How To Answer Why Do You Want To Work Here

If you’ve been practicing your answers to “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your weaknesses”, add “Why do you want to work here” to the list of possible interview questions.

In fact, you might want to spend a bit more time working on the best response to this question because it might be the most relevant one for HR managers.

Why Do HR Managers Ask “Why Do You Want To Work Here”?

When you hear the question “Why do you want to work here?” different possible responses might come to mind. Over the next few microseconds, you’re processing the reasons why one response might be better than another.

You don’t want the recruiter to think you’re buttering him up by giving a glossed-over answer. Likewise, you don’t want to seem unsure – that the company was Plan B.

To arrive at the best answer, you must first learn why HR managers and hiring managers ask this question.

  1. Gauge Your Level of Commitment – An answer that includes details specific to the company tells the recruiter the candidate took the time to conduct research. It’s also possible that the candidate has been following the growth of the company for a long time.
  2. Determine Your Honesty – You don’t have to include facts, figures, and other statistics or cite the company’s achievements and contributions to the industry as proof of your desire to work for the company. Sometimes it’s better to speak from the heart.
  3. Thought Process – In this age of the “Great Resignation” where employees are resigning en masse due to a preference to a remote work lifestyle, the Hiring Manager would want to know why you chose to go against the trend and work in a brick-and-mortar office.

The job interview is the HR manager’s way of getting to know the candidate better. Clearly, your resume impressed the recruiter enough to put you on the “for interview” list. However, the resume says more about “what” you can do than “who” you are.

How To Answer Why Do You Want To Work Here

You did a wonderful job creating a resume that showed the recruiter your skills, education, and experience qualify you as among the best candidates for the position.

Now it’s time to shift gears and prepare the best answers to questions that will convince the Hiring Manager you’re the ideal candidate for the company.

Personalize Your Answer

Hiring managers have heard it all. Nothing annoys them more than going through cookie-cutter answers that sound rehearsed. Just as “to achieve world peace” isn’t the mandate of Ms. Universe, there are specific reasons why you would rather work for Company A over Company B.

“Your company first caught my attention when I was a freshman in college. I read about your company’s decision to produce organic fertilizer made from hygroscopic powder that needed immersion in non-chlorinated water for activation. It was a game changing innovation in the agricultural industry at that time because instead of adding nitrogen and other substances to enhance soil nutrition, your product boosted its natural microorganisms that resulted in long-term soil health and sustainability. That made your fertilizer product adaptable to more crops because it was no longer a question of balancing out the proportion of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium or if the farmer should add calcium, magnesium or other minerals. I want to be part of an organization that invests in innovations that set it apart from everyone else. ”

The Hiring Manager probably learned more about his employer from you than from the company!

Providing specific information about the company including details that are considered proprietary will show your enthusiasm for the position more than candidates who give generic, generalized answers.

Will it seem like you’re trying too hard when you give a highly-detailed answer to this question?

The answer is “No”. Even if the answer comes across as overly-researched, the Hiring Manager will appreciate the amount of time and effort you took to learn more about the company.

Express Your Passion for the Job

“You could be working for Company XYZ or Company 123, but instead you’re here. Why do you want to work for us?”

It’s a legitimate ice-breaking question by the Hiring Manager who wants to know why you chose them over other perhaps bigger and more profitable companies.

In comparison to the previous answer where you focused on the business-side of the company, this time you want to establish an alignment in personalities – yours and the company’s.

“I want to work for your company because like you, I want to make a difference in the world. Stopping global hunger has been a long time advocacy of mine. I’ve participated in several organizations that rolled out programs designed to stave off hunger in many impoverished communities. Your company’s decision to donate 15% of net profit to charities and NGOs established to curb global hunger is aligned with my lifetime mission. It gives me the best reason to wake up every morning with a smile on my face and head off to work – knowing that the time I put in puts food on the plate of a family in Sri Lanka.”

Expressing your passion for the job highlights “who” you are more than “what” you can do for the company. But remember, the “why” question usually refers to a purpose – the reason why you choose what you do in life.

Over the last few years, more HR departments have shifted their attention on soft skills or behavior/personality traits over hard or technical skills. Organizations have slowly come to the realization that while technical skills can be learned, attitude cannot.

By emphasizing the values you share with the company, you’ll be viewed by HR as someone who might be an ideal fit to the organization’s culture.

You can learn more about the employer’s culture by visiting their website, social media pages, or by meeting with former employees.

Present Your Future

HR Managers don’t just want to hire people who can fill open positions in the company. They are looking for people who foresee a future with the organization.

Presenting the HR Manager with a look into the company’s future with you in it, is going to set you apart from those who’ll come across as candidates who want a bi-monthly paycheck.

“I’m a person who likes to get involved with the different facets of an organization because I want to contribute to its growth. Collaboration or the sharing of knowledge, experience, and relevant skills with multiple channels is the best way to achieve this. I want to work here because I see myself expanding beyond the scope of duties and responsibilities required of this job and toward close collaboration with various departments within the first 3 years. Why? Because the company will immediately realize that I shine when working with teams and various channels.”

Many companies want to develop people from within the organization. There are advantages to promoting within over external hiring. For one, personnel who come from the ranks know the job from the ground up. Second, they have already been indoctrinated in company culture.

A company that promotes from within is also one that has an existing career pathing/succession planning program in place.

Again, conducting research on the company you plan to apply to will play a big role in coming up with the best answer to the question of why you want to work for them.

Establish a Special Connection

Another good way of proving your fit with the company is by establishing a special connection – a bond or a commonality that has likewise shaped your life and influenced your decision to apply for the position.

“I want to work for your company because I can relate to your history and growth as an organization. Artico Frozen Foods Corporation started out with the novel idea of offering frozen foods that can be heated and served as good as freshly cooked meals. The concept wasn’t warmly accepted at the time but through belief and perseverance, the company has grown to what it has today. I find your story inspiring but I consider myself an innovative thinker. Since high school, I’ve been coming up with innovative solutions as business ideas. For example, the insulated warm food holder. Initially, not many classmates believed it could work but eventually through hard work, it sold quite a few pieces. I had other innovative ideas throughout college that addressed issues on food storage for dorm students. It was a challenge selling the concepts to students but the effort was worth it. I believe our shared experiences can foster a strong relationship and you can count on my long-term commitment to your company.”

This answer combines the first 3 tips we discussed.

First, it’s personalized because the candidate mentions the story of how the company, Artico Frozen Foods, got started. Then, he expresses his passion for the company by relating life experiences that are parallel to Artico’s humble origins.

Lastly, he gives the Hiring Manager a look into the future by letting him know that he can expect a long-term commitment from him to work for Artico.


Now, let’s talk about how not to answer!

While honesty is the best policy, such won’t be the case if the HR Manager asks you why you want to work for them.

Even if it’s true, don’t give the following answers:

  • “I need the money.”
  • “You’re the only company that called.”
  • “The job title has a nice ring to it.”
  • “I’ve heard of the perks offered by your company – and I want to get them.”
  • “Your office is close to my home.”
  • “I have nothing better to do.”

You can be honest to a fault – and answers as these won’t get you the job. Always keep in mind that the purpose of the interview is to help the Hiring Manager find the candidate who can contribute to the success of the company.

Discover other  job interview questions and how to answer  them