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Job Interviewing: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Why do you want to work here?

It's a common question in the job interview and most people Don't get it right. This is partly because it's an odd question. The employer is speaking in code. She isn't asking what she really wants to know.

What the hiring manager DOES want to know is this: Is this going to last? She is wondering:If I hire you, are you quit on me after a couple months? Do you really want this job-- or are you intending to keep looking for what you really want? Are you going to fit in--or are you going to be an irritant?

Now that you know what the boss is really asking, how do you respond?

We suggest following this four-step process:

1)  1) Do your homework
Make sure you have read up on the company and talked to peers who are in the know.The more you want the job, the more research, you should do.

2) Demonstrate that you've done your homework
Share with the employer a bit about what you learned about the company, particularly as it's relevant to the job.

3)Your tone
Probably the most important part of this is your tone. What most people do is go into an interview, thinking that the best way to get hired is to shower the boss with an endless stream of words about how great they are.

Instead, I recommend that you treat the interview like you would a first date. That is, you go into the date with enthusiasm, but you are checking the other person out. You talk about yourself, but you also ask good questions to find out about your date--and you Don't grab onto their leg and say, "Please marry me!!" You want to find out if you have similar interests, see the world in the same way, and feel comfortable around each other. Of course, you're also wondering whether your date is sane.

Sometimes, you Don't want a second date...
and sometimes you Don't want to work there.

Many of us have found-too late-that the job description has almost nothing to do with the actual work, the demands of the employer are excessive, the culture isn't a good fit, etc..

4) Frankly share about your career goals
 For example, you might say, "I'm interested in a sales management position where I oversee a sales team of four to five reps in an organization where I can get promoted to oversee several sales teams.

5) Ask questions to determine the fit.
Part of this strategy is to demonstrate that you are a good fit. You might, for example, ask the boss about his management style. Suppose that he says, "I like to give broad responsibilities and let my employees run with them." You might respond by saying, "That's exactly the way my last boss and worked together. I really enjoyed the autonomy she gave me...."

Protect against being hired into the wrong job
Another part of the strategy is to protect yourself from getting into jobs that aren't a good fit.
For example, the employer might then tell you that your career goals are totally out of line with the job. You see, what you thought was a sales job, really isn't a sales job at all. You have saved yourself from a bad situation. [Remember that you are still being enthusiastic about working there.]

Ask questions to find out about what they're looking for, the environment, the company culture, working conditions, etc. to see if it's a good fit. Maybe they're looking for somebody with a very different skill set. Maybe they have expectations that you Don't want to meet-like 80% travel or ninety-hour work weeks. It's good to find that out now, rather than quitting or getting fired later.

Avoid getting set up to fail
Handling these questions right can also help you to avoid getting set up to fail. For example, a marketing manager was hired into a position that turned out to be quicksand for her. Unbeknownst to her, the owners of the company had been mucking up their marketing efforts for over three years, and were expecting that in six months, she would be able to clean up their mess. When they discovered that this unsuspecting woman was unable to walk on water, or turn it into wine, they fired her.

To avoid this, she might have asked them about their expectations. Then, she might have said to herself, "Run! Do NOT take this job!!" Or, she might have lowered their expectations and said, "Here's what I think we could get done in six months." Alternatively, she might have said, "I can get that done in six months, but I'm going to need a budget of $X,000 and another couple staff people." In this way, she could have set herself up to succeed, rather than setting herself up to fail.

Gather enough information to make a good decision
Of course, we can never know what the job is going to be like until we start working there, just as we can't know what the tenth date will be like on that first night. But we gather enough information to make what seems to be the best decision. You may still get into a bad situation, but by asking good questions, you drastically reduce the chances of that happening.



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