The interviewer asks a rather simple question, yet it catches you off guard: "Why do you want to work for this company?" The obvious answer that comes to mind is, "Because you have an opening, and I need a job." While this may be true, it won't get you points in a job interview.
The interviewer is looking for an answer that indicates you've thought about where you want to work -- that you're not just sending your resume to any company with a job opening. Researching the company and industry before your interview will make you stand out as a more informed and competent applicant.
For instance, Annette is the first candidate interviewed for an HR manager position. When she is asked why she wants to work there, she replies, "I have always wanted to work for this company. I love your product, and I have used it for many years. This job would be perfect for me, a real opportunity for me to grow and develop."
Annette's answer begins well, but then shifts to what she can get out of the experience instead of what she has to offer. Her answer would be stronger if she proved she had researched the industry and company, and therefore could discuss more than her own experience with the product.
James is another candidate, and he answers more directly: "Based on the research I've done, this company is an industry leader. When I visited your Web site, I found some impressive information about future projects you have planned. I was also impressed with the founders' backgrounds and the current financial statements. This is the company I've been looking for, a place where my background, experience and skills can be put to use and make things happen."
James's answer demonstrates his interest in and enthusiasm for the company and what it stands for. He also demonstrates how he envisions he could be a member of the team.
You must do research before the interview and come up with two or three reasons why you want to work for the company. Search company Web sites for mission statements, product and service information, principals' backgrounds and contact information. Check company financials through the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
It would also be beneficial to think of at least two reasons this job is a good match for your skills, strengths, experience and background. What you can bring to the company? Write down your thoughts and rehearse them as part of your script.
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.