Interview Tips: “Why this firm?”
This question establishes two core characteristics: qualification and loyalty. A qualified employee has the background and goals that bring value to the company; a loyal employee is passionate about the company and fits well in its culture. The interviewer is testing your knowledge and interest in the firm and discovering why you are uniquely qualified for it.
All firms know that you are interviewing with other companies. They want to know that they are not your “back-up” and that they have a reason to invest resources in you. To answer this question well, you’ll have to invest some time researching the company. Read the company’s mission statement and values on its website, but go beyond that—read interviews, articles, and blogs. Find out how the firm was started, what changes it has undergone, who has worked there and what they have done. Most importantly, know what makes this company different from its competitors. Companies often pride themselves on these differences, and they present an excellent opportunity to explain why you fit in.
The ultimate goal is to speak about the firm as if you already work there. You want them to feel that you fit with their culture.
- Be an authority on the firm.
- Understand how the firm fits into your life goals.
- Be enthusiastic and show that you WANT to work there.
- List 2-3 concrete reasons that you like the firm.
- These can include company culture, representatives you met at an info session, the type of work they do, and philosophy and values.
- Relate the company to how it fits in with your goals
- Talk about your passions and how the company fits in line with them
- Speak about things you would like to learn from the company
- Speak about how you would like to contribute to the company
- Mention at least one interesting fact that you learned from your research about the company
- Talk about a particular executive at the company that you admire, an engagement or project the company took on, or a decision you found interesting.
Pitfalls You Must Avoid
- Do not just talk about the industry the company is in; this shows you are not familiar with the company in particular.
- Don’t flounder, but don’t give the appearance that you robotically memorized their website—the goal is to speak about the firm as an enthusiastic authority, as if you already work there.