2022-03-07T12:49:37-05:00February 24th, 2022|

How to answer “Why do you want to work here?” in a job interview

As a newcomer, depending on your profession and job level, it can take a few weeks or even months to land your first job in Canada. The first step in your job search is to create an impressive Canadian-style resume that gets you noticed by recruiters and increases your chances of being called for an interview. 

For newcomers just entering the Canadian job market, getting your first interview call is a landmark moment, but there are still several hurdles you’ll need to clear to land the job. The best way to prepare for an interview is to familiarise yourself with common questions Canadian employers ask.

“Why do you want to work here?” is one of the most commonly asked interview questions in Canada and a challenging one to answer. Recruiters and hiring managers may phrase this question in many different ways, such as “Why do you want this job?,” “Why do you want to work with us?,” or “Why are you interested in this position?” In this article, we share tips on how to answer the question “Why do you want to work here?” in a job interview.

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Why do employers ask why you want to work with them?

When a recruiter asks, “Why do you want to work here?”, they want to know why you’re interested in that particular role in that particular company. If you’re looking for your first job in Canada as a newcomer, you may have applied to multiple positions in various organizations. Employers, however, want to be certain that they hire someone who’s passionate about their business and believes in their mission. 

When asking this question, recruiters are also trying to assess how well your values and goals align with those of the organization. This means you need to do your research and understand their company, business objectives, and core values before the interview. 

From the hiring manager’s perspective, the ideal candidate is someone who actively wants to make a positive impact on their business. This question helps them shortlist applicants who’re committed and willing to contribute to the company’s growth.

You may come across the “Why do you want to work here?” question at different stages of the interview, but some employers choose to reserve it for the end. This allows them to confirm you’re still interested in working with them now that you’ve learnt more about the organization, team, and role.

Preparing for your job search in Canada? Download our guide on finding your career in Canada to learn about creating a resume, looking for job opportunities, networking, and preparing for interviews.

Preparing for the question “Why do you want to work here?”

As a newcomer, you may not have been asked “Why do you want to work here?” in an interview before, but it’s a common one in Canada. Having an answer ready can give you an advantage over other candidates and ensure you don’t miss any important points. Here are some tips to help you prepare your response:

Do your research

To convince the interviewer you want to work with them, you need to have a good understanding of what working there will entail. Start by carefully reviewing the job description, the company’s website, social media profiles, and researching the interviewers before your interview. Has the company appeared in the news in recent weeks or months? This will give you a chance to learn about the organizational culture, the team structure, and the role you’re interviewing for. 

If you’re applying for your first job as a newcomer, your professional network can be a great resource. Pre-interview coffee chats with people in the organization or in similar roles in other companies will help you learn more about your industry, Canadian business culture, and the general job responsibilities and success metrics for professionals in similar roles.

Building your professional network from scratch in Canada? Download our guide on networking from newcomers to learn more about the importance of networking for your career in Canada. You’ll also find useful tips on improving your networking skills and leveraging your network to uncover hidden job opportunities.

Adapt your response to each organization

The business model, goals, and company culture are different for each company and your reasons for wanting to work there should be, too. Leverage your research and adapt your response in a way that highlights that you’re aware of how things work in that particular organization and role.

Be ready to cite specific examples

When answering interview questions, you should always substantiate your claims with specific examples. For instance, when talking about your skills, try to give examples of how you applied those skills in previous roles and what the outcome was for your team or company. This keeps the interview conversational and makes your response more convincing. It also makes it easier for the interviewer to see how your earlier roles align with this one and where your transferable skills may be valuable.

Practise your response

Practising your answers in advance will make you feel more confident about the interview. It’ll also ensure that you don’t miss any important points. Ask a friend or family member to do a preparatory interview with you or practise in front of a mirror. Remember, the “Why do you want to work here?” question may be posed in different ways, so, while it’s important to practice your response, don’t memorise it. 

