For many job seekers who send out resume after resume trying to find work, one of the hardest questions to answer can be “Why do you want to work here?” When one hopeful application blends into another, it may be difficult to remember why you applied specifically to certain companies.
There are a few simple ways to prepare in advance for this question. We’re not recommending that you prepare a one-size-fits-all answer, but doing enough research on companies ahead of time and making a note of each company’s carefully branded message can help you articulate to hiring managers why you think the company and position are a good fit for you.
What’s unique about this company?
Maybe it’s a product. Maybe it’s community outreach. For every resume you send off, know what makes the company unique– or, at least, what the company feels makes them unique. This will help you keep each company separate in your mind, while also preparing you for that question.
Where are they online?
Does this company have unique branding on Facebook? What about LinkedIn? Are they facilitating discussions, or do their employees have qualifications similar to your own? Show that you did research.
Who works there?
Knowing who’s in charge of the company, or being aware of positive employee endorsements– especially on Glassdoor— is important. Everyone wants to work a place where they will feel valued and engaged. Being aware of positive attributes of a company will make them more memorable, and make you more excited to work there. Doing your research and being able to remember one company from another will aid you in answering that inevitable tricky question, “why do you want to work here?” And if you don’t know how to phrase it, here are five great fallbacks from Business Insider:
1. “I’ve known several colleagues over the years that have worked at your company, and they have all said great things.”
2. “I was excited to see on your website that you feature employees talking about how great it is to work for your company. These days so many people seem to hate where they work for one reason or another. It’s wonderful to see that your employees are proud to talk about how much they love their jobs.”
3. “Your company’s Facebook page is really engaging. I love how you [fill in the blank].”
4. “I’m connected on LinkedIn to many people who work at your company. When I reviewed their profiles, I saw that we all shared some things in common. [You might reference similar accomplishments, prior employers, colleges, etc.] It struck me that this is the kind of place where I can fit in and excel, so I was thrilled to see you have this opening.”
5. “Your company is known for making great products that help people do X. But on top of that, I know of your company’s leadership role in our community through your support of X, Y and Z events or causes. Your products and philanthropy show you to be a company that cares about both the bottom line and giving back to society.” Though you don’t need to know every detail about every company at the very beginning of your job search, you should know enough to justify a genuine belief that there is a basis for your employment. This conviction will show through in your cover letter and when you answer that question, making it all the more likely that you’ll get an in-person or virtual interview.