How many times have you gone to a job interview that’s for your dream position?
How many times have you gone to a job interview that’s for a gig you need?
Not every position you interview for is THE ONE.
Sometimes you only need work.
But at almost every interview you will ever attend an interviewer will ask:
“Why are you interested in this position? Why do you want to work here?”
And you will have to provide an answer that shows you have a genuine interest in the position. Even if you’re only interested in landing a job position so you can feed yourself.
So, this article will tell you:
- What interviewers want to hear when they ask, “Why do you want to work here?”
- How to prepare a two-part, best answer for this basic job interview question.
- Best answers for the “why are you interested in this position” interview question.
And if you want to turn every interview into a job offer, get our free checklist: 42 Things You Need To Do Before, During, and After Your Big Interview. Make sure nothing will slip your mind!
Why Do You Want to Work Here? - What Interviewers Are Asking
What are interviewers actually asking?
Well, “why do you want to work here” is another two-part, basic job interview question. So, the interviewer wants to know two things:
- Why do you want to work for the company?
- Why are you applying for the position?
The “why do you want to work here” and the “why are you interested in this position” interview question can also reveal:
- If you want THE job or if you want A job. If you want THE job position, there’s a greater chance that you will do a good job. You might also stick around for awhile.
- If you’re the type of employee that takes the time to go the extra mile. Taking time to do the research and prepare for the interview says a lot about you as a future employee.
- Who you are as a person. What is it that’s going to drive you as an employee? Are you like-minded? Are you going to be a good fit?
Here’s the thing. Job seekers often send out their resumes to hundreds of companies fishing for a bite. They don’t necessarily want to work for a particular company. No, they want a job.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that. But hiring managers do want good employees who will stay with the company.
That’s why you need to convince the hiring manager that you’re interested in both the
company and the position.
So, what’s the key to answering this question? RESEARCH.
Here are some other ways the interviewer may phrase the “why are you interested in this position” interview question:
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why do you want this job?
- What interests you about this job?
- Why do you want this job position?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Why this company?
Pro Tip: While the best responses will cover both the company and position, you shouldn’t go on and on forever. Keep your answer short and to the point.
Want more basic job interview questions and answers? Read our ultimate guide: “Most Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers (+20 Examples)”
How to Prepare for the “Why Do You Want to Work Here” Interview Question
The first step to providing the best answer to the “why do you want to work here” interview question is to research your company.
We’ll use Google as an example here. Google ranks as the number one best place to work on Fortune’s top 100 list for 2017. And why not?
The company is famous for it’s tricked out offices and employee benefits. From free gourmet meals to parental leave, the company likes to take care of its employees.
They are also famous for their weird interview questions. For example:
“How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”
But did you know that Google asks the same typical interview questions as everyone else?
In particular, Google says point blank that you’re going to get the “why are you interested in this position” interview question. And they even tell you how to prepare for it.
Tell a story. Have three stories. Just in case. Write your stories down and practice telling them. But start with a story that makes you personable.
Research. And then tell a story.
A good first stop is the company’s website.
Google has packed their “About Page” full of information. So, what do you do when faced with a corporate site loaded with info? How do you know what is relevant to your search?
Start by making a list of things that make you want to work for the company.
- What do I know about the company that makes me admire them?
- Do I admire a product or service they provide?
- Do I admire their work culture or company values?
- Is there a leader or person at the company that inspires me?
- Is the company’s success, growth, or prestige what inspires me?
- Do they have benefits, training, and career paths that excite me?
- Is the company socially responsible and do I care about it?
Write down a couple of points after asking each question to streamline your approach.
Next, go to the company’s website to look for supporting details.
Keep the original interview question in the back of your mind.
“Why do you want to work here?”
And eventually, “Why are you interested in this position?”
It’s best if what you admire about the company ties into the open position.
Back to our Google example:
What do I know about Google that makes me admire them?
How about the obvious:
Google is the biggest search engine in the world. There’s prestige to working for a company that’s the best in the world at what they do.
What can I find on the website that will help me add some pizazz to my answer?
Choose something you admire about the company. Back it up with some smart insights that show you’ve done your homework.
Google is the number one search engine in the world. I want to work for a company with that level of prestige. Plus, I admire Larry and Sergey’s mission to organize the world’s information. It’s a monumental task. I remember the early days of the Internet. Out of nowhere there was a tool that put all the world’s information at your fingertips. The problem was having to sift through mountains of content you didn’t want. Google changed all that.
Choose a detail that doesn’t require you to know anything about the company.
I want to work for Google because then I wouldn’t have to commute to work because I would take the Google buses.
Think about it like this.
You wouldn’t tell a guy on the first date that you want to go out with him because he’s convenient. No, you date him because he’s special.
Same rules apply.
Next stop, press releases, and other recent media.
Once you’re done panning for gold on the company’s website, it’s a good idea to check out the company in the press. Adding a current event to your “why are you interested in this position” answer means you pay attention.
There are a few places to look:
- Check the company’s website to see if there are recent press releases.