How to answer the “Why do you want to work here?” question

Tips IconTip:
Your response to “Why do you want to work here?” should highlight reasons for the employer to hire you, not the personal advantages you see in working for the organization.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the “Why do you want to work here?” question. As a newcomer, you may interview for multiple roles while looking for your first job in Canada, and your replies to this question will have to be customised based on each company, role, as well as your own skills and experience. However, good answers to “Why do you want to work here?” should highlight certain things, such as:

Your skills that can be applied to the role

Not all of your skills and experiences may be relevant to a particular role. Your answer should focus on the skills and professional experiences the organization is looking for to meet its business objectives. This serves a dual purpose—it showcases your knowledge about the role and company and also gives you a chance to focus on your complementary skills. Read our articles on in-demand skills in sales, hospitality, digital marketing, and engineering roles for more insights on what recruiters are looking for.

Past professional wins that you can replicate

Recruiters want to hear about your professional achievements and learnings, especially ones that relate closely to the role you’re interviewing for. More importantly, they want to know if you can solve their business problems. 

Try to find out as much as possible about the company’s business and problem areas in advance of your interview. Depending on your field, this can be as simple as reviewing their website to look for potential improvement areas or networking with someone who works in the organization. 

For instance, if you’re a digital marketer interviewing for a similar role, you may want to focus on past achievements like improving the conversion rate for your website or creating new prospect generation funnels, especially if this is a problem area for your prospective employer. 

Why you’re passionate about this role

Think about what attracted you to this company or role. Perhaps they are a market leader in the industry or a fast-growing, innovative business in their niche. Or maybe you’ve used the company’s product or service and had a great experience. Your answer should highlight what sparks your interest in the role and organization, whether it’s an opportunity to learn something new or your belief in their business.

Your alignment with the company’s culture

Cultural fit is usually an important criterion for hiring managers in Canada. Your response to the “Why do you want to work here?” question should reflect both your understanding of the company culture as well as ways in which you’re aligned with it. For instance, if customer-centricity is one of their core values, you could cite examples around your experience in improving customer satisfaction or relying on consumer insights to create a better user experience.

The best way to learn about a company’s culture is to talk to others who work there. This will give you insight into how they work and what attributes the organization values in employees. 

What not to say when a recruiter asks why you want this job

There’s no right answer to the “Why do you want to work here?” question, but there are a few wrong ones. A poor response to this question can cost you the job, even if the rest of the interview goes well. Here are some things you should never say when an interviewer asks why you want to work with them:

Don’t talk about salary or benefits

Employers don’t want to hire someone whose primary motivation is salary or benefits. Avoid saying things like, “I heard you pay people well,” “I need the money,” or “You offer plenty of vacation days,” even if they are true. Such statements can give the interviewer the impression you’ll soon move on to the next higher-paying company you can find.

Don’t talk about how much you need the job

As a newcomer, it’s possible to get anxious and overwhelmed with a drawn out job search or to lose confidence and patience. Talking about how much you need a job will only raise questions about why you haven’t been able to get one yet. It’ll also make the interviewer feel you’re not passionate about this particular role. Remember, when recruiters ask, “Why do you want to work here?,” their emphasis is on “here.”

Don’t say it’s a way to get your foot in the door

If you’re interviewing for your first job as a newcomer in Canada or a job in a new industry, don’t say or indicate that this is a step to bigger, better opportunities. This will make the interviewer think this job is just a stop-gap arrangement for you and you’re not going to stick around for long. Don’t focus too much on opportunities down the line. Employers want to hire professionals who will stay and grow with the organization.

Don’t badmouth your previous employer

Criticising your previous employers in a job interview is a big red flag for recruiters in Canada. It reflects badly on you as an employee and makes the interviewer question your loyalty and integrity. Even if your issues with an earlier company are legitimate, it’ll give the interviewer reasons to doubt your ability to work effectively in a team and maturely handle conflict.

When you start interviewing for jobs in Canada, you’ll likely come across the “Why do you want to work here?” question. Your response will help the hiring manager assess how well you know their company, the value you’ll bring to the table, and whether you’re genuinely interested in the position. Use this opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and are a good fit for the position. By answering this question honestly and confidently, you’ll be able to get one step closer to landing your dream job in Canada.