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How to Answer "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

Starting a new job is like beginning an adventure into the unknown. The thrill of new possibilities is intoxicating, but the stakes are high. That's why few interview questions elicit as much anxiety as the seemingly simple "Why do you want to work here?"

This loaded question tests your knowledge, passion, and cultural fit simultaneously. Bombarded by so much pressure, even the most qualified candidates need help to make a great impression.

But with the proper preparation, you can leverage this crucial question to showcase your unique value and land your dream job. This comprehensive guide will explore every dimension of crafting a compelling answer, from deeply researching the company to tailoring your response. Follow these pro tips to confidently ace the "Why this company?" question at your following interview.

Decoding the Psychology Behind the Question

Before diving into specifics, it's helpful to understand why employers obsess over this question. At its core, it reveals:

  • Passion for the company's mission: Interviewers want to gauge your genuine enthusiasm and alignment with the company's goals. Are you intrinsically motivated by their vision?

  • Cultural fit: Hiring managers seek recruits who mesh well with company values and norms. Does your personality and work style complement the existing environment?

  • Career motives: Employers assess why you feel this role is the best next step for you. Are you seeking meaningful growth opportunities?

  • Preparedness: The quality of your answer demonstrates how much research you've done about the company. Have you invested time to understand the role?

  • Strategic thinking: Interviewers evaluate your rationale for pursuing this opportunity. Do you have well-thought-out reasons?

The "why us" question offers a window into your priorities, self-awareness, and strategic decision-making. A thoughtful answer demonstrates your preparation, ambition, and genuine enthusiasm.

Immersing Yourself in Company Research

With so much on the line, you must demonstrate an intimate understanding of the company's inner workings. Skip the basic skim of their website. Go deep with extensive research to find relevant details that resonate with you.

Dig Into Their Story

  • Review their "About Us" page and timeline to understand how the company developed. What original problem were they trying to solve? How have they evolved?

  • Study their blog, leadership profiles, press releases, and news coverage to grasp current challenges, priorities, and initiatives.

  • Browse their social media channels to see what content and causes they share with their community. This reveals an authentic brand personality.

Analyze Their Mission and Values

  • Carefully read their mission, vision, diversity statements, and code of conduct. Do their goals align with yours? Do their values match what's important to you in an employer?

  • Check their employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Do workers feel the company lives up to its stated values? Watch out for discrepancies.

Understand Their Place in Their Industry

  • Research their position in the competitive landscape. Who are their biggest competitors, and how do they differentiate? Where do they excel or trail peers?

  • Look for any recent awards or recognition. Success on "best places to work" lists suggests a strong culture.

  • Follow industry publications to gain context about the company's challenges and opportunities in its niche.

Linking Your Goals to the Company's Needs

Once you've immersed yourself in company insights, identify specific needs, goals, pain points, and priorities that overlap with your career aspirations. Highlight opportunities to contribute directly.

  • Carefully study the job description, highlighting must-have skills and responsibilities.

  • Identify how your expertise and accomplishments directly address their top requirements for the role. Give specific examples.

Sync with Their Priorities

  • Take note of the company's current challenges and initiatives from your research.

  • Show how your experience, values, and interests align with their pressing needs and opportunities.

Bridge Skill Gaps

  • If your background doesn't match their wish list, highlight transferable skills from roles in different industries or non-work contexts.

  • Provide cases where you rapidly learned new skills to meet evolving responsibilities.

Share Their Future Vision

  • Tell the hiring manager how their company vision excites you. Be specific about initiatives or projects you want to contribute to.

  • Ask insightful questions that demonstrate your understanding of their strategic goals. Share ideas for innovation.

Crafting Your Winning Response

You've set the groundwork. Put it together in a compelling answer that makes your fit obvious. Strike the right personal tone to win over hiring managers.

Lead with Your Origin Story

Briefly explain what initially drew you to apply for this role. Share critical moments that sparked your passion for the company's mission.

  • Maybe you were once a delighted customer. Or you were inspired by their community involvement. Founders' stories may have impacted you.

