Why do interviewers ask “Why do you want to work for us”?
When I interview candidates, I often ask three questions. They’re ‘soft’ questions, they don’t really have a right answer, but they are good discussion points.
- “Why are you interested in this job?” This helps me infer whether they are interested in the technology they believe they’ll get to work with, or the mission of the team, if they just want to work at the company in any job, or whether they’re just looking for work period. This in turn helps frame parts of the rest of the interview.
- “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” This can tell me two things: whether there’s a potential issue in their previous job which might translate into an issue in this job, and whether they’re definitely leaving or I’ll need to work at attracting them away from their employer.
- “What do you expect to get out of working here?” This tells me if they’ve thought about the move, what their life will be like working here, and whether their expectations are realistic. Depending upon the answer, it can also show whether they’re motivated by what they can accomplish, what they can earn / receive, what they can learn, or the perceived prestige of the job. And of course whether they’re paying attention to where they want to go in their career, rather than shrugging and being carried by the tide.
I ask why candidates want the job to help understand their motivations and expectations. This is a critical