People often ask me: During an interview, how should I answer the question “Why do you want to work for us?”
This question is so popular that it is definitely worth considering before you interview.
First, here are a few answers that likely won’t go over well:
- Because you guys are awesome
- For the money (or related, such as benefits, perks, commute time, work environment, etc.)
- Because I don’t have any other offers 😉
The purpose of the interview is to leave each interviewer feeling like, “Wow, this person is good … we need to make them an offer!”
And the best way to leave each interviewer feeling that way is to make it very clear how you can help their company be more remarkable. And you do that by describing the impact that your skills and accomplishments have had on your prior companies/clients/teams.
The reason it is so important to discuss the impact of what you’ve done (versus just detailing what you’ve done) is to help make the connection for the interviewer on how you’ll likely be able to help their company
Here’s a real example from one of the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted. In this particular case, I was looking to hire a project manager for a software organization – someone who knew agile, scrum, and those sorts of things – to help reduce the number of bugs that were creeping into our releases and decrease the number of customer complaints.
Most candidates gave me an answer like the following when asked, “How can you help us?”
As the project manager for the XYZ product, I implemented an agile development approach so product and customer issues could be quickly escalated and priorities re-established in real time. I have a lot of experience in these areas and I’ll be able to bring those skills here.
Now, compare that answer with something like this:
I’m a big proponent of lean startup methodologies and being able to rapidly iterate product feature testing to ensure market acceptance.
One of the ways I did that was with ABC Inc. and their XYZ product where I implemented an agile approach so product and customer issues could be quickly escalated and priorities re-established in real time.
Through the daily stand-up meetings, which I coordinated and led, every team member was kept in sync and we were able to cut our average team meetings from 10 hours per week to just 1 hour.
Our delivery times dropped by nearly that same 10 to 1 ratio. But most importantly, our customer satisfaction scores went from an 80 up to a 92 because our releases were coming out faster and the features contained exactly what our customers wanted.
Do you see how that second “answer” does so much more than just tell us what the person did? By going into the impact (shorter meeting times, faster release cycles, improved customer satisfaction) we are clearly left with this thought: “Hmm, if she did that for ABC Inc, she likely could do the same for us.”
And that is the secret. Again, make it clear how your skills and accomplishments could likely impact the company – by showing how they impacted your prior companies, clients, or teams.
Most people just blab on about what they did, never really getting to the impact. And without making a connection to what the interviewer cares about, your words won’t have much weight.
So, go in to every interview having 3 to 5 real-life examples showing how what you’ve done in the past can be directly applicable to this opportunity.
Then, you are perfectly prepared to answer the original question of this post: Why do you want to work for us?
I greatly enjoy leveraging my passion and skills around _____ to help companies be more remarkable.
And from what I know about your company, the team, and your vision for how you want to grow the organization – that all aligns very well with my career interests, and I believe I can make a huge impact here.
Remember this: the company likely would not have invited you in for an interview if they didn’t believe you have what they need. So, make it obvious that you do by articulating the impact of what you’ve done.
If you make it clear how your skills and experiences match their needs, demonstrate your likability, and make it apparent how you’d be a good fit within their culture – then you will blow away each interviewer.
Wishing you much success in your interviews!