If asked early in the interview, the why work for us interview question can feel like an icebreaker. In fact, if it is the first question, you can answer it like the “tell me about yourself” question. And if the first question is “tell me about yourself”, then “why work for us” definitely needs to be part of your answer.
Why Employers Ask the Why Work for Us Interview Question
It’s one thing to write a persuasive cover letter that lands the interview. You don’t actually have to believe a single word. Or you could send out a very similar letter to to hundreds of prospective employers, promising each that they are the only employer in the world that you could ever imagine working for.
It’s quite another thing to say that in an interview in front of two or three people who have heard all the lines before.
So tell them clearly and credibly. Are you specifically interested in this position or would many other jobs serve you just as well?
Give them something simple, credible and memorable to write down in that space. It doesn’t sound so hard, and it isn’t if you plan ahead.
A Good Answer Starts with Good Research
Lets face it. You can’t say much of substance if you don’t know anything about this job. They will be looking for you to include specific, relevant knowledge of yourself and them in your answer. Especially if the company is publicly traded, when a great deal of information is easily available on the internet. You don’t even need to go to the library.
You Have to Know Yourself, too!
Research on the employer covers the “US” part. Now the “YOU” part. If you don’t know what you seek or avoid, you can’t have much to say.
When the Why Work for Us interview question comes later
Towards the end of the interview, this question opens an opportunity to sum up the points you’ve already made and introduce new information that has occurred to you.
The more prepared you are, the more you will feel at ease. You’ll recognize which questions probe more deeply. By the end of the interview you’ll remember stories you wish you’d told earlier. Now is your chance.
Stick to the Point: Why SHOULD They Hire You?
Remember, maybe they didn’t ask directly why they should hire you, but that is still what they want to know. That’s why they ask several questions throughout the interview that will present you with one more opportunity to give a good argument for moving your name higher on the list of applicants and take you to the next step.
Think American Idol. You don’t want to be eliminated this round. Some applicants will be eliminated. They expect you to believe strongly it shouldn’t be you. Tell them why.