3-Steps to Ace “Why do you want to Join this Company?” (with 4 Real Example Answers) | Life Into Tech by Bessy Tam

3-Steps to Ace “Why do you want to Join this Company?” (with 4 Real Example Answers)

Published on 18 August 2020 by Bessy Tam | Filed in Interview & Informational Chats

There are a lot of interview questions that are commonly asked during tech interviews as it is in traditional ones. One of them is, "Why do you want to join this company?" 

Other variations include "Why do you want to join us?" or "Why do you want to work for us?"

The challenge most of my clients face is, "I know how to answer this question but I don't know if it's what tech companies look for, or if it is 'right'."

Today I'll talk more about:

  • Why do companies ask this question? What do they want out of it?
  • What's the best way to answer "Why do you want to join our company?" 
  • How can you best show that you're the right fit for the role and company?
  • How do you show you're a great "Culture Fit?"
  • How do you best frame your answers to communicate your passion, experiences, and skillsets? 

If you're interested in learning more about how to best prepare for interviews (especially for behavioral questions) and what to expect for interviews with 40+ real example questions, then feel free to subscribe and get the 25-pg Ultimate Interview Prep Guide here for free!

Why is this Question, "Why Do you Want To Join Our Company?" Important?

#1 Showcase Desire to Get Into the Company vs Tech Industry

Firstly, companies want to see if you want to just get into the tech industry and randomly picked a company, or if you actually thought about how their company's vision, their working model, the leadership, their products actually excite you. 

Employees really make the future of a tech company. That is why the hiring process is so intense with behavioral questions. This is so that they can make sure employees have a strong desire to get into that company to contribute to the company's success.

#2 Show Understanding of Team & Day-to-Day work

Secondly, companies want to understand if there's a mismatch in your goals. They want to see if you actually understand what the company  does and if there's a mismatch between what you see in the company vs what the team needs you to do in the role. 

For example, if you talk a lot about building new products and working with engineers but the role is specifically to drive sales, then there may be a mismatch in the team and day-to-day work. 

#3 Align to the Company's "Culture Fit"

Previously, I talked a little about how tech companies have 4 different criteria in evaluating a good candidate. These criteria include: leadership, problem solving, role related knowledge or experience, and also culture fit.

This specific question tries to answer quite a few of them, but specifically culture fit.

Different companies actually have different missions, so we will address this goal later in this video/article  about how to talk about the mission in a clear way.

Using the 1-2-3 Method to Answer this Interview Question

There's three steps to answering this question, I call this the 1-2-3 Method.

I talk about this method in more detail in the full interview prep guide. If you're interested in learning more about how I approach interview prep for my clients, you can download it at BessyTam.com/interviewquestions.

This method is called the 1-2-3 method. You can use this method in behavioral as well as hypothetical questions during interviews.  It's fantastic because it's a strong framework for you to:

  1. Deliver your story and message in a clear and succinct way that allows the interviewer to easily follow your points (and thus write interview notes about it for calibration)
  2. Buy some time to brainstorm your answers.
  3. Demonstrate that you have a strong thought process towards your answer and why

With the 1-2-3 method we can then showcase in this interview question, "Hey, these are 3 reasons why I want to join this company...  Firstly it's because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Secondly it's because blah blah.. and Thirdly its because..." 

Overall, you want to keep your answer to a maximum of 1 minute 30 seconds to ensure that you have more time for questions/building rapport. 

Step 1:  Mission of the Company

First point is for you to address you how align with the mission of the company.

This is information  you can find online on different websites, podcast, company, financial statements, or even founders letters, shareholder calls

Step 2: Mission of the Team

So previously I talked a lot about reaching out to relevant people in the right team and the right hiring team to understand exactly:

  •  what their business challenges are
  • what their goals or opportunities are
  • and how this role actually plays into the success of the team.

With understanding the mission of the team. You can then place yourself "in the team" and showcase how you can contribute to these goals.

Whether the team's mission means transforming a certain product,  changing a certain industry and the way that they interact with the target company's products, or growing the company through your analysis.

In this step, you want to be as specific as you can be. As you talk to more people, you'll be able to hone in on what the team wants exactly and speak to those points during interviews eg "I know the team is looking to do xyz... In the past I've..."

