“So, why do you want to work here?”
Your interviewer is listening closely to your answer: No business wants to end up with a candidate whose sole motive is to cast a wide net, hoping to land a job anywhere. Instead, your interviewer wants this job to be your top choice. Because of this, there are a few responses that probably won’t go over well:
“Well, I just moved here, and I need to pay my rent.”
“I heard you guys give your employees free lunch every week.”
“This is my fifth choice, soo…”
Unlike other interview questions, your answer will change based on the company you’re interviewing for, so it’s important to do some pre-interview prep and listen carefully during your interview. Here are a few quick tips for the best response.
Research, research, research.
You CANNOT answer this question without doing some research beforehand. Check Google News, the company website and its social media handles: What are some cool initiatives that the company has carried out–anything that resonated with you? Has the company been recently recognized in the press? What first appealed to you about the job description and what’s the one unique thing about the company unlike anything you’ve come across in your job search?
Once you take the time to answer these questions thoughtfully, it will be clear that you’ve been keeping a close eye on the company and that you have a genuine interest in getting the job.
Repeat what your interviewer says about the company.
Coming in with a prepared response is critical, but it’s also great to weave in points your interviewer made into the conversation. For example, you can say something like, “I was initially drawn in because of X, Y, and Z, but after hearing you talk about the work culture and your journey at the company, it reminded me of the type of support I’m looking for in my next role.”
Your interviewer will be impressed that you’ve been listening carefully during your interview and will love that his or her experience impacted your positive impression of the company.
Talk about cultural fit.
Cultural fit is a huge factor in the hiring process – your GPA and your grades matter, but your personality has equal weight as well. Companies like Google and Warby Parker even conduct the “layover test” on interviewees in which current employees will ask each other, “Would you want to be stuck with this person during a 6-hour layover?”
You’re at an advantage to incorporate this into your answer if you’ve spoken to multiple people during your interview and have gotten a sense of the types of people who work at the company. You can say something like, “Everyone I’ve met so far has a strong sense of drive–from working extra hours to going beyond the scope of a project. I’m motivated by the people around me, so that kind of passion is something I’m looking for in my next role.”
Remember that the most important thing to convey through your answer is that you’re not passive in your job search. You’re carefully assessing each job you’re applying for and being selective about the ones you choose to move forward with. Show your interviewer that you’re a serious, thoughtful candidate, and he or she will treat you like one.