- Check the company’s press mentions on Google.
- Search high-authority publications in your niche for recent mentions.
To look up the company on Google, type in the name of the company and select “News.”
You will see all recent news stories on the company. If you want to refine your search, select “Tools” and then “Recent.” You can then choose how recent you want the stories to be.
Let’s use Wegmans Food Markets as our next example. The supermarket chain ranks second on Fortune’s list of the best places to work.
So, typing “Wegmans Food Markets” into Google and selecting “News” shows:
- The company is expanding.
- The company is philanthropic.
One article notes that Wegmans participated in a food drive for its 25th year in a row. On the company’s website, you notice Wegmans has been philanthropic since the 1970’s.
You like the idea of a company that gives back to its community.
So, why are you interested in this position? Why do you want to work for us?
Point to shared values to show the company you’re a good fit.
Wegmans Food Markets has a reputation for philanthropic and community service. I read an article that says the company participated in the “Check Out Hunger” campaign for the 25th year in a row. That’s great! Plus when every other article refers to the company as a “regional phenomenon,” it’s hard to ignore. I want to work for a company that has that kind of impact. It’s important that businesses care for their communities the way Wegmans does.
Point out that you heard there was an opening so, here you are.
I heard that Wegmans was hiring so I applied. That’s about it.
All you have to do is choose an aspect of the company you honestly admire. Being genuine can help you be enthusiastic.
That way you won’t be caught off guard when the interviewer asks, “Why are you interested in this position? Why do you want to work here?” No, your answer will be enthusiastic enough for them to believe that you want to work for them.
Check in with your network.
Last but not least, check your network for people you may know who already work for the company.
You can get all sorts of insider information from people in your network. From products to work culture, current employees are in the know.
Consider taking it a step further. Practice your best answers with your contact person.
Pro Tip: Don’t overdo it. There’s a thin line between admiration and obsession. Even if you do obsess about the company, you don’t want to come off as if you’re trying too hard.
Want to know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to better connect with your network? Read our guide: “How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary & Profile to Get More Jobs”
How to Answer “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”
After you explain why you want to work for the company, you’ll want to add why you want the position. So, where’s the best place to find information about the open position?
Your job description!
Let’s take a look at a job description for an Audio Composer/Designer:
The position is for sound design for video games.
Now, you can take your answer in two directions. First, you can focus on an aspect from the job description that you find the most exciting.
I want to work on video games!
Second, you can focus on an aspect from the job description that doubles as one of your major strengths.
I’m excited about the position because I’m a natural born genius at game audio scripting. Plus, your company is my dream company. So, that makes this position my dream job!
Notice how the candidate moves from the position to answering the “why do you want to work here” question as well.
You can also combine an aspect from the job description that’s both exciting and a strength.
Try for both. To construct a best answers for the “why are you interested in this position” interview question - do both.
I have 3+ years of experience in game audio scripting. I’m interested in this position because I want to work on PS4 and XBOX One games. I have an understanding of the functionality and limitations of these devices. But I’ve mostly worked on PC audio scripting in the past. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get into audio scripting for game consoles.
Why do I want this job position? I think it would be sweet to design some sound for video games. I’ve worked as an audio composer for awhile now. But never for games so this position is exciting for me.
When it comes to tailoring your answer to the job description, don’t disqualify yourself.
You don’t want to give the impression that you don’t care enough about the job position to know exactly what it is.
Interviewers ask “why are you interested in this position” in part because they want to find out if you know what the job position entails. Otherwise, you might not want to do it when you find out the details.
Again, to give a best answer, refer to elements of the job description that attracted you in the first place.
Pro Tip: Provide a detailed answer. Details show the interviewer that you took the time to think about the position.
Tailoring your answer to the job description is the same as tailoring your resume. Find out how: “6 Proven Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description”
Best “Why Are You Interested in This Position” and “Why Do You Want to Work Here” Sample Answers
Now, it’s time to combine both parts of your answer:
The company plus the position.
Let’s say you’re applying for the post of a Hilton Hotel Groundskeeper.
What would be your best answer for the “why do you want to work for us” interview question?
Start with why you want to work for the company. End with why you’re interested in the position.
I’ve always wanted to work for Hilton Hotels. With almost 100 years of tradition, Hilton has values and a mission I admire. For example, I admire that the company is willing to pay the full cost for team members to get their GEDs. Also, the name Hilton conjures up ideas of luxury, comfort, and quality. And that shows that Hilton is succeeding in its mission to be the most hospitable hotel chain in the world.
Hilton Hotel’s landscaping inspires me. That’s why I am interested in the position of Groundskeeper. I have a BA in Landscaping and have done projects inspired by your Pattaya, Thailand location. I would love the opportunity to do a bit of landscaping. Plus it would make me proud to tell people that I do groundskeeping and maintenance for Hilton.
