Why Do You Want to Work With Us? (Issue 687)

In which we are reminded to prepare answers to a  fundamental client question.

We sat quite comfortably in her ground floor office, the 10:00 am sunlight brightening the room almost to the point I considered sunglasses. Our first meeting. She had inherited Clarity as a service provider following a significant organizational change. She was aware of us. She’d heard good things about our work from a number of her colleagues both before and after the organizational changes. And this was our first meeting.

Our 45 minute conversation was energetic, a good get-acquainted session. After she shared the lay of the land – her view of her company’s objectives, the organizational changes, immediate priorities, strengths, gaps to be filled, culture, and values, she asked about ours – where have we come from, what are our guiding philosophies, the breadth of our services, and so on – and I was happy to share.

As we wound toward the end of the conversation, we focused  “down in the weeds,” resolving logistics and next steps for an ongoing project in which we are participating.

That finished, the conversation paused. We looked at each other for a moment, maybe seven seconds, me thinking that we were each confirming for ourselves that we’d covered everything we needed to cover, the next step being “thank you and good bye.”

Then, without blinking, she leaned forward slightly and asked, “Why do you want to work with us, Nick?”

She hit the “Nick” in that question with a little extra emphasis.  I was caught off guard, like taking a passed basketball on the side of the head while looking the other way.

I couldn’t recall a time when client or prospect had asked me that question. They’ve asked questions about my education and experience, they’ve asked questions about Clarity and its services, they’ve asked about our business philosophies, they’ve asked questions about my family history, and never THAT question: “Why do you want to work with us?”

“I’m thinking,” I replied, considering all that she’d shared with me that morning.

“Take your time,” she said, leaning back in her chair, quiet, her eyes steady on my face.

5 Responses to Why Do You Want to Work With Us? (Issue 687)

  1. Lew Mutty says:

    I’m sitting on the edge of my chair!
    I expected to see “to be continued” at the end.
    I can’t wait to hear your response.

    • Nick Miller says:

      Lew, thank you for your comments. I wrestled for a long time with whether to share my answer to her question. The client had made a very big deal out of “our culture, our values, our aspirations, and why our company is so great.” So (in brief), my answer went back to what she’d shared: I want to work with you because I admire (which I do) your values; I’m energized (which I am) by your commitment to employee development and helping people learn to think and act independently, based on your values; and I’d enjoy the work involved with moving your organization toward the aspirations you’ve described.” And,then I gave an example of past work that demonstrated our alignment around the values and culture elements.

  2. Dick Kazan says:

    Hi Nick, I saw it the same way Lew did, I was curious about your response. I think your client wants to know why she and her business matter to you, what makes them special, something we all want to feel whether we express it aloud or not. I’ll bet your answer captivated her.


  3. John Hoskins says:


    First you are a great writer. Loved the basketball in the head metaphor – think I experienced that one – ha.

    Certain our buddy Leo revert back to one of the 7 – who what why how who what why – black belt – ninja – olympic level replies without winging it. Yes?


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