How to Handle Difficult Interview Questions –

Why do you want to work for this company?

“To get a paycheck.”
“It’s a great company and I’d love to work here.”
“Who wouldn’t want to work here.”
“I heard you have great benefits.”
All these answers may be true, but none of them rise to the level that will get you hired.
The first step in answering this question is asking yourself, why do you want to work there. If all you can come up with are the above answers, then maybe it isn’t the right place for you. I’m sure you want to work with an organization where you can make a contribution, work with people you respect, have an opportunity to learn and grow.
Start by doing a deep dive into everything that is published about the company, what resonates? When you read it, you say “wow, I want to be part of that”. Now, how can you add value to that part of the company.
Next, talk to current and former employees, what did they like, how did they add value, why do they keep working there?

How to answer

Answering this question, like most answers in an interview, should focus on how you will add value or solve a problem for them, not for what they will do for you.
This answer should be two parts, what you know about them and what value you can add.
The following are good answers that follow this pattern:
“I recently read that the company is considering going public. I feel like my recent experience working at Zylon Corporation during their public offering would fit well with the needs of your company.”
“I saw an article in Business Week about your new CEO, John Jacobs, and the firm’s renewed focus on technology innovation. I consider myself an innovator and I would love to work for an organization that’s leading the future of the industry.”
“I feel that my proven track record leading multi-functional teams makes me an excellent match for the job requirements.  Also, the role excites me because I love the idea of helping to develop cutting-edge software products and I know I could start delivering results from day 1.”
“I see that your company has targeted growth in such-and-such area. That’s something I know a good deal about, and I believe that I may be able to make a significant contribution by doing A, B and C.”
Don’t be afraid to weave in some of the mission or values into your conversation. If the company states they have a value of lifelong learning, talk about your commitment to learning and growing.
There are no right or wrong answers to this question. Your answer should reflect that you have thought about what you want and have researched the company. Let the interviewer know you are being selective about where you want to work and you’re not just going to take any job offered to you. Demonstrate that this is the company you want to work for – a little flattery will go a long way.
This is the third installment in a series devoted to answering the difficult interview questions. Below are links to the first two:

Rick ChristensenRick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.