How To Answer The Interview Question: Why Do You Want To Work Here?

4 minutes

A key step when you’re preparing for a job interview is doing some internet sleuthing to learn about the company that could soon employ you. That includes Googling the people you’ll be meeting with, getting acquainted with the company’s product portfolio, and checking the brand’s social media channels for recent news.

In your research, don’t forget to read up on the company mission — because it will likely come up in your interview, explains Francesca Galbo, Codecademy Talent Director.

A “mission” is a concise description that explains why a company exists outside of making money. You can look up a mission statement on a company’s website, and sometimes it’s included right in a job listing.

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Here are the mission statements for a handful of tech companies you’re probably familiar with:

  • Meta: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
  • Netflix: “At Netflix, we want to entertain the world.”
  • Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Codecademy: “Codecademy’s mission is to empower inspiring careers in technology.”

So why do job-seekers need to be aware of a company’s mission before they even get hired? One of the first questions a recruiter or hiring manager will ask you during a job interview is: “Why do you want to work at this company?” That’s your chance to demonstrate how the company’s mission resonates with you personally, Francesca says.

The way you answer that question completely depends on the company and your own personal connection to it. You don’t have to prepare a monologue about the company, or make up a story for the sake of the interview, Francesca says. But think about a way you can tie in the mission to your work experience, life, or other interests.

For example, Francesca recalls applying for a position at an app that teaches kids to read. In the interview, she weaved in the fact that she was an English major and has loved literature since she was a young child.

“I brought that anecdote into that interview process and said, ‘This is something that is very, very important to me,’” Francesca recalls. “Not only was I able to anecdotally pull and connect with the mission, but I was able to prove that I know what the company does and why it’s so important.”

Candidates who understand and connect to the organization’s purpose and mission are typically the ones who stand out the most to recruiters, Francesca says. With so many people searching for new jobs these days, recruiters can quickly sniff out people who are just flinging their resume at any company that’s hiring, versus the ones who genuinely want to work there.

“We don’t want to hire people that want any job — we want people that want this job,” Francesca says. If you don’t feel passionately about a company’s mission, then maybe it’s a sign that you shouldn’t apply for the position, she says.

While talking about a company’s mission might seem like performative corporate gobbledygook, it’s a good exercise for anyone in the market for a new job to think about the types of places where they want to work. Research has shown that when employees feel that their purpose aligns with their organization’s, they’re happier, healthier, and tend to stay at an organization longer.

Ask yourself: What values are important to you? How do you want your work to contribute to society or impact the world? For example, you might be most interested in companies that are developing technology to mitigate the effects of climate change. Perhaps there’s a role at an organization that’s uplifting marginalized communities. Or maybe you want to work for a company that’s at the forefront of entertainment and pop culture.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re heading into a job interview. If you’re looking for more advice about how to showcase your technical skills and answer common interview questions, be sure to check out our interview prep courses. And if you’re looking for more ways to boost your confidence throughout the job search, check out these tips for developing the most important soft skills in tech and talking about salaries in interviews.

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