Sometimes the most straightforward interview questions can be the most challenging to answer. One such example is the question “why should we hire you?”
Variations of this interview question
Some other ways an interviewer might ask about making tough decisions include:
- Why are you the best person for the job?
- What makes you a good fit for this role?
- Why should we pick you over the other applicants?
Essentially, they’re all asking you to make a case for why you–and you specifically–should be selected for the role. This is your chance to make an iron-clad argument in your favor.
Why do interviewers ask about why they should hire you?
Hiring managers are perfectly capable of deciding whether you’re worthy of hiring. That’s the entire purpose of the interview process, after all. So why do they ask YOU why you should be hired? Mainly because they want to hear the reasoning straight from the source.
You know yourself, your skills and accomplishments best, so you should be able to make the strongest argument in your favor. A hiring manager wants to understand what you view as your biggest strengths and how you see yourself contributing in this particular role.
Also, hiring managers use this question to give you the chance to share any additional information that hasn’t been covered in your resume, cover letter, or interview process thus far that strengthens your candidacy. They can’t ask about what they don’t know, so if you’re fluent in Japanese or you went back to school to get a degree specifically for a position like this one, this is a great time to mention it.
What interviewers are looking for
An interviewer can use a candidate’s resume to make a pretty strong assessment of whether they have relevant experience for the job. What they can’t assess so easily, though, is how candidates compare against one another.
For example, candidate A might have a more advanced degree, but candidate B might have a couple years of real-world experience in a similar position. Who is the better choice? This question, and the answers candidates give to it, can help them decide.
Interviewers are also hoping to learn how the company will benefit from hiring you–what’s in it for them? With this in mind, the perfect answer conveys not only your qualifications to do the job, but the value you’ll bring to the organization as an employee.
How to answer the interview question ‘Why should we hire you?’
Highlight your unique selling points
It’s presumed that the right candidate will meet the minimum requirements outlined in the job posting, so don’t use your answer to talk about things that are already obvious in your resume. Leverage this valuable opportunity to spotlight what makes you different from other candidates who have the same on-paper qualifications.
One good strategy is to zero in on something you learned during your pre-interview research. For example, maybe you learned from a news headline that the company is struggling to connect with younger customers. In this case, talking about your sales achievements with the 18-25 demographic would be an impressive and highly relevant quality for a hiring manager to learn about.
Convey how you’ll help the company
Most interviewees make the mistake of focusing mainly on themself during job interviews. This completely disregards the other party in the conversation: the company. Ultimately, businesses want to hire people who will help achieve the organization’s goals.
So, you need to incorporate the specific value you’ll bring, whether it’s sales outcomes, positive customer experiences, creative ideas, or whatever your personal contribution would be.
Communicate your own motivations
Describing how your work will improve the organization is important, but a hiring manager also wants to know the work will be important to you. Employees who are engaged in their jobs work harder and stay longer than those who view it only as a means to a paycheck.
Take time to touch upon what you’ll gain from the role, tying it back to how that will make you a strong employee.
How not to answer
Revealing too much
Maybe you’ve been biting your nails all morning because this job will determine whether you can pay your rent next month or not. But, this isn’t something you want to reveal to an interviewer. Unfortunately, appearing desperate for a job can be a big turnoff to a potential employer, so avoid saying something like “because I really need to find work ASAP.”
Being too general
Don’t give a generic answer like “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m passionate about [industry].” These characteristics should be a given and don’t make you any different from the candidate who’s scheduled for the next interview slot. Taking the time to come up with an answer that’s tailored to this role can be the determining factor in getting hired.
Sample answers to ‘Why should we hire you?’
“You can see from my resume that I have a strong background in marketing, but one thing that really interests me about this job is your mission to spread awareness about disaster preparedness. When I was in college, I was part of a Red Cross response team traveling to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The experience completely shaped me as a person. I’m incredibly motivated to use my professional skills in a way that helps others in life-altering situations, and this job would be an amazing opportunity to do that.”
“I learned from your recent press release that you have the highest customer loyalty ratings out of any competitor. I believe my extensive customer service background and strong communication skills will be an asset in maintaining this achievement. My current role has taught me that angry customers usually just want to be heard, and one of the things I love most about my job is being a listening ear before I start helping them find a solution.”
Remember: companies hire new employees to meet their needs. If you can speak to how you’ll fill those needs while also emphasizing your relevant skills, you’ll be at a strong advantage to other candidates.