Candidate Crib Sheet: ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ Understanding company culture

Before an interview it’s a given that you will try and garner as much information about your prospective new employer as possible. With this in mind, here’s some key questions to get you started…

  • What does the company do?
  • How big is the team you’re looking to join? How important is the team’s function in the company?
  • What are the KPIs and are they achievable?
  • What problem is it trying to solve? What is the market for such a solution?
  • If the company didn’t exist, how would the consumers’ life be different?

Thinking long and hard about the answers to the above questions is really worth the time and effort. If, after this point, you still have a passion for the employer, then you probably have an answer to the question ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ However, below are some pointers for helping you give a comprehensive answer. 

First, invest some time researching the company. Check recent press statements, the ‘About us’ section of their website and social media accounts for knowledge of their future plans and goals.

Quick steps for understanding a company’s working culture:

  • LinkedIn page – a medium for employees (past and present) and clients to keep up with company happenings
  • Google search [company website] ‘company culture’
  • ‘About us’ and ‘Latest news’ sections of company website
  • LinkedIn connections

Three key points to focus on: 

  • Core values and initiatives
  • Positive mentions of the company in the news
  • Interactions with employees past and present

Sample answers:

‘I believe that [name of company’s international presence will allow me to develop a global perspective that I think is critical to being successful in the [insert sector] industry today and for years to come.’

‘The culture at [name of company] resonates with me. I appreciate that your company has initiatives like [insert initiative] that are important for diversity, which is essential for creating an inclusive working environment. I feel that your culture is very aligned with my personal beliefs and interests.’


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