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Behavioral Interview Guidebook

How to Answer "Why do you want to work Here" in Behavioral Interviews

Learn the best way to answer questions about company motivation concisely and effectively, for front end / web developers / software engineers. Written by ex-interviewers at big tech.

As a hiring manager, "Why do you want to work here" is an extremely common question that is probably asked in over 70% of interviews. Yet, most candidates fail to answer this well. In this article, you will learn from ex-interviewers how to answer this question in an effective and concise manner Front End Engineers/Software Engineers:

  1. The interviewer's intention
  2. Suggested answer framework
  3. Example questions and answers

The Interviewer's Intention

Most interviewers ask this question with a single objective in mind — to understand more about you through your motivations to join the company. They want to know whether you were interested enough to do your research, or if there was a special reason that constituted a strong motivation from you.

Suggested Answer Framework

To succeed, there are 3 basic steps to build your answer:

1. It should take between 60 to 90 seconds

Never take more than 60 to 90 seconds. Any longer might constitute a monologue. For reference, 1 min is around 15 statements.

2. Gather deep insights about the company/team/position gained from current/previous employees of the company

If you've been an interviewer before, you'd know that most candidates do not impress in the "why do you want to work in this company / team" question because they tend to answer it based the company's public information, which may not necessarily be representative of the individual team or department's culture or situation. For instance, imagine you are evaluating 2 candidates for a game-development team:

  1. Candidate A: "Company A is very environmentally friendly and I want to be a part of the earth-saving efforts" (as the team's manager, you know none of your team members ever talk about earth-saving as your work is completely unrelated to it)
  2. Candidate B: "Team A is working on games based on Technology B and this is something I happen to be very interested in."

To stand out as someone who is truly interested in the role, you should optimally strive to find insights specific to the team you are joining, and use that to justify your interest (and therefore fit).

Here are some common avenues to get team-specific insights:

  1. Gain more insights about the team's stack or practices from the job description (in some cases, there could be many details you could tap on)
  2. Search up the team on LinkedIn and understand more about their individual work scope, past projects, backgrounds and interests
  3. Try to score an informational interview or coffee chat or short video call with the team members (after doing basic research online)
  4. Search up the team on Blind or even Reddit (go as specific in your query as possible)

Here are some useful questions you could ask:

  1. What are some of the unique challenges or learning opportunities that developers get on your team versus other companies?
  2. What are the kinds of projects I could expect to work on if I were to join your team?
  3. How does the way this team operates differ from other teams in the company?
  4. Does this team work closely with other teams? Which ones and how so?
  5. Can you walk me through the process of a typical project?

3. Briefly explain why joining this company/role/team is a strategic and logical step for your career

In so doing, you could also take the chance to cement the interviewer's impression of your passion for the field or the efforts you have made to build your expertise.

Example questions and answers

"Why do you want to work in the TikTok Shop team?"

I've worked as a freelance web developer while in school for almost 4 years. Having grown significant experience as an individual contributor, the next step for me is to work on larger, more complex projects as part of a bigger team to take my development skills to the next level.

The top 3 things about TikTok commerce for me are:

  1. I like to know what my development efforts are able to tangibly drive impact. At the current stage, TikTok Shop is still at a relatively nascent stage of the product lifecycle where that is possible.
  2. TikTok Shop serves the wide masses and has to deal with associated challenges such as accessibility, localization and e-commerce in a relatively new format, which allows me to develop my skills in that area.
  3. ByteDance (TikTok's parent company) internally develops many cutting edge technologies and also uses open source technologies. I'm excited to learn from the company's experienced engineers on how to scale these technologies to a worldwide audience.