“Why do you want to work here?” The 7 worst answers to this trick interview question

want to work here
I want to work here because I love the product

Why do you want to work here?

The most popular answers to this trick interview question are the last thing the interviewer wants to hear. Most candidates provide an answer that ends the interview. This interview question is one of the most effective trick questions. 

As one of the most effective trick interview questions, this one is asked in a number of different forms. We list multiple variations of this standard interview question below. All are trying to find out why you want to work with Company X.

  • How did you hear about our job opening?
  • What inspired you to respond to our job posting?
  • Tell us what you know about our company?

The trick is in its innocence

The question sounds innocent enough and we have all been asked this question for every job we have interviewed for. Here are the wrong answers to “Why do you want to work here?”:

  • I heard about this from a friend 
  • I need a job
  • Your office is really close to my house. This is an easy commute.
  • My gym is right around the corner from this location. It’s convenient
  • My parents told me to get a job
  • I need to pay off my school debt
  • This seems like a growing company with a lot of opportunities

All common answers and all true in the candidate’s mind. Unfortunately as close as they are to the truth, all of the above will end the interview for the interviewer.

The wrong answers have one thing in common

These answers explain what the job does for the candidate and the candidate alone. There is nothing in these answers for the hiring company. The candidate doesn’t show a connection to the hiring company for anything other than convenience. All of the above answers could be used if the applicant was applying for a job in a burger joint, a movie theater or a Fortune 500 company. The above answers don’t differentiate the hiring company from any other company.

The answer that recruiters and hiring managers want to hear explains why you are passionate about the company, the industry, or the product. The right answer connects this particular company with the candidate and separates this hiring company from all other companies out there. The right answer will show that this is the only company the candidate wants to work for.

Here is the lightning round of answers that demonstrates a personal connection between company and candidate.

McDonalds interview answer

I want to work here at McDonald’s because I really love the fries. That may sound dumb, but I am a bit of a fries connoisseur and McDonald’s fries are the best. I live about two miles away and passed a Burger King and a Chick Filet to get here. It would be a crime to apply at either of these places because I am a McDonald’s fan. I can say 2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce chicken on a sesame seed bun 5 times in a row. My favorite movie was about Ray Kroc and feel like SuperSize me was a sham. They could have done that with any burger place. Why do I want to work here? The fries man, the fries.

My father is an entrepreneur and has a number of franchises. I will probably get into the franchise business. My goal is to do this on my own, and not work at our family’s restaurant. I want to learn what everybody learns. I want to study this McDonalds and learn best practices from the number 1 franchise in the world. This isn’t just a job for me. Why do I want to work at this McDonalds? Because this is my education.

Warehouse interview answer

I want to work here at this warehouse because I feel my best when I am organizing. Some people might say that a warehouse job is boring, but I love to organize. If you saw my kitchen, my closet, or my desk at home, you would see that I am a bit of a neat freak. I have a buddy that works here and he thought that I might like working here because he said this place reminds him of my shop at home. All the tools are on pegboards and neatly lined up. I want to work here because this particular warehouse seems like the type of place I will feel at home. A place where organization is a priority.  

Notice in all of the answers, we reinforce our answer in the last sentence with, “I want to work here because. . .  “

Your answer

Next time you are asked this trickiest of trick questions, let them know why you are passionate about the industry, company, or product. If you aren’t passionate about the place make something up or consider a different place to work.  The hiring manager wants to hire employees that want to work at their particular company, and not just for a paycheck. 

Key Takeaway: The key to this question is showing the employer that this opportunity is not just a paycheck. Demonstrate a personal connection such that you would do this job even if there weren’t pay involved. 

 

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