"Why do you want to work here?"
It's one of the most common interview questions a hiring manager will ask, and yet it's often the question that stumps job candidates the most.
Your answer also helps a hiring manager decide if you really want the job, or if it's just another one on the list of hundreds you submitted your resume for. "What interviewers are looking for when they ask that question is the depth of thinking and seriousness a candidate has about working at this company," Jeff Hyman, CEO of Recruit Rockstars, tells CNBC Make It. Hyman has interviewed more than 30,000 people throughout his 25-year career as a recruiter.
Below, Hyman and career coach Emily Liou share their best tips for answering this question and impressing any hiring manager.
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Details, details, details
Before your interview, research the company by reading its recent news coverage, social media posts, employee reviews on Glassdoor and the "mission and values" page on its website.
"You really stand out as a candidate when you show that you've gone the extra mile to look beyond a company's homepage," Liou says.
She explains: "If you're interviewing for a position at Apple, for example, and tell the hiring manager you want to work there because they make cool computers, that's not going to land you an offer, because so many other candidates are saying the exact same thing."
Pick out two or three details: It could be the company's mission, their business strategy or the opportunity to work with a particular employee, and build your answer from there, Hyman suggests.
Find a personal connection
It's also important to be genuine and personal in your response to show how much time and effort you put into preparing for the interview, which will set you apart from the competition.
"One of the most empowering actions you can take as a candidate is sharing what specifically drew you to an organization," Liou says. "You can say, 'I love the reputation your company has built around having excellent-work-life balance or how you give back to the community through X, Y and Z, those are important values to me as well."
Focus on impact
Finally, close out your answer by describing the immediate impact you're hoping to have on the team.
"When someone is interviewing candidates, they've got a problem that needs to be solved, whether it's growing revenue, launching a new product or something else," Hyman says.
When an interviewer asks "Why do you want to work here?" it's a great opportunity for you to demonstrate that you're not only excited about the company's mission and opportunities, but "you see a chance to help solve a problem and make a real impact," Hyman explains.
For example, if you're applying for a communications position at an appliance company, Liou says, "you can say, 'I'm really excited to help get your refrigerators in front of as many people as possible by leveraging my years of brand awareness and marketing campaign experience.'"
At the end of the day, Liou adds, companies are looking for people who understand their mission and are genuinely committed to their work. "A lot of people miss the opportunity to really connect with their interviewer," she says. "When you can do that, you become the no-brainer hire."
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