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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Columnists > The Job Coach

Why do you want to work here?

Aug 5, 2016

By Gregg Knowles - columnist

Why do you want to work here?
In a previous article, I talked about answering the question, “what is your greatest weakness?” As you may recall, this is a traditional interview question - a common question that you can anticipate getting at some point during an interview. And because you know it's coming, you have the opportunity to work on your response. Another question that you are likely to be asked is, “why do you want to work here?” This could be rephrased as “why do you want to work for this company?” By understanding why the interviewer is asking this question in the first place, you'll be prepared with a great response.
When interviewers ask “why do you want to work here?” you're being tested. They're really asking about your knowledge of the company, your priorities, and what motivates you. In short, they are assessing if you will be a good fit for the company.
This means that you'll need to do your homework by thoroughly researching the company.
Your response could focus on the company's reputation, plans for expansion, financial performance, mission and values, and reputation of senior leaders. You could also mention a new strategy that the company has implemented. For example, “I like how you have incorporated social media into your in store marketing efforts. This marketing strategy demonstrates why you're the leader in the retail industry”. Or, you could say something about how the company treats its employees: “You have the reputation for investing in and developing your employees to become leaders in the company.” These answers show that you have more than cursory knowledge of the organization.
Avoid answers that are vague. Don't say,” I've heard great things about this company”, unless you follow up with specifics. In other words, be clear about the great things you've heard. Also, don't give the impression that you are only concerned about what the company can do for you. For example, “I really like your employee benefits program”. While this may be true and you are being honest, it is not the answer that the interviewer wants to hear at this time. It provides no information that will distinguish you from the other candidates.
While it may seem like a simple question, do not treat it lightly. Learn about the company, develop a thoughtful response, and practice it until it sounds natural. Keep in mind, your answer could be the difference between you or another candidate getting the job.

Gregg Knowles is a consultant who specializes in career coaching, resume writing, and workforce training. In addition to his coaching practice, he runs job search assistance programs at several libraries in Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties, including the Livingston Manor Public Library and the EB Crawford Library in Monticello. He is also the facilitator of Warwick Career Transitions Group - a job club whose primary purpose is networking, sharing job leads, and mutual support of the members.
Gregg is a former Vice President of JPMorgan Chase and has over 25 years of human resources experience, including human resource management, recruiting, university relations, and training and development. He can be contacted at

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