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Answering the ubiquitous interview question – why do you want to join our organisation?

“Why do you want to join our organisation?” is one of the most commonly asked interview questions. Although it sounds like a simple and easy question, it is one of the most challenging questions to answer. The answer to this question enables the employer to gauge you and your knowledge about the company. It helps them identify why you want to join the organisation and, thereby, identify the right candidate for a role in the organization.

What is the right answer to this question?

Answer this question with excitement and passion as it will convey to the employer that you are enthusiastic about this opportunity. Refrain from giving vague answers and stick to specifics because that displays that you have clarity and are certain. Also, bear in mind to answer this question well you may need to conduct a thorough research about the company.

While researching the company begin with the company website and then look at different blogs, LinkedIn articles and news articles. Read about the company’s achievements, revenues, funding and also different financial details if available. Read all of the ‘About Us’ and ‘Press Room’ content, where you will usually find the latest press releases and media mentions.

The best way to understand company culture is to talk to common connections who work in the company and former employees. People who have worked in a company are often able to provide the best insights about the team and the company.

Emphasise on positive aspects of the company

While talking about the company to the interviewer it is critical to focus on all the positives of the organisation. You can talk about various aspects like company values, reputation, management philosophy, positioning in market, initiatives, growth and success. Using all the research to talk about how you fit into the company will demonstrate that you are passionate about joining the company. It will also highlight the effort you put in to research various aspects of the company and understand the organisation. For instance, talk about how the Corporate Social Responsibility activities of the company interest you. This will accentuate the fact that your interests are not limited to just work. These answers will also bring out your positive personality traits.

Speaking about how you fit into the organisation, what you can deliver and your interests will help the employer offer you the best role in the most suitable team. Discussing how your long term goals align with the organisation will further help the employer guide you better. It gives them faith that you are considering a lasting career with the company.

A genuine and informed answer is usually well received by the interviewer. Interviewers can easily identify when an employee is being genuine, and when they are not. This helps them evaluate how keen the person is to work with the organisation and also helps them believe that the candidate seeks to pursue a long and fulfilling career with the company.

Add a personal touch

It is extremely critical that the answer to the question has a personal aspect and is not taken off the Internet. Interviewers would’ve heard most combinations of answers to this question. The only way to make it unique is by citing personal examples instead of generalisations. This will help build a relationship with the employer and display that you are not afraid about expressing yourself. Everyone appreciates and respects answers that are personal and honest.

Employers also look for positive answers. Being too negative or focussing only on the negative aspects of the company makes the interviewer question if your interest in the company is genuine or if you are too fussy and negative. Concerns about the company should be expressed in a very positive tone during the interview. The interviewer will appreciate your curiosity when it is presented positively.

Now let’s take a look at some examples of good answers to this question

“The company uses some of the most cutting-edge tools in the industry for research and development and my passion and experience with these tools will help me learn and develop new applications in this industry.” An answer like this helps convey your passion, while focussing on one aspect of the company also showcases both your interest and ability. It also showcases your knowledge on the tools and technologies used by the company. You can also talk about anything new you read about the company in the news.

Another example would be, “I recently read about the great work you are doing in educating poor underprivileged children as part of your corporate social responsibility. I have always been involved with NGOs and teaching kids and this really impressed me and motivated me to apply for the job as I felt I could contribute greatly here as well.” This answer shows the extent of your research about the company and also highlights something you are passionate about. You are indirectly talking about the NGO work you have done previously and it highlights a different aspect of your personality.

The most important thing while answering this question is to be confident and clear. How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. The key is to be well prepared. This will help you impress the employer and make yourself stand out among hundreds of other candidates.

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