Why do you want to work for us?

During some interviews I’ve been on the interviewer will ask me why I want to work for that specific company. Since “I need a job and you have a position available.” probably isn’t what they’re looking for I have to come up with some BS reason why they’re special.

Sometimes the job opening is in a field I would like to work in so I can use that, but even then I have no special feelings about the specific company I’m being interviewed by.

I know that companies want employees who want to work for them, but realistically, how many employees are there because they specifically wanted to work there, and how many employees are there because they need a job.

So, if you have a job did you choose your employer specifically because you wanted to work for them, or are you there because you needed a job and they were hiring?

Assuming I get hired by the place I’ve worked for as a student the past 3 summers next year (I think there’s a reasonably probability of that) it is very much because it’s where I want to work, and I had to pull some strings to get there in the first place. They are a major company in the field I want to work in, and have the knowledge and expertise to teach me what I want to learn to build my career, as well as the size and variety of work to let me explore my interests within the organization. I’ve also met several of the employees at this point and there are several I would love to work with (and the rest are just not as directly involved in my area of interest, not because they haven’t been great to me).

In previous cases, it was largely because I just needed a job, but this question did come up at least once. In that case, I was honest that I had just moved to the area (having been in another province for several years) and so I was less familiar with the local industry, but that my research indicated that x, y and z were characteristics of the company that appealed to me. I also used it as an opportunity to mention certain skills/knowledge that I had which would fit in well with the company’s activities or the aforementioned x, y, z!

The second one!

Actually, I’ve worked many jobs; I’ve gravitated to low-paying non-profits because I am a bleeding heart liberal who wants to Make The World A Better Place. (And frankly, since my husband already made a lot of money, we could afford my working as a do-gooder for a paltry salary.) I would tell the company that I had previously worked for Save The ____ and wanted to work for Free The ____ as those issues were important to me.

Don’t know if that’s what you wanted to know, but there it is…Wasn’t it the author David Sedaris who long ago needed a job - any job - , applied at UPS and was asked that very question? “Well, Mr. Sedaris, why do you want to work for us?” and he thought, what am I supposed to say to that? ‘I like to lift boxes? I like the brown uniform? I need a job, dammit!’:mad:

Because you plan to pay me. Right?


No, I plan to pay the next guy that I interview who will blow smoke up my ass.

That’s got to be at the top of the pay grade, right? I thought I was just signing on for boot licking.

OK, fine. What makes you more qualified to lick my boots than the other applicants?

It’s my long prehensile tongue that I can use to wrap around and massage your boots and fragile ego.

I’ve actually had interviewers get hostile with me on this. I mean I have a degree and was making well over 50K on my last three jobs. Now I’m going for minimum wage jobs at Target (rejected), Walmart (rejected), McDonalds (rejected), Taco Bell (rejected), Burger King (rejected), CVS (rejected) and so forth.

A huge problem comes form being overqualified. There’s no real good way to answer this for me. Or even worse for me is, “How long do you plan on working for us?” Or the ultimate “Would you quit this job and take a better one?”

Of course I try to give non-committal answers like “I’d have to see the entire package” or “I’d always like to continue this as part time.”

I usually try to say “I’m just looking for part time work right now.” So that way the low level jobs will be less likely.

For the majority of people I would simply answer “I’ve researched the company (do this in case they follow up with you) and it seems like it has great potential.” Then I follow up with… “Why I really want to work here is when I came in to fill out an application, everyone seemed so happy.” Say it even if it’s not true. Then continue “It’s rare to find a company where people actually LIKE their work and everyone I’ve dealt with is so nice. When they handed me the application and when I was filling it out, I saw how they interacted and how nice and how much they enjoyed their jobs. I was like ‘Wow I hope they hire me here’.”

Of course, at that point, one is fully justified in making up any shit one would like. With a question that stupid, there’s no way honesty is expected.

^^^This. It’s all part of the idiotic dance that it interviewing for jobs. At this point I’m not sure why I even bother to try to tell the truth (well, the glossiest version of the truth).

This must be partly because sometimes the interviewer is worse at interviewing than the applicant is at applying. Being a good interviewer is quite difficult and requires skills that many people don’t have.

Y’know, this is a really good answer. Indirectly strokes the ego of the interviewer (who will think, of course, he’s the reason all his employees are so happy) without making you come off like a suck up douche.

Of course, it’s even better if it’s actually true. If I need to go back to retail, I’m totally applying at Trader Joe’s. I don’t know what it is about that place…I imagine there are large candy dishes of Ecstasy in the breakroom…

Get off your lazy ass and do some research on the company. Make yourself conversant in what they do, focus on a couple of aspects that you can natter on about for a bit: “Well, I saw on your website that you donate money to save the fur seals. I really respect that sort of community involvement and I know that I will be a good fit for your company.” Bullshitting an interviewer is a very bad idea, particularly if he/she decides to pin you down on your answer.

I interviewed for the place I work for now because A) I really needed a job and I had no intention of working food service again and B) it’s a place I really liked to visit (still do, really), and I figured it would be a good shot in the arm for my degree and by extension my career.

Funnily enough, though, I don’t remember being asked that when I was interviewed.

When I was a teenager, I applied for (and got) a slightly-above-minimum-wage job at a kiddie amusement park. When the manager asked me why I wanted to work there, I said “It sure beats bagging groceries”. Which seemed to be good enough for him.

My guess is that the interviewer knows very well what the real answer is “I want to work here because you’ll pay me.” I think the real purpose of the question is to see how well you can handle an awkward situation.

“I think the “better jobs” will be within your organization as you recognize my skills and find the best ways to utilize them.”


As an interviewer, when I ask this question I’m really asking “Did you bother to take the time to research the company?”. I want to know if they are aware of, and think they’ll fit in with, our slightly offbeat corporate culture.

This isn’t a dealbreaker question. It just helps me build a picture of how you might be to work with. Also, the “right” answer may help distinguish you from the other people I interview for the position. A BS answer won’t stick in my brain unless it’s funny - I’ve heard most of them before.

I’m applying on-line right now for a seasonal position for Borders, here’s a question that just popped up:

**We seek employees with diverse experiences and perspectives to give us the ability to create memorable customer shopping experiences. Please describe a life experience (such as volunteering, traveling, etc.) that would add value to customer experience.
I live a normal, boring, average life. I’m going to have to think of an answer that vaguely fits, and then exaggerate it. Seriously, I’m going for a position of selling books. I’ve been in Borders several times. When I get to the check out line, I don’t give a crap of the cashier’s life experiences, I just want him/her to scan the book(s), take my debit card and complete the order.


And they give you very little space to type in. Here’s all I could fit. Obviously I’m going to have to shorten my answer:

I had a volunteer position doing data entry for two years which I really enjoyed. It was for an organization which help

I hope

I had a volunteer data entry position for an organization which helped new mothers who were poor.

Is the kind of answer they’re looking for.