Original Spanish version published in América Economía magazine (Latam) on April 27, 2018
Often, job interviews include problematic questions. Of these, the question “Why would you like to work with us?” is the most difficult to answer.
It is a typical question that many answer incorrectly simply because they have not prepared properly. The typical incorrect answers are: “because I want to build a career”, “I want to develop myself”, “I need the work”, “I do not like where I am working”, “I know they pay well here”. These answers make us look unprepared, but above all like egocentric people, concerned only with ourselves, and not the organization to which we are applying for a job. Giving these kinds of unplanned answers makes us look like people who have little to contribute or have no personal ideas to put forward. As I like to say: people who arrive “with little to offer”.
The best way to tackle this question is with exhaustive and very professional preparation. The answer must be based on the company’s needs, from the perspective of their challenges and opportunities. That is, we must respond with information and already prepared ideas on what we believe we can contribute to the organization. Many people even put these ideas into 4 to 6 printed PowerPoint slides in case they have the opportunity to present them. But the exercise of drawing them up is very valuable in directing the course of our research on the company, and on the area or the function that interests us.
Of course, it is also important to clearly communicate what motivates us personally to work there, and if the subject, the product or service, the sector, the industry, or the company itself excites us, or ideally, we are really passionate about it, what better than to let them know transparently and simply? As we know, nothing sells better than radiating passion, but we need to express what it is that excites us clearly, and with a focus on our contribution, not on what we expect to receive.
For example, if we have an interview for a position in a company in the financial sector, we must try to get to know the company thoroughly, methodically research the sector, the competition, the challenges, and the different focuses of development. There is nothing better than being backed by our own experience with the products or services offered by our objective organization; that is, going to the bank, lining up at a window, purchasing one of its services, opening an account, living the experience. If it is a supermarket, we have to visit several stores, go at different times, and observe how they sell their products. Visit and carefully observe the competition’s locales, how their employees go about their tasks, the differences between the two chains, and the service culture, among thousands of other things to analyze. The same goes for an industrial plant –try the products it offers, analyze the sector, identify what problems this particular industry faces, if it is having to deal with any harmful regulations, for example. After that, we can think knowledgably about how we can add value and contribute to the results and specific goals of the organization.
Remember that the answer must always be geared to showing what we can contribute to the company, how through our skills, knowledge, experience, achievements, and even previous failures, we can help the organization to grow, develop more, and generate value.
This answer must be previously prepared in order to bring about an exchange of ideas between two solid professionals. The way we answer and the quality of the ideas we express will differentiate us from the others who aspire to that same position. All the best in this task!