Demonstrating “fit” is absolutely essential in a job interview. Employees are routinely hired and fired because of a perceived “fit”, or lack thereof. While every hiring manager is hoping to hire the candidate who is a great “fit” for the company, some jobseekers hit an unexpected dead-end when an interviewer decides that they are not a good “fit”. But what exactly does “fit” mean? And how can you demonstrate that you would be a great “fit” for an organization during your job interview?
There is one common interview question that is a perfect opportunity for the interviewee to talk about “fit”: “Why do you want to work for us?”. Most job seekers will answer this question by talking about what they want, and what they hope to gain from working at the company. They may talk about the benefits, opportunities or challenges the position would make available to them. I recommend that you prepare a very different answer. Instead of talking about what you want, use this question as a springboard to tell them what you offer – namely, a great fit.
Let’s look at how differently these two “why do you want to work here?” answers land with the interviewer, and the different impression each makes:
Interviewer: Why do you want to work here?
Job Candidate A (talks about what they want): I want to work here because this position provides exactly the challenges I’ve been looking for, and would allow me to use and develop my skills. I’m excited about your leadership development and mentoring programs, as they would give me an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. I love working in a team environment like yours, and I know I’d be really happy here.
Interviewer’s Impression: This job will be a great opportunity for this candidate.
Interviewer: Why do you want to work here?
Job Candidate B (talks about the “fit” they offer): I want to work here because I know this company has an extraordinary commitment to innovation. As my references will tell you, I have a long track record of being an innovative thinker. For example, in my current job, I developed a new training module using a 3-D printer, which helped our engineers pre-solve anticipated production issues. I share your company’s deep commitment to innovation, and it’s just one of the reasons I think I would be a great fit here.
Interviewer’s Impression: This candidate shares our commitment to our core vales and would be a great “fit”.
Here is my 4-step guide to powerfully and effectively articulating your “fit” proposition in answer to the “Why do you want to work for us?” question. Your answer will demonstrate that you are well-prepared, and that you took the time to do deep research. Most importantly, though, your answer will reveal that you offer a perfect fit for their organization.
Four steps to articulating your “fit” for new employment:
Step 1) Research the company. Set aside at least an hour to do general research about the company – their history, what they do, who their clients are, how they are organized, who the leaders are. Click on everything on their website – leave no link unclicked. Google the company, see what pops up and click on it. (For more guidance on conducting research for a job interview, check out my tips here)
Step 2) Identify the company’s core values. After doing some general research, set aside another hour to focus on the company’s values and culture. Find and read their mission statement. Look for statements about core values, vision papers, and read the company history. Google the CEO and company leadership. Look for interviews with leadership, articles by the CEO, anything that may give you a sense of what the company cares about. Try to identify at least three different core values. How would their leadership complete the sentence: “Our company has an extraordinary commitment to _______”. Find examples of how they put those core values into action.
Step 3) Make a personal connection to one of the company’s core values. Choose one of the company’s core values that resonates with you. Develop a clear, direct sentence that lets them know that your experience and passions are in alignment with that core value. What are some examples of how that core value has been expressed in action in your career?
Step 4) Put it all together and practice your answer out loud. Your answer should sound something like this:
“I want to work here because I know that your company has an extraordinary commitment to (core value). In my career, I have always been committed to (core value). One quick example is (example from your career). I share your deep commitment to (core value), and that’s just one reason why I think I would be a great fit here.”
Don’t lose a job opportunity because of a perceived lack of “fit”. When an interviewer asks “Why do you want to work here?”, skip the list of what you want or the desirable opportunities the position or company would offer you. The “Why us?” question is a perfect opportunity to tell them exactly what you offer them: a great “fit” for their organization’s values and mission. Every hiring manager wants to hire the candidate who will be a great “fit”. Follow the four steps above to articulate your “fit” proposition, and ensure that your interviewer will put a big check in the “fit” box.
Still need interview preparation help? For further information about how to effectively prepare for that big interview, check out more of my free tips: https://impressiveinterviewing.com/free-t