Step 3: Personal Experiences with the Company or Product

Lastly, I guide my clients to talk about their own experiences with the product and the company and how it changed their own life.

For example: 

  • With Facebook, I personally found friends on the platform from 5th grade whom I thought I would never see again.
  • With Google, you can talk about how it helped you solve some of the challenging problems you've faced and how some advertisements or YouTube (like my video) actually helped you learn new things

If you don't have your own experiences to share, you can also share a friend's or a family member's story to still amplify your passion for the whole company. For example for Facebook, you can  talk about how your parents or grandparents may have found long lost friends from school or their hometown.

So now I'll show you some examples of how my clients have approached this question with my guidance.

4 Real Client Examples across Different Tech Companies and Roles

Example #1: Account Executive in LinkedIn

Here's an example from a client of mine who switched from marketing to account executive in LinkedIn. Although the structure shown is slightly different the points made are still similar. 

Breaking Down the First Paragraph:
  1. The first paragraph shows both professional and personal experiences in using the target company's product
  2. I guided her to  highlight her entrepreneurial spirit because:
    1. Tech companies really value having an entrepreneurial mindset and being a "self-starter" and "problem solver"
    2. the role as an Account Executive really needs someone who is a go-getter, to get new clients. (Note that different companies have different definitions of what an "Account Executive" does. She's spoken to 8+ people at LinkedIn to know exactly what the roles were meant to do
  3. Mentioning that LinkedIn is the #1 platform for b2b lead generation + 630M users shows that she's done her research and knows a lot about tech and marketing industries
Breaking Down the Second Paragraph:
  1. The second paragraph shows how she used a specific product to grow her network (the purpose of the company and team mission)
  2. She mentioned how she bonded really well with the LinkedIn employees, demonstrating a strong "Culture Fit"in the company and team.
Breaking Down the Third Paragraph: 
  1. She was specific in naming the people she's talked to in order to build a strong rapport in the first 5-10 minutes of the interview
  2. It concludes her approach really well and demonstrates how deeply she thought about this company and why she loves the culture, product, company, and mission.
With this answer she was able to:
  1. land her dream job at Linkedin as an Account Executive
  2. land a job that was not open to the public when she started doing outreaches to talk to these people in the team. 

Example #2: Program Manager at Facebook

Secondly, here's an example from a client who switched from consulting to program management at Facebook. 

Breaking Down the First Paragraph:
  1. We aligned the company's mission to the wider 1-2-3 method. This mission was found on Facebook's company page
  2. We highlighted her experience in working with the government to show her ability to work in a highly regulated industry. Although the job description did not mention strong experiences in doing so, I know that it's important to her target role working in the payments industry.
  3. We talked about impact instead of what the company can do for her, to show what she can give vs what she can "get" from the company
Breaking Down the Second Paragraph:
  1. We aligned the 2nd paragraph to the target hiring team. The terminology "quick transactions" was mentioned because she was going for a payments team and many of her outreach calls with the hiring team mentioned this mission/product.
  2. She used her friend's story to tie back to the team's mission
  3. We highlighted "increasing sustainability and reducing waste" here because it is not only something that was dear to her heart but also because Facebook really cares about these topics too. By tying those in, we could talk about both the company's and the team's mission.
Breaking Down the Third Paragraph:
  1. We highlighted her personal experiences through social impact.
  2. The personal story we used about running long distance exemplifies not only her drive and given personality but also how she used "quick transactions" or Facebook payment solutions to accomplish her goal.
  3. We highlighted the "feedback loop" portion since this was tied back to the team's mission too, to quicken product feedback or customer feedback back to payment teams. We highlighted this to showcase how her own goal is tied to giving back to Facebook (vs what she can "take" from the company)

Example #3: Business Analyst at Netflix

Thirdly, here's an example from a client who interviewed at Netflix as a business analyst, coming from the real estate industry

