It feels like a trap – “Why are you interested in this job?” There are plenty of ways not to respond: “I need the money… My old company fired me. My friend on the executive board said you give great bonuses!” But it’s one of the most important questions in any interview: “Why us? Why here?” This kind of tricky interview question is hardly new, definitely nothing exciting, but with the right answer, you can seal the deal and show the hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate for this position. If you do a little research, and answer convincingly enough, chances are you’ll convince yourself!
1. Be Specific
Do your research. Obvious, but still often overlooked. But it pays to be prepared for any and all questions they may throw at you. Sure, you’re interviewing for a CFO position, but do you know when the company was founded? Once you’ve covered your bases concerning the straight facts, dig a little deeper. Try to get a clear idea of their niche and their company culture. For example, it’s not enough to know that ABC Technology sells smartphones – you should know that their company is focused on selling an experience, that they prioritize customer service above sales figures, and of course, it doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about their founder. From there, you can start to mention what you admire about the company, and what you know. Now that’s impressive…
2. What Are You Doing Here?
What circumstances led you to this interview? Perhaps this Fortune 500 company was named in a magazine article you read on a plane. Maybe an old school colleague recommended the company over drinks. Or maybe you first heard about the company when you were six years old, and ever since, you dreamed of landing a coveted position at this firm. Or maybe you just found the vacancy on Experteer. Regardless of the circumstances, think about what brought you here, and what drove you to fight for a spot on the staff. By demonstrating your own interest in the firm and your own personal connection, you can paint a vivid picture of how you see yourself fitting into the company. Even better, you’ll give the hiring manager the same idea. Brilliant.
3. “But Have You Considered…”
A colleague successfully secured her position at Experteer by entering an interview, fully prepared, with a list of improvements and recommended changes. Not everyone can handle such brazen criticism, but in this case, our supervisor appreciated her insights and valued her interest in the company. So when faced with this question, consider all of the positive aspects of the company. What are they doing right? What are their strong suits, and why do they appeal to you personally? Then, briefly outline two or three points where you see great potential for growth. Perhaps their foray into international markets excites you, as you’re interested in this move towards globalization. However, you noticed that with a stronger presence in X and Y countries, they could benefit immensely and increase their success. Not only does this show lots of careful thought, it also shows that you’re truly invested in helping the company to prosper – definitely a win in the eyes of a hiring manager!
4. Picture Yourself…
By this point, you may not be on a first name basis with the receptionist, but you’ve most likely observed a few interactions between colleagues. Or, if you’ve done your research, you may have been able to uncover a few interesting facts about their company culture. By slipping in a mention of their company picnic, shown on their website, or describing the atmosphere you’ve noticed while sitting in the waiting room, you can say that – in addition to the rock solid case you’ve made for their stellar performance as a company – you truly value a workplace that treats their colleagues with respect. Say how important it is to you that an office functions in harmony, and that you appreciate working in a safe and creative environment where you can collaborate with your coworkers, and because of XYZ, this company seems like it meets your requirements. As long as you speak sincerely, and can offer a significant piece of evidence, like an interaction with the colleague who showed you to the interviewing room, or a friend who may have worked there, your interviewer will appreciate the sentiment!
The moral of the story – do your research. Prepare yourself for questions like this, and you can come out of an interview with a handshake and a contract in hand. Good luck with your job search!