It’s one of the most dreaded interview questions, right after “what are your biggest weaknesses?” Especially for those applying for only mildly interesting positions, it can be hard to answer. Conventional wisdom often focuses on the organization’s work, reputation, and growth. While this advice is good, it’s still conventional: it won’t make you stand out if every other candidate has prepared properly too. The following are ways to spice up your answer—to be used in addition to conventional wisdom—to show that you’ve done thorough research on the workplace and that you’d be an especially good fit. So, why do you want to work here?
1. Programs held
Many companies offer opportunities to educate or empower employees and increase their good PR. Feel free to mention your genuine interest in one– but don’t get caught up in what the company can do for you. Make sure to include how you intend on strengthening that program or applying your new skills back to the position you’re applying for. For example:
- “I noticed you sponsor computer programming/ language/marketing classes for
long-time employees. I’d love to learn how to use x program and maybe apply that to a future position doing y for your company.”
- “I appreciate your green initiative/community service weekend/ women’s network. It’s something in which I can see myself both participating and pursuing active leadership roles.”
2. Past/current employee reviews
Signal a personal connection to the company by relaying a friend or relative’s good experience there. Similarly, show that recruiter you were paying attention during your preliminary phone interview by repeating their comment and expanding upon it. Say something like:
- “Sandra mentioned the office-wide Halloween contest earlier. I like that kind of welcoming company culture and commitment to creativity and morale.”
- “I’m looking for a company with not only opportunities for advancement but the tools to help me get there. My cousin, who used to work here, says your leadership training program is truly committed to supporting employees’ personal growth. ”
3. Types/ Ages of Employees
In certain fields, employees may generally trend toward one end of the labor market. Acknowledge
this, then either sell yourself as the perfect fit or justify why they should hire you outside the box. Are employees generally:
- Young, ambitious, tech savvy?
- Millennials in search of mentoring and engagement?
- Experienced, loyal, diverse?
4. Company Size
The number of people you’d be working with in the office isn’t always your first priority when job searching. However, you can emphasize your preparedness or excitement about the work with a small comment about office size. For example:
- “The small size of your office presents a great opportunity for more personal training and mentoring,”
- “I love that the headquarters are large because I welcome the opportunity to constantly work with new people.”
- “As someone new to the industry, I like having only a few coworkers with whom I can develop personal relationships. I want to learn more about what they do to figure out where I fit best within the organization.”
One cheerful comment on a highly specific aspect of the organization will exude enthusiasm. Add your own well-researched, personal answers in an interview to emphasize that you’re particularly well-suited for the position and stand out of the interview crowd.