.  I’m the best of the best and then there’s the rest.”

Shockingly, out of the five example bad answers, this one is actually closest to what you do want to say…just maybe not in quite such a cocky way.  No, seriously, this is close.  Keep reading to see what we mean!

How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Work Here? / Why Do You Want To Work For Us?”

If you’re wondering how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” the process is actually surprisingly simple. The first thing you need to do to prepare for this question is to ask it yourself.  Just “Why do you want to work for this company?” What do they offer that makes working there enticing?

Is it just the paycheck that interests you? If that’s all you can find, then maybe you should continue to look for another job.  Yes, money is a great incentive, but it shouldn’t be your only incentive, especially as you continue to advance your career.

So, ask again, why do you want to work here?

Remember, every job is a stepping stone to your next position and a job that offers you nothing more than money can be just as big a roadblock as no job. Look at your career goals.  How does this company and this job align with your future plans?  Is this job a stepping stone or a holding cell? Does the position AND company align well with your personal brand?

If you get this job, is it one you really want?  Is it a job you can see yourself doing with enthusiasm?

Is it a job that, when review time comes around, your supervisor can see that you are not only motivated, but a dedicated employee worthy of advancement and bonuses? Or are you like a prisoner…just marking time until you get out?

Once you answer those questions, ask yourself about the company overall.

As you’ve done your pre-interview research, have you come across aspects of the company values and goals that align with what you’re looking for?  Can you work for them in good conscience?

Can you say that what they represent aligns with what you represent?  Would you be proud putting that job on your resume or telling people you work for that corporation in casual conversation?

What is it about the company that attracts you?  What aspects appeal to you?

Is it the job itself or is it something within the company?  Is it their outreach?  Their community service?  Their role in the bigger global market picture?

Ask yourself, “Why do I want to work here?”

Once you start answering these questions, you can then in turn, refine them down into easy to remember answers that will not only impress your interviewer, but help answer an otherwise stupid question!

Now that we’ve answered those questions, the next part of how to answer “Why do you want to work here?” is take those ideas and work them into your own answers for the hiring managers.

MIKE'S TIP:When refining your answers in relation to the company, here a few key ideas to help spark your own answers: Focus your answers to include specifics like the company’s overall core values and reputation. These can also include non-position related things like the company’s community involvement, outreach programs, marketing campaigns, training programs…anything that you find about the company that intrigues you and draws you in.

You can also reference incentive programs and employee awards and or management philosophies.  The idea is you’re digging deeply enough that you’re not only aware of these things but that they resonate with you and make you want to be a part of the corporate structure.

Big insider secret:  all hiring manager want to bring in people who actually want to work with them!

So, let’s practice a few!

“Why Would Do You Want to Work Here?” Example Answers

So, without further do, let’s have a look at a couple examples of how to answer this the “Why do you want to work here?” interview question. Each one if focused on a different approach, making it easier to see how you can proceed depending on what you’d like to highlight.

Company Outreach

“I saw a story a few months ago on the news about the outreach your company does with the local community.  Giving back is a big part of my personal philosophy and I was excited to see that there was a company that felt the same way.  I was elated when I found out there was a job opening in my skill set here.  I would really hope to be able to come to work every day to a place where I knew not only are my technical skills valuable, but my personal philosophies about the value of volunteering are as well.”

Uh, hello.  Perfect answer!  You’re not only aligning yourself with the company as far as philosophy goes, but you’re complimenting the outreach and promoting your skills at the same time.  It’s a triple threat!  Great job!

2. Company Culture

“While I feel that my technical skills are an excellent fit for your needs, the core reason I want to work here is because of the amazing culture. The company’s mission and values align with my own. Plus, your company doesn’t just talk big; it takes action, showing its dedication to its purpose and stated priorities.

“One point that stood out was the commitment to teamwork. I really believe in the value of collaboration, and so when I saw a position with your company to join your engineering department I had to apply.  I believe strongly in working with other people towards a common goal and I know the skills I bring not only as an engineer, but as a team member will not only bring me work satisfaction, but will make me a valuable teammate as well.”

This answer is great because it not only highlights your skills as an engineer but also as an individual who works well with others.

3. Employer Brand

“I believe strongly in going the extra mile for my employer, and I appreciate it when a company feels the same way regarding its employees. As I was reviewing your social media accounts, your employer brand was incredibly clear. While you have high expectations of your workforce, the company holds itself to a high standard, too, ensuring it does its part to promote wellness, offer competitive compensation, and create an optimal workplace for success. In the end, that’s a company I want to join.”

4. Work Arrangements

“As with most professionals, the pandemic altered my perspective on my career and what it means to work hard. I found that remote work didn’t just suit me, it allowed me to thrive both personally and professionally. Along with boosting my productivity, I was able to hone critical skills, including written communication and collaboration. Plus, I had the opportunity to learn a new coding language, all because I eliminated commuting. The ability to work from home is something I value, all because it helps me succeed. The fact that your company offers that as an option, make what was already an enticing job an exceptional fit.”

5. Company Mission

“To put it simply, your company’s mission resonated with me deeply. The mission statement on your company website spoke directly to my priorities and values. Like you, I want to facilitate positive change and harness innovations for the betterment of my community. Due to that, the work becomes meaningful at a whole new level. In the end, that’s the type of place I want to use my technical skills, ensuring my abilities to problem-solve, design systems, and promote the advancement of the field are making a difference far beyond boosting the bottom line.”

Putting It All Together

As we’ve demonstrated above, although there are definitely wrong answers, there are no set right answers to the question “Why do you want to work here?”

Each interview is going to require you to do your homework, your research and tailoring. But once you do, and you really focus down your answers and target them to not only the position, but the company overall, this question might just give you the opportunity to whip out your smartest answers yet!

Just remember to keep your answers short, sweet, honest (but not too honest!)…and above all…

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.