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‘Why do you want to work here?’ – prepare well for the one sure question

It’s hard to answer this question in a way that is original and still relevant. If you try and come up with an answer to deliberately make yourself stand out, your reply may seem artificial.

‘Why do you want to work here?’ – prepare well for the one sure question

Any employer is going to want to know why you are applying for their post. The tough thing is that the reason you are in front of them is probably the reason most other applicants are.

There are three steps that can help you tackle the inevitable question in a way that takes your reply from average to outstanding.


You have heard it before but remember taking a good look at the company’s website isn’t enough. You’ll need to go beyond the basic facts to make a good impression, repeating key lines from the company’s publicity material is not going to work well for you. Leave that to the other candidates!

Look to see if there are any news articles about the company. Dig a little in the trade journals and publications that cover the sector you are interested in. If there are links to press coverage on the company’s website, read through them carefully. Does the company have a Youtube channel? Spend some time watching the films.

Is the company involved in design, tech or anything that might figure in Google images? Comb through those to find websites that are talking about or reviewing the company’s products. What is being said? Are there reviews of the service the company offers? If so, maybe they can feed into how you present yourself and the skills you can offer the post.

Good points to base your answer on

Once you have a clear idea of what the company is up to and how you can fit into what they offer, try basing your answer on some of the following points – don’t spread yourself to thinly, focus on one or two:

  • The service or product the company provides and why that interests you.
  • The company’s recent successes and the challenges they face.
  • The training and scope for career building they offer.
  • The philosophy or ethic of the company.
  • The company’s culture – what it is like to work for the company.

Be careful not to appear more interested in the perks of the job than the company itself.

Add your reasoning

To lift your answer from standard to memorable, take this one step further and add your reasoning. Simply saying you admire the company because it works hard to find new ways of doing things, as can be seen from the launch of X, shows you have done your research well. But others will have too.

So to really stand out, explain how your skills, interests and experience could feed into the fact you have identified.

For example, ‘The launch of (…) shows how your company aims to find new ways of doing things. My focus was the same when I did (….) in my last job. I achieved (…) by doing what I did. I think the way I handled the challenge matches your goals and your methods, which is one reason I want to work here.’

As a recent article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper says, ‘It's this reflection on what you've researched, and your ability to match up the company's needs and ideals to your own skills and preferences, that will truly impress.’


Related links:

Guardian article: Why do you want to work here? How to answer the million-dollar question

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