Double Down on Shared Values

Connect your core values and priorities to the company's culture and work. Share why those commonalities matter to you.

  • You may value diversity, sustainability, transparency, innovation, or work/life balance. Give examples of how the company lives those values.

Demonstrate Deep Understanding

Reference specifics from your research to reveal Thoughtful insights about the company. Avoid vague platitudes.

  • Mention a strategic partnership that excites you or a new market the company is expanding into. Share ideas to build on projects or initiatives underway.

Explain Why This Role

Clearly tell the interviewer why this opportunity is your best next step.

  • Share why their projects or challenges motivate you.

  • The role may allow you to develop skills critical for your 5-year plan.

Imagine the Possibilities

Describe your vision for how your contributions can help the company meet strategic goals. Paint the picture of your potential impact.

Close With Enthusiasm

Express genuine excitement for the company's mission and your ability to share your talents in a collaborative environment. End on a confident note.

Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague

Just as important as saying the right things is sidestepping disastrous mistakes. Dodge these cringe-worthy responses at all costs:

Canned or Vague Answers

Specificity is key. Shallow answers make you seem disinterested. Avoid:

  • "You seem like a great company."

  • "This role is the perfect next step for me."

Focusing on Perks

Don't let juicy benefits overshadow the work itself. You'll sound entitled, not passionate. Avoid:

  • "I heard you have great 401(k) matching."

  • "Your office snacks are amazing, from what I hear."

Badmouthing Previous Employers

Negativity and blame cast you in an unprofessional light. Take the high road. Avoid:

  • "My current boss is the worst."

  • "I'm not valued on my current team."

Chasing a Paycheck

While compensation matters, don't make it your core focus. You'll come across as mercenary rather than mission-driven. Avoid:

"Your salaries are the best around."

"Frankly, you pay more than competitors."

Bringing It All to Life: 

Seeing strong examples in action makes it sink in. 

Conveying Commitment Through Body Language

Your verbal response is just one part of the equation. Nonverbal cues influence your impact and authenticity. Use positive body language to supplement your words:

  • Maintain an open posture with arms uncrossed. Lean slightly forward to signal engagement.

  • Establish direct eye contact. Nod and smile to affirm shared viewpoints.

  • Mirror the interviewer's subtle gestures and energy level to build quick rapport.

  • Avoid distracting nervous tics like jiggling legs or tapping pens that undermine your confidence.

  • Gesture palms up to invite their thoughts. Keep hand motions purposeful, not distracting.

Your body language should reflect your enthusiasm. Small signals can make you more likable and memorable.

Proactively Engaging the Interviewer

An impressive monologue still needs to include key opportunities to connect. After sharing your answer, get the interviewer invested with intelligent questions:

  • What traits do the most successful people here tend to share?

It gives them insights about fitting in.

  • What attracted you to this company personally?

Let them share their own story. Builds rapport.

  • In your opinion, what is the most exciting thing happening here right now?

Shows your curiosity and enthusiasm. Surfaces insider passion projects.

  • What do you enjoy most about working with this team?

Reveals collaborative culture and values.

Keep it conversational. Their responses provide context to customize your responses all interview long.

You've Got This

Interviews are your chance to showcase unique value beyond what's on paper. Seize the opportunity to share your powerful story. With diligent company research and genuine passion, you will master the "Why us?" question. Your dream job is much closer than you think.


What if you need help finding enough information while researching the company?

  • Leverage broader industry reports, customer reviews, and competitor analysis to understand company positioning. Follow their social media for cultural clues. Ask contacts who have worked there.

Is it OK to never have heard of the company before applying?

  • It's OK to discover a great match through the application process. But be honest if the company is new to you, and emphasize your dedication to learning as much as possible since applying.

Can you say you're drawn to stability or work/life balance?

  • It's reasonable to mention seeking work/life balance as long as you connect it to how the company culture supports those values. But avoid focusing only on stability or other self-serving factors.

What if aspects of the job only interest you a little day-to-day?

  • Find honest ways to convey enthusiasm about the company's vision and team collaboration. You don't need to act fascinated by every daily task as long as you believe in the big-picture impact.

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