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How To Explain To Hiring Managers Why You’re Looking For A Job

Source | FastCompany : By JAMES REED

One of the most common questions hiring managers ask job candidates is a simple one on the surface: “Why do you want to work here?” But it can be tricky to answer—because the real information they’re looking for is more complicated than that. What they’re really asking is something closer to this:

Do you know what this job is? And—to be a little paranoid—do you have some murky problem that I can’t see now? Are you about to get fired? Help me out here.

To get this right, you first need to recognize that—like so much in the interview experience—it isn’t just about you and your career goals. It’s about how those square with what the company needs.

Here’s how you can link the two, no matter what your other motivations might be for looking for a job or for going after this one in particular.


This question is rarely a showstopper—unless you want to leave your job for a negative reason. Sadly, there often is a negative reason for leaving, even if it’s not your fault. If that’s you, don’t let this question cause panic. It is always possible to give a sincere and positive answer regardless of your circumstances.

First, you can never know for certain what the interviewer is thinking, especially if you’ve just met for the first time. The interviewer might have assumed nothing but good things about you. Maybe they just intend the question to be an innocent warm-up, not a confession-seeker. Try to answer the question put to you rather than the question you fear they’re asking—the latter will lead you into trouble almost inevitably.

All the same, falling out with your boss or your colleagues will often be the precise reason you’re applying. After all, work is complicated. People are complicated. Falling out is so common that there’s even a saying about it: “People don’t leave companies; they leave people.”

Maybe you’re bored and frustrated by what you do all day. You want a change of scene, or some progress. Maybe you need more money.

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