Create an Outline
You’d be surprised at how many people head into an interview without a clear sense of why they want to work for a particular firm, or what they’d do if they landed the job. This is a bit odd, because “Why do you want to work here?” is often one of the first questions the interviewer asks.
With that in mind, before heading into the interview, sit down and ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the company align with your passions?
- What problem does the company tackle that you want to help solve?
- How can your skillset help the company succeed?
- What could you accomplish for the company on a tactical level?
- How will your background help you succeed in the role?
Once you’ve worked out the answers to all these questions, consider how you can arrange them into a compelling story or narrative arc. For example, if the company builds mobile software designed to help people more easily order food online, you could tell the interviewer that you have a lifelong passion for e-commerce, stemming from some pivotal event in college, and that you feel the company’s software and tools are best-in-market.
That will be a lot better answer than, “I want to work for your company because I think you’re doing cool stuff.” The interviewer has probably heard that exact same response a dozen times that day.
In order to answer the above questions in a compelling way, you’ll also need to research the company in exhaustive detail, including all its latest developments. For example, did the firm recently introduce a new business unit? Does it plan on spinning off a division as a separate entity? Is it embroiled in the middle of a huge stock scandal? If you’re interviewing at a large firm, publications such as Hacker News, TechCrunch, and Yahoo Finance can give you some much-needed insight into its current setup and operations.