Hilton is cool! I’ve wanted to work here since that episode of Mad Men where Don Draper is negotiating with Conrad Hilton. Did you see that episode? Anyway, it would be fun to work for such a big, global company. Plus, when you think of hotels, you think of Hilton. So, I wanted to try you guys out first. I mean why work at Embassy Suites or the Hotel Motel Holiday Inn when you can work at Hilton?
Pro Tip: Remember that companies want to hire people that want to work for them. Why? Because that means you’re going to do a better job and stay longer.
At the end of the day, the perfect “why are you interested in this position” response needs to at least demonstrate a genuine interest on your part in both the company and the position.
After you ace your interview, what comes next? Sending a thank you email. Read our guide: “How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview (+10 Examples)”
Bonus: Download FREE step-by-step checklist of things to do before an interview. “Things You Need To Do Before Your Big Interview.”
The key to a best answer for the “why are you interested in this position” or the “why do you want to work here” interview question is research. And that’s true even if you’re applying for a fast food job to get a temporary cash flow.
Take the time to find out a little bit more about the company. Take the time to think about what made the open position attractive to you in the first place.
If you can do that, you can provide a genuine answer to one of the most basic job interview questions out there. And that’s all an interviewer wants to hear.
Still not sure how to research your company or position? We can help! Leave us a comment, and we will help you find out how to research your new job position before the big day.
Show You’ve Gone Beyond The “About Us” Page
Many people can do a decent job of talking about their skills, experience, and motivation, but still fail to make a convincing case when talking about a prospective employer’s actual business. Recruitment experts usually find that candidates often focus on what the job will do for them, rather than what they will do for the company. These candidates need a simple shift in focus.
Genuine enthusiasm for the company and its business is a powerful way to get the interviewer to take an interest in you and your application, so you should treat this part of the question as an opportunity to show the interviewer that you’ve done your research on the company.
Make sure that your research is current and relevant to the question and shows that you’ve been keeping abreast of the company’s development plans. Setting a news alert on a search engine for the company you’re interviewing for can be a great help in the days preceding your interview.
You could choose to refer to a recent piece of news regarding the company’s success or its expansion plans, then explain how you would like to contribute during this exciting period of growth. What you say is part of the story, but most important is to let your enthusiasm shine through; it’s all about showing you want to commit to that company, and that it’s not just a job.
If you’re being interviewed by your prospective boss, focusing on your personal contribution has particular power; if you’re looking forward to helping the company succeed, then you’ll also be making your prospective boss look good.
Connect What Motivates You To The Job Description
Some hiring managers will ask you directly what motivates you to do great work in order to see whether you’re just in it for the paycheck. This is a great opportunity to explain why this job at this company, and not just a job at any company, is what you’re after.
Most of us go to work each Monday morning, at least in part, so we’ll be paid by the end of the month. But as both you and your potential employer have probably discovered, people who are motivated solely by the money are rarely the most enthusiastic, productive, or successful members of the team. The jobs you excel at will be ones that really get you buzzing–that you find you enjoy in some way and have some intrinsic motivation for. Your interviewer wants to know if this job will be one of those jobs for you.
At this stage in the interview game, you should have a solid idea of what you want out of your next career move, what sort of jobs and tasks energize you, and, hopefully, why this particular opening fits those requirements. Now all you have to do is explain what drives you to the interviewer, being sure to highlight why this job matches your motivations. So if you’ve prepared properly, connecting those dots should be relatively straightforward, as long as you avoid these common pitfalls:
Excessive flattery. You may be interviewing for your dream job, but coming across as a complete fanboy (or -girl) is only going to make you sound desperate. No job is perfect and no one likes a fawner. Make sure the interviewer knows you think the role is a great fit for your motivations, but don’t overdo it.
Trivial motivations (at least in the eyes of the employer). You may be looking for a shorter commute, but this isn’t the time to mention it. Employers want you to be intrinsically motivated by the work itself, so avoid discussing other outside factors like slight pay increases, convenient hours, or plain boredom at your old job.
The appearance of random chance. Your resume might represent a whole lot of trial and error or be full of jobs you took simply because they were available at the time and seemed okay, but companies don’t like to think of themselves as the latest random employer you stumbled upon. They want you to want to work for them for carefully thought-out reasons, so make sure that when you’re talking about your career motivations you emphasize a rational progression from job to job–a coherent career story–that this latest company fits into.
Put that all together, and what does a good answer look like? A thoughtful answer that lays out how your personal motivations and the specific characteristics of the job line up. Here’s an example:
I went into IT straight out of college, and while I enjoyed using my skills helping people in the organization solve their computer problems, what really motivated me was when I got to work on a project a couple of years later assessing which software tools to purchase and how we could customize them to meet our own needs. I found that I really loved translating people’s requirements into technical solutions. It was like working out the answer to a fun puzzle and it made my day when they told me how much easier the new software made their jobs. Plus, the challenge pushed me to keep learning, which is something else I find holds my interest at work. That’s when I decided I eventually wanted to move into a role that combines IT and people skills.
This article is adapted from 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed, published by Plume, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by James Reed. It is reprinted with permission.