Q. Why do you want to work for us?
It’s implicit isn’t it that if I take the trouble to send a CV off or fill in your overly complicated application form OBVIOUSLY I want this job. Why on earth are you asking me this question?
Actually it’s a really good question that measures your motivation and understanding. Have you just seen a job and banged out a CV or do you really want to work for them and understand what they do?
So what is the employer expecting?
- Cover letter or personal statement that explores your reasons for choosing them and the role.
- CV – tailored to the role
- They may even ask this exact question on the application form.
- At interview it may be asked and they will expect a more in depth answer.
How to answer…
Use your research skills to critically assess the company.
- Most companies provide a service or make or sell something to clients or the public. Find out about what they do /make/ provide.
- If you were a client looking at their website and or their store what would you see as the main reasons for choosing them over any other organisation doing something broadly similar.
- What are their unique products? What is their unique selling point?
- Where do they fit in the commercial landscape? Who are their competitors and how do they stack up!
- Who are their main clients? or who is their target group?
- Are they local, national or international?
- You can also look at the training they provide and what you would be expected to experience working for them.
- What is the company ethos? How are they portraying themselves – what do they care about?
Now ask yourself – why does that appeal to me?
Q. Why have you applied for this role?
The employer wants to know that you understand what the job involves, and have carefully considered how you fit in and what you have to offer.
So you need to ….
- Read the job or person specification carefully. These can be quite lengthy and give a good idea of the level of skill and breadth of tasks you will be expected to perform.
- Read between the lines – sometimes the information can be vague or brief so you need to dig a little.
- Is there a person listed for informal enquiries? It would be foolish not to ring really (and not many do! ) Ask sensible questions that you really can’t find out the answer to. What would a typical day be like?
- Look for similar job titles with other companies – are they broadly the same across the board?
- Try prospects for generic job role information, it will give you the basics of what the role is usually like. https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
- Are there other jobs advertised on the company website – where does yours fit in?
- Ask yourself why does this appeal to me?
- Be specific – an organisation could have hundreds of roles. So why this one in particular?
- What aspects of the job do you find most interesting? Working with a particular client group? Working on a particular product?
- Is there an opportunity to use specific knowledge, strengths or talents?
Q. Do you have any questions for us?
Another question that is often fumbled at the end on an interview. Lets face it often you just want to get out of there, but wait… don’t drop the ball now. This is your opportunity to have proper conversation.
Often questions will come up naturally along the way so if possible ask them in context but if not store them up and remember them. Ask questions that open up an opportunity to find out more about the role or company. But be prepared some of these questions could get flipped on you.
- What would I expect a typical day to look like?
- What do other graduates in this role find most challenging?
- What roles do graduates typically do after the graduate scheme?
- What do you find most exciting about your job?
- When will I hear if I have been successful?
For more interview questions check out our Guide or ask about our interview feedback file and see if anyone else has been for an interview with the same company.