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"Why do you want to work here?" is not only a standard interview question, it is often one that comes early in your interview. The hiring manager wants to gauge whether you have done some pre-interview homework. Your answer should show familiarity with the organization and a thoughtful response explaining your genuine interest.
Show What You Know
It's best to approach this question as a test of sorts. A July 2013 "Fox Business" article noted that the vagueness of the question means you must prepare a solid answer ahead of time. Before the interview, spend time on the company's website learning about its culture, customers and philosophies. Prepare a thoughtful response that emphasizes the most important organizational qualities. You could say, for instance, "I've spent a lot of time looking at area social work agencies and I really like what your office has been able to accomplish for its clients." This statement shows your passion for an effective social work employer.
Throw in Some Personal Qualities
Your answer is stronger if you clearly show how your own values or traits fit well with the organization's, according to an August 2013 "U.S. News & World Report" article. You could say, "I enjoy the process of listening to a customer's problem and helping them find the right solution. I like the personal satisfaction of making customers happy. From what I've read, your business has a customer-first philosophy." With this response, you not only show what you want to work there, you also let the hiring manager know why you make a good fit.
Flattery Gets You Everywhere
When effectively delivered, your answer should flatter the hiring manager. Typically, interviewers take pride in their organization and work. When interviewing for a nonprofit community organization, you could state, "I've read a lot about the great work your office has done in helping local schools. As a parent, I really admire when companies in the local community support our kids. As an experienced child services professional, I'd love to be a part of that." This response includes a bit of background detail mixed with a strong blend of recognition for work well done.
What Not to Say
As you prepare an effective answer, it helps to know what you don't want to say. First, you never want to say, "I don't know," or "I haven't thought about it." An answer like this would likely ruin any chance you have at the job. An overly self-indulgent answer, like, "This is a great stepping stone for me," or "I've always wanted to work here," doesn't meet the interests of the hiring manager. He wants to know how you fit the organization, not what the organization can do for you.
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Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.