How to answer ‘why do you want to work for us?’

This is an important question to ask yourself even before you decide to submit an application. Do you genuinely want to work for this company or is it just one of many applications you are making? If it is an opportunity that really excites you your interest and enthusiasm will naturally come across in the interview. You will be much more likely to convince the employer that you are the best candidate.

Why is the interviewer asking this question?

Think about the employer’s objectives in the interview – they want to hire someone who can do the job, who will work well with other members of the team and who really wants to work for the company. If you can find someone who meets these criteria they are unlikely to be a hiring risk. This question is often asked at the beginning of an interview so it is an important one to prepare for and to get right. If you can answer confidently, in an engaging way, you will get the interviewers attention and it could set a positive tone for the rest of the interview

It’s the way I tell ’em’

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

I don’t think there is a definitive way to answer this interview question, it will inevitably depend on your reasons which could be very different from the other candidates. For some applicants it may be the company’s history and reputation, for others it may be the firm’s values and corporate social responsibility agenda for example. Whatever your motivation, I think it is one of those questions where how you say it is almost important as what you say. We meet so many employers at Warwick who like to see the candidates passion when answering interview questions. Remember that enthusiasm is infectious and if you describe why you want to work for the employer with interest and energy you will make a good impression.

Don’t tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear

Try not to make assumptions about what you think the employer wants to hear. It will seem artificial and a little predictable. You are trying to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition and what will really impress the interviewer is when you enthusiastically describe why you want to work for this company. This could be an opportunity to show your commercial awareness , is there a company product, service or strategy that interests you for example? Explain why it does, perhaps you studied it in one of your modules and have an opinion you want to share in your answer.

The power of 3

The ‘rule of 3’ will make you more memorable

This is a technique in speaking or writing that suggests that using ‘threes’ is more memorable and attention grabbing. Try it in your answer to this question, ‘there are three reasons why I would like to work for your company…’ When you have stated your reasons, summarise them, ‘so it’s your culture, employee development strategy and values that really appeal to me…’ The interviewer is more likely to remember you as a candidate that really stood out.

Are your reasons relevant?

If they are important factors for you and motivated you to apply, then yes. You could have met a company employee at a careers fair and thought they were very approachable and friendly – representing the kind of company and office environment you’d like to work in. You may have read about an initiative where the the company invests in community projects, as someone who has volunteered for a voluntary organisation this may align with your values. So personal experiences and motivation are as valid in the answer to this question as an interest in the company business model or products, for example.

How to construct your answer to this question…

You don’t want to sound over rehearsed and robotic but preparing for a question that you are very likely to be asked is important, you want your enthusiasm and interest to really shine through. Framing your answer in a way that shows the employer what you can bring to this role and organisation can be very effective:

I’d like to work for this company because…

I would be an advocate for the company’s environmental and sustainability strategies as someone who is passionate about these issues

my skills & experiences are very suited to this role. I believe my communication and teamwork skills would help me to contribute to your supportive and collaborative culture’

the content of my degree has given me knowledge that will help me to make a contribution to the firm’

‘the development of your new product means that this is an exciting time to be part of this company

So be honest and genuine, why do you want to work for this firm? Practise so you become fluent and confident and you will make a positive impression from the start of your interview. Good luck!