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I am tired of the question from interviewers - Why have you selected 'XYZ' (the interviewer's organization).

In today's IT world, does anybody go looking for a COMPANY. I mean what the interviewers are thinking? that somebody from the sky will come searching for their company and desperate to work with them..

I faced the same question multiple times. I dont understand what to answer this. Can anybody help here...

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closed as not constructive by World Engineer, jmort253, mattnz, gnat, Walter May 23 '12 at 12:09

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I'm afraid I'm just as baffled by your question as you are by theirs. Are you saying you are that indifferent to where you work, or just desperate for any job? –  Charles E. Grant May 23 '12 at 4:21
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Its just a loyalty check. –  Shirish11 May 23 '12 at 4:26
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@Charles I am saying - if a person is fit for a job profile, why interviewers ask this question? When I apply for any job, I just look for the job profile and reputation of company –  akp May 23 '12 at 4:27
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@akp Because the world does not operate on black and white profiles. Passion and commitment are human values. I can think of at least 5 companies off the top of my head that I could give a killer answer to on that question. –  Tom Dignan May 23 '12 at 5:48
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@akp you just answered your own question, "because I looked up your reputation and found it satisfactory". Although I suspect that most companies hope for a bit more from prospective hires in terms of engaging beyond just the job description. –  pap May 23 '12 at 7:22
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4 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

It depends.

1. Case of a well known company with high reputation

If you're interviewed for a vacancy in Google Inc. or other company with very high reputation, you're really expected to answer exactly why you've selected this company rather than another one. If you want to work at Apple or Facebook, you want to do it for a specific reason, not just for money or because you don't have any other choice.

For example, if one day I will send my candidature to Fog Creek, I expect them to ask me this question, and if they do, I'll explain that I'm looking precisely for a job in Fog Creek:

  • because I enjoy the people who work there,
  • because I totally agree with many things written by Joel Spolsky of Jeff Atwood (even if Jeff left the company now),
  • because I truly believe that their management techniques are the right ones,
  • because the score on Joel test is 12/12, and not 2 or 3 like in most companies, and
  • because I know that I'll spend my time doing development and increasing my productivity, instead of fighting people from human resources department, or the boss, or the lead developer who doesn't know anything about the software development but who is still where he is because he's the brother of the boss.

2. Case of an ordinary company, not known or with no specific reputation

If you're interviewed for a vacancy at "just another company" which has nothing special nor great, you will still be asked the same question, but the expectation is not the same. Here, you're not expected to tell that this is the greatest company and you spent your college years dreaming to work here: they know it's a lie and they are among hundred of other candidatures you've sent to similar companies.

What they expect is to hear that you did at least some research about the company before the interview.

Example of a valid answer for a company which manufactures socks and needs a third developer in their IT department to maintain software they use internally:

I'm choosing your company because you have a solid business since 1982 and you succeed well both at the local and the national level. I also enjoy working with legacy COBOL code (don't say that if there is a person with some technical background in the room) and I always wanted to work on the software products for manufactures. I also following a special course on ETLs and found it really exciting, and I know that you're looking to extend your products with an ETL.

Example of a valid answer for a web design company:

I'm choosing your company because I find your products really exciting. For example, yesterday I visited the last website, example.com, you've done for your customer, and I found that it has an outstanding visual design. Especially, I enjoyed how you did the top menu and the filters on products page are really useful and intuitive. I also found that you have 7/12 on Joel test which is much higher compared to many other companies I've seen so far. Finally, I always wanted to work closer with designers, and this is a perfect opportunity for me.

Example of a bad answer:

I... ehm... I really don't know, you were on the lists... I found you... so I contacted you...

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As someone who asks "why are you interested in working for ${company}" in an interview, I can tell you exactly what one interviewer is thinking.

There isn't going to be an answer that you like, though.

I am thinking that I work for a company that is pretty damn awesome, and which gets more resumes for people who are good at what they do and who are interested in working for us than we can hire.

Somebody who just wants to fill a seat, and who doesn't care about the job, or the company, is the opposite of what I am trying to hire.

Somebody who doesn't care about what we do, or why we do it, is probably not going to do a good job - and why would they? They don't care.

Are they going to step up and help out when other folks in the group are in trouble? Maybe, but probably not - that takes effort, and they plain don't care.

So, if you don't care, be honest, and tell people. You probably won't get the job but, seriously, we can usually figure out that you are lying about your "great and abiding passion for the company" if you just give the "right" answer anyhow.

...or, maybe have a think about what you want to do with your life, then go apply for jobs at companies that you do think would be awesome to work for?

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This works only if your company is "pretty damn awesome". How many companies are? –  MainMa May 23 '12 at 5:35
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Most companies are, to someone. Awesome is in the eye of the beholder. If none of the companies in the entire world are of any interest to you ... might be the wrong profession. :) –  Daniel Pittman May 23 '12 at 5:38
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It's an easy line to cross from wanting to gauge actual interest in the work and sense of team/project devotion to being offended because the candidate didn't demonstrate the proper amount of deference for your mighty brand name and the amazing golden opportunity you have presented before them. Interviews are two-way streets. Some of us take it as a sign of an ugly or pompous company/culture when people start seeming like they're surprised at your lack of vocal gratitude and kow-towing just for being allowed to see the innards of a Silicon Valley company grandma knows the name of. –  Erik Reppen May 23 '12 at 6:13
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@MainMa, "awesome" does not equal "world famous legendary IT company". E.g. my current workplace is a company whose business (on the surface) has nothing to do with IT. Yet they have an IT department with some terrific guys (including even managers!), and is IMHO simply the best workplace I have had so far. Of course, you won't notice this if you don't ask the right questions during the interview. –  Péter Török May 23 '12 at 8:28
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@Péter Török: agreed. But in an acceptable place with a potential for improvement, you will not tell that the company is "pretty damn awesome" during the interview, as suggested in the answer of Daniel Pittman. –  MainMa May 23 '12 at 11:39
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This isn't a 'loyalty check' or some such - the interviewer is offering you some space to talk about the aspects of the company which you find attractive, which you them relate to your strengths, experience or interests.

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You can answer this question because there are always other options. Why you didn't prefer the other options is the answer. If you're hungry and there are beef carrots and potatoes on the table, I can ask you why you chose the beef over the carrots or potatoes. The answer would not be: "because I'm hungry", because you still chose the beef.

Now scrap the beef: only carrots and potatoes. Now I can ask why you chose the carrots. And there would still be good reasons to choose the carrots over potatoes. Etc.

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