(This post written by Vault Career was shared by Vault.)
One of the more common interview questions these days, especially for entry-level positions, is some form of “Why do you want to work for us?” Other forms of this question include “What attracts you to our firm?” and “What about our firm excites you?” Whatever the exact phrasing you receive, there are a few things you want to get across as clearly and concisely as possible when answering.
1. You know a lot about the firm; you’ve done your research.
One of the things this question aims to do is gauge how well you prepare yourself for meetings and work situations. Will you do the prep work? Will you take the time to be extremely knowledgeable before showing up? Note that it’s not too difficult and doesn’t take too much to do some basic research about a company. All the information you need is a Google search away. So make sure to look at the company’s website, look at their products and/or services, read about their leaders and team, make sure you understand their place in the market and their strategy. Also read their press releases and about any awards and honors they’ve received. And then do some reading outside their site. Check out their Wiki page, read some news articles about them. And while you do your research, take notes of the things that genuinely excite and impress you. Then, when you’re done researching (maybe an hour at most is fine), take a look at your notes and choose three things to mention in your interview. Ideally, you’ll practice, either aloud or just in your mind, how you might get these three things across clearly and concisely in your interview.
2. You’re very enthusiastic about the prospect of working there.
While you answer this question, keep in mind that interviewers are gauging your excitement level of working for them. They want candidates who are extremely enthusiastic, since that enthusiasm for the company and their work will more often than not turn into good work being done if you’re hired. If you’re not enthusiastic, or don’t show that you are, then interviewers will view you as someone who might be a deadbeat, downer type of employee, meaning a low performer. Companies want upbeat, enthusiastic people on their teams. They want people excited about their strategy, mission, products, and services. So when answering this question, make sure your interviewers understand that all of the things you know about their company truly excite you, and that you’d be thrilled to join them and their mission and help them reach their goals.
3. Your skills, experience, and goals are a good fit for the role and company.
Speaking of goals, interviewers know that, like companies, individuals also have them. And interviewers are looking for candidates whose goals match up with the company’s. They want someone whose career goals will be a good fit for the specific role and for the company as a whole. So, when you’re researching the role (you will, of course, know the job description backwards and forwards before you interview) and the company, you want to take note of the things that mesh with your goals. For example, if you want to get involved in a certain sector, and the company is involved in that, then you want to point that out to your interviewer. Or, say, if one of your goals/desires is to manage more and more people and so working for a high growth company whose team is growing is important to you, then get that across. Other things that might mesh with your career goals include working for a certain size of firm (big, small, startup, etc.), working for a firm with a certain geographic reach (international, a specific U.S. region, etc.), working in a certain type of culture (open, transparent, collaborative, etc.). Whatever the case might be, get as specific as possible, and spell out that what you’re looking to do and learn at this point in your career is a good fit for the specific role and firm. Of course, be honest. Don’t force yourself into a role or company that won’t be a good fit for you. Never forget that interviewing is a two-way street: you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you.