Breaking Down the First Paragraph:
  1. We started the answer again by setting up the 1-2-3 method "I want to join Netflix because of 3 main reasons..."
  2. Talking about the company's history not only shows that she's done your homework to research the company but also demonstrates how she was aligned to the company's mission
  3. The role was a global business analyst role, so it was important to highlight how she was aligned to helping Netflix grow globally through analysis. 
Breaking Down the Second Paragraph:
  1. Although the sequence is slightly different here, but "Freedom and Responsibility" is part of the company's mission. We knew this as we researched Netflix's 7 core values in addition to their SlideShare deck.
  2. We talked about how she researched the company through podcasts and videos to show how much she loved the culture, demonstrating "Culture fit"
  3. Talking about her showing initiative to learn is really important. As someone in tech, its not only important to have domain expertise or experiences in your role, its even more important to be continually challenging yourself, learning things outside of work, and gathering data/knowledge that you may not have had experiences. This ultimately aligns to 2 of the 4 criteria that companies look for : Leadership and problem solving.
Breaking Down the Third Paragraph:
  1. Narratives and storytelling are parts of Netflix's 7 core values
  2. She has global experiences both in China and the US. This allows her to provide a unique global perspective to the global business analyst role and help Netflix grow around the world. Personally, I've highlighted my experiences working in both Hong Kong, Asia Pacific, as well as the US in order to land my own role as a Global Product lead at Google as well.

Example #4: Product Manager at a Real Estate Startup

Lastly, here's an example from a client who interviewed at a Real Estate Startup coming from an e-commerce Product Manager background

Breaking Down the First Paragraph:
  1. We explained the company's history to show how he's done research on the company's background and mission.
  2. We talked about different ways that can make people's lives easier, faster, and more convenient. These are aspects that were mentioned throughout past outreach calls to employees in the company
  3. The last sentence quickly addresses a common tech interview question "what would you improve about the company/product?" This allows the interviewer to do 1 of 2 things. Either:
    1. Dig deeper on this as a follow up question and thus allow him to demonstrate his strong product ownership mindset as a Product Manager.
    2. Or, skip the follow up question overall since it was addressed in this answer and therefore save time in the interview for him to ask the interviewer questions instead
Breaking Down the Second Paragraph:
  1. Driving scale, platform mindset,  operational efficiencies, and self-service app is directly tied to the team's mission
  2. We aligned what he knew from outreach calls and research by stating "From what I understand... "
  3. We added a STAR story, a framework that I explain in my ultimate interview prep guide, to strongly align his past experiences with the team's mission. This helps interviewers envision what he could do for the company if he were to be hired.
  4. With any example, it's super important to have exact numbers and metrics to clearly demonstrate the impact you could bring. Eg .1 brand is different from 13 brands. 3% increase is different from 55% increase. This allowed him to standout among other candidates
  5. We added Company B, a different STAR example specifically about reducing 1:1 customer service, to demonstrate his approach to scaling a business. This was also something that the target company needed and thus could relate to. 
Breaking Down the Third Paragraph:
  1. His personal passion in the real estate industry is awesome and we wanted to highlight that. This allowed us to move away from his "ecommerce" background and showcase domain expertise instead.
  2. We specifically highlighted his strong understanding of the user - as both a tenant and landlord - to ensure that he would be in a great position to be a product manager, since product managers need to have a strong understanding of the user.
  3. The startup highlighted this opportunity, specifically the"$35B multisite property market," on their website. This shows his research and strong alignment to the company's mission, goals, and future.
  1. His personal passion in the real estate industry is awesome and we wanted to highlight that. This allowed us to move away from his "ecommerce" background and showcase domain expertise instead.
  2. We specifically highlighted his strong understanding of the user - as both a tenant and landlord - to ensure that he would be in a great position to be a product manager, since product managers need to have a strong understanding of the user.
  3. The startup highlighted this opportunity, specifically the"$35B multisite property market," on their website. This shows his research and strong alignment to the company's mission, goals, and future.

Next Steps for you

Want to learn more about how to ace interviews in tech? Download the free guide below

Let me know in the comments below or in the video, how this article and strategy has helped you answer "Why do you want to join this company?" well. Even better, tell me how its helped you ace your interview or land your dream job!

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About the Author

Bessy Tam is a career coach who helps busy professionals get into their dream non-tech job in tech. She’s helped dozens of clients get interviews and offers from companies such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Lyft, Amazon, Babbel, & More. She currently works at Google in Chicago.

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