Can You Answer This Key Question?

Some people go into interviews and wing it. Others prepare ahead of time. Usually this includes researching the company and planning responses for commonly asked interview questions.

Questions like “what is your greatest weakness?” and “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

But, there’s one key question they often don’t prepare to answer.

“Why do you want to work for us?”

When I was recruiting, I always asked candidates if they knew anything about the company. The smart ones would tell me a few things they learned while researching the company. Things they liked, that made them want to work there.

The unprepared would say “no” and just leave it at that.

While I was always unhappy when candidates admitted they knew nothing, or very little, about the company, if they were otherwise qualified I would pass them on to the hiring manager.

I will say that when candidates did express a strong interest in the company, I would include that in my recommendation to the hiring manager too.

The thing is I wasn’t making the hiring decision.

You may get through the recruiter without doing any research, but when the hiring manager asks “why do you want to work here?” you need to have an answer.

And, not that it sounds like a great opportunity for you.

To help your chance of making it to the next level, make sure you do some advance research.

Company Website

Always take some time to investigate the company website. Go beyond the Careers section and read the About Us. Look for the company’s Mission Statement.

Read the bios of anyone you might be interviewing with, like HR, people you’d be working with, and the person you’d be reporting to if hired. Today many company sites have photos and bios of almost everyone on staff.

The company site should give you a feel for the company culture. What are they talking about? Do they information on career paths, videos of staff talking about their experiences? Or is the site more impersonal?

Social Media

One of the best ways to learn about a company is to follow them on social media. Where do they have a presence? What do they post?

By following companies on social media, you may learn about upcoming product launches or business initiatives. You will also get some inside into the company culture.

Some social media, like Twitter and Facebook, give you the opportunity to interact, or at least try to interact, with recruiters and other employees who might provide additional information and help your cause.

LinkedIn Profiles

Once you know who the key players are, particularly those you might be interested in, research the on LinkedIn. Read their profiles and review their activity.

The Summary Sections of people who use LinkedIn well, will give you some insight into who they are as a person. Check out where they went to school and where they volunteer.

If they publish read a few of their posts. Take a look at what articles and information they share in status updates and in groups.

Conducting advance research will give you an advantage over candidates who do not. First, it will give you talking points during the interview process.

What is it about the company that makes you want to work for them?

Maybe the company’s mission aligns with your personal values. Perhaps they are innovators in their field. Possibly the person you’ll be working for inspires you.

Research may help you find some commonalities as well. Did you attend the same college? Do you share personal values?

As someone who supports dog rescue, with my time and pocketbook, I always feel kindship with others who share my passion.

Making a connection like this with a future colleague or boss can help push your candidacy forward.

The best bet is to research each company before you apply for a position. However, it’s essential to research a company before a job interview. When a potential employer asks “why do you want to work here?” you need to have a compelling answer.