By Emilie-Noelle Provost
“Why do you want to work here?” is one of the most common interview questions employers ask—and it’s one of the easiest to get wrong.
Candidates often make the mistake of listing every transition in their career that has led them to that point, or they talk only about their future goals and how a particular job will put them one step closer to attaining them.
While it’s always good to demonstrate your enthusiasm, employers ask why you want to work at their company to find out how your skills and experience can help them meet their business objectives, whether you’re a good fit for the company’s culture, and how your career goals align with what they’re looking to accomplish.
Employers ask why you want to work at their company to find out how your skills and experience can help them meet their business objectives.
To help you ace your next job interview, here are two ways you can answer the question and let your prospective employer know why you really want the job—while helping you stand out among your fellow candidates.
Read more: The Complete Guide to Getting a Job
Because I want to help the company reach its goals...
Knowing how the role you’re interviewing for could potentially benefit the company is essential.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a sales position responsible for generating a portion of a company’s revenue, rather than saying, I’d love to have this job because I’d be able to make more money in commissions, say something more specific that would give your interviewer important information about how your goals can help the company:
In my current position, I helped increase my company’s annual revenue by $2 million, but I feel that I’ve reached the limit of my growth potential. I’d love to work here because my experience and contacts would allow me to achieve a much higher sales goal.
Because my core values fit with the company’s core values...
Having an understanding of a company’s culture and how it fits with your beliefs and professional goals can be helpful in landing you a job.
If one of your goals is to work at a woman-focused company, for example, you could say...
I read an article that talked about how 50 percent of the people who were promoted to management positions here last year were women, and I was really impressed with that. Working for a company that supports women in their careers is important to me.
You could also say something like…
I appreciate the way your company supports employees with families by offering flexible work hours.
This puts the focus on the company and what you find attractive about its culture, rather than...
I’m looking to work for a company that will let me go home if my child gets sick.
Which puts the focus on you.
Companies are looking for employees with good critical thinking skills and the ability to find innovative solutions to problems. Answering the question, “why do you want to work here?” during a job interview provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate that you have both.