One of the most common questions asked during a job interview is, “why do you want to work for us?” Yet candidates often overlook this important area during their interview preparation and as a result, fail to deliver a well-constructed answer.
Some just talk about themselves, while others restrict their answer to company knowledge. While these are indeed components of a good answer, the real secret is in linking both areas, thereby demonstrating how you and the organisation are a perfect match. Here we take a closer look at how you can achieve the ideal balance and ace this crucial interview question.
Comprehensive company knowledge
Pre-interview company research should be conducted at a number of levels. At a high level, you should thoroughly investigate the strategic issues facing the industry and sector which the organisation operates within. At a company level, you need a complete understanding of the organisation’s current performance, financial results and the direction they plan to head in. Go beyond the basics such as the company website, using sources such as journals, press articles and social media.
You also need to delve deeper to discover as much as you can about the people leading the organisation and if possible the members of the interview panel. What are their backgrounds, what roles do they perform and what do they specialise in.
Build up a detailed profile at industry, company and personnel level with as many facts and figures as possible. By showing you have thoroughly researched all these aspects the panel will be convinced that you are serious about working for the company.
In-depth job analysis
At interview, you also need to show the panel that you understand what the job entails. Demonstrating your knowledge about what you will be doing, the goals and objectives associated with the post and the potential for progression will help build your case as the ideal candidate for the role. Companies want people who will stick around- recruitment is an expensive and time-consuming process. Those who have a realistic expectation of their job before they begin are more likely to remain motivated and stay with the organisation. Be prepared to set out your stall in terms of your career goals and spell out how this job supports your long-term ambitions.
Make the links
Having gathered as much information as possible about the company, its leaders and the specific job you have applied for, it is now time to connect you and the organisational requirements. Show that you understand the sector by talking about previous experience in this area such as internships or membership of professional bodies. If you don’t have directly relevant work experience then highlight projects you have been involved in or educational modules completed which relate to the particular industry. Talk about the skills you have developed and show how they are relevant to the job they are interviewing for. Be specific about this and avoid generic, bland statements- you need to paint a clear picture that you are the right fit.
Being enthusiastic about the company and your desire to work there is critical. If you are uninspiring you will leave the panel uninspired. Talk positively about the people, the products and their plans for the future. Show you understand their business and also admire it. They need to see an informed candidate who is genuinely attracted to the company and is excited at the prospect of working there- anything less is an opportunity wasted.