Why Do You Want to Work Here? (Answer this Tricky Question)!


When faced with "Why Do you Want to Work Here?" and other variations of this question such as "Why are you interested in this position" and "Why do you want this job," it’s important to know the interviewer is essentially trying to figure out the following 3 things:

  1. Do you have a growth mindset?
  2. Just how much research have you done on the position and company?
  3. How enthusiastic are you about the role?

Let’s dive into the strategies that address each one of these questions!

Watch it in action

1. Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

Growth mindset is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in the past few years but in a nutshell, it’s the idea that if you have a growth mindset, you always look to improve yourself, so you put in the time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

Studies have shown that individuals with a growth mindset outperform those with a fixed mindset, and companies obviously know this.

So the interview question, “why do you want to work here”, helps interviewers tease out whether you have a growth or fixed mindset.

On a more practical level, this means that if you’re a working professional interviewing for role in the same industry as you are in right now, you want to convey the fact that you’re moving not because of higher pay, but because of the new challenges you will face in this new role how that will push you to grow personally and professionally.

Let’s say you’re in sales currently taking care of smaller clients and you interview for a role where you would cover large key accounts:

  • You can say how this move is a natural extension of your professional growth. You’ve learned how to take care of smaller accounts through scaled strategies, and now you want the challenge of taking on bigger clients

Another example is if you’re interviewing with a smaller firm for a position with more responsibility:

  • You can say how you want to take the best practices of an established corporation and apply those learnings to a more start up environment that currently lacks a formal structure

Or let’s say you’re pivoting to a completely new industry where you have little to no experience, a situation many fresh graduates or young professionals find themselves in.

  • In that case you want to highlight how you’re able to ramp up in your new role with minimal guidance from your manager (aka are you going to make their life easy or hard?)

To do this, give examples where you were able to successfully find a solution to a difficult problem you were facing and how you might replicate those steps you took to find the solution.

For example when I was interviewing for my first full time position in management consulting, I knew that making slides and presentations was very important for first and second year consultants.

  • And so I mentioned how, in my senior year, I taught myself Apple Keynote in order to stand out from other class projects, since the visuals are very different from that of Microsoft Powerpoint

The hiring manager in that interview might then draw the conclusion that I’m very familiar with cranking out powerpoint and keynote presentations, and so that my work would not need to be reviewed nearly as much, making his or her life just a tiny bit easier.

So as you can see, all these examples showcase how to communicate you have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one.

2. How Much Research Have You Done

Yes you should know the company’s mission statement, you should read up their latest news, you should be following their social media accounts to learn about their latest product updates, but that type of research isn’t particularly helpful for this specific question.

The reason is very simple: all that information is too high level!

  • To illustrate this, Google’s company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

But, if you’re interviewing for the Google Account Manager sales position, and you start off by saying you want to organize the world’s information, you might come off as a little bit too idealistic and not down-to-earth.

  • So your answer to this question should focus more on the role, and less on the company. And the best way to learn more about the role is straight from the horse’s mouth: by talking to someone working there
I’ve already made several videos about this, check out how to connect with others and how to reach out to Recruiters on LinkedIn.

Something I will highlight right now is the 1 meaningful question you should always ask the person after you do connect with them:

What are you measured on when it comes performance review time? In other words, what’s your Key Performance Indicator KPI?

This is a very meaningful question to ask for several reasons:

  1. It helps you learn the exact metric you would be measured on if you were to get the role, and knowing this level of detail will definitely impress the hiring manager
  2. It prompts the other person to share specific examples of their day-to-day that you can again, bring up as part of your answer
  3. It allows you to naturally ask follow up questions on how the person achieves his or her KPI, and trust me when I tell you, having that natural flow is much better than you rapid firing questions you’ve memorized from a list beforehand
Pro tip: If for whatever reason you can’t connect with anyone working in the role that you’re interviewing for, find someone on LinkedIn with the same title working at at a comparable company.

3. How enthusiastic are you about the role?

Research has shown that all else equal, companies will put enthusiasm for the role over a particular skillset, because skills can always be trained, but instilling energy and passion in someone, is usually a bit harder.

Additionally, and I’m pretty surprised this hasn’t been shared more widely, but the more enthusiastic you are about the position, the more the interviewer takes comfort that they made the right choice in joining and staying at the company as well!

  • This, consciously or unconsciously, leads to “good will” between you and the interviewer, increasing your chances of being viewed favorably

Think about it from the standpoint of a seasoned employee, and this happens to literally everyone, the employee might take for granted a lot of the positives, the perks, the benefits, since they have been working there for such a long time.

But believe me when I say that, if done the right way, your energy level will rub off on the interviewer, be it in the form of appropriate jokes, body language, or good old high energy dialogue.

Recently a colleague in the marketing team, who has been with Google for 9 years, told me she just interviewed an intern for the B2C hardware team who left a very strong impression on her:

  • Other than the fact that the candidate clearly has a growth mindset and had done her research on the internship position, the thing that struck my colleague the most was how the candidate’s eyes always lit up whenever our hardware products were discussed

She clearly had passion for technology, referencing videos from MKBHD, Mr. Mobile, Dave2D and they ended up having an hour long conversation even after the interview officially ended.

The tried and true method I can share here to increase your energy level is to simply practice in front of a mirror or to record yourself. Smile, eyebrows up, and nod when the interviewer is talking or asking a question.

I know this isn’t like my normal “hacks”, but I sincerely believe that given enough practice, anyone can come off as more enthusiastic.

Side note: You might not believe me, but I’m actually a very introverted person. If you’re just watching my videos though, I might come off as someone who’s very comfortable talking to a large group of people!

Lastly, you want to stay away from mentioning salary, location, and commute in your answer to “Why do you want to work here” because this will suck the energy out of the conversation.

All these factors are all definitely important, but they all revolve around what the company can provide for you, and again, your answer focus on the value you bring to the table.

Before your next interview...

I highly recommend going through my Common Interview Question and Answers Playlist!