So you’ve landed yourself a job interview. Congratulations!
Now comes the hard part: Preparing.
Getting ready for an interview can feel a little overwhelming at times, especially because you don’t know beforehand all of the questions your interviewer is going to ask.
That said, recruiters and hiring managers do tend to ask a lot of the same questions, and one of the most common interview questions is:
“Why should we hire you?”
It can be a tough one to answer if you’re not prepared.
That’s what we’re here to help you out with.
In this article, you’ll learn why employers ask this question, how to prepare for it with a strong answer, and how to avoid the mistakes that many rookie job applicants make.
Hiring managers often ask this because it’s an open-ended query that can help them answer several questions they have regarding your fit for the job posting.
They want to know what sets you apart from the other job seekers that have come across their desk. And perhaps more importantly, they want to know if you know what sets you apart.
Self-awareness is a soft skill that many employers value, and showing that you understand where your strengths are can help to position you as the best candidate for the role.
Recruiters also ask the question during the hiring process as it helps them clarify your understanding of the job requirements.
To be able to clearly explain why you’re the best person for the job and how your work experience and skillset make you a good match for the job listing, you first need to have a strong understanding of what the job entails and what key qualifications might be applicable.
Before you head into the interview for that next great opportunity, you should put some time aside to prepare to answer the question “why should we hire you?” as it will likely be asked.
You don't want to answer by simply regurgitating whatever is on your resume. The recruiter has already read that and identified you as a potential fit for the job based on its content.
What you need to do is not explain why you’re an appropriate candidate but why you’re the ideal candidate. This roughly translates to explaining how you’re a better fit than all the other qualified candidates.
This can be tough, not only because you don’t know everyone else who has applied but also because many of us don’t feel particularly comfortable talking about how great we are.
If that sounds like you, then we’d recommend checking out our article on how to sell yourself during a job interview.
Answering the “why should I hire you” question can be challenging, but this challenge is greatly reduced with a bit of pre-interview prep.
Let’s look at a simple five-step process to prepare an interview answer.
Let’s go back to square one and review the ad you applied for during your job search.
Open up that job listing or LinkedIn post and focus on the section that discusses what the ideal candidate looks like.
You’ll want to identify some of the key characteristics, traits, and qualifications mentioned and start creating a list.
Check out this job listing for an administrative assistant position, for example:
The company has provided some clear expectations that will help you refine your sales pitch. You might note these relevant requirements:
The next step is to dive into some further research on the company and its team culture, organizational goals, and overall mission.
This will help you distinguish yourself from other applicants during the interview process, as you’ll be able to discuss how you’re not only a great fit for the role but for the company as a whole.
Now that you’ve got a nice list of requirements for the role and the company, it’s time to draw some links between those requirements and your experience and skillset.
Looking back to the administrative assistant role:
When answering this interview question, you’re probably going to bring up previous achievements.
For example, if you know that the company is looking for someone with significant sales experience, you might like to talk about how in your current role, you’re the top-performing salesperson (if you are, of course).
However, rather than simply mentioning this as a general statement, you should seek to quantify that achievement by being as specific as possible.
Remember: You don’t know all of the other applicants and how well they fit this role.
So, you need to put your best foot forward, which means identifying the experience and skills you have that bring the most to the table and really selling them.
You might also like to find something unique that isn’t necessarily relevant to your work experience or the skills listed on your resume.
For example, if the job listing states that they are looking for someone with a high degree of people skills, you might discuss how you volunteer at a homeless shelter once a month.
Are you stuck on how to answer this question? Let’s take a look at three examples.
“What I understand from the job listing is that you’re looking for someone who is hungry to learn and can be molded and developed into a long-term employee. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
“What I understand about the job is that it requires someone with a strong attention to detail, great computer skills, and the ability to think on their feet. These are all skills I’ve developed in my previous role as a Customer Service Rep, as I’d often need to dive into a client’s case file and determine the best path forward for them.”
“The time I’ve spent out of work has given me the ability to do some serious reflection on the skills I’ve developed and how they can be best put to use. For example, one of the things I’m strongest at is working with people, but I’ve previously only worked in solitary admin roles. So, I feel that I’ll really thrive in this customer-facing role as I’m very extroverted and love helping people.”
One of the reasons interviews are so daunting is the prospect of messing up.
The “why should we hire you?” question is one that many interviewees make mistakes on, so let’s review a few paths to avoid when practicing your answer.
Don't talk about the money or the benefits — The recruiter will get the feeling that you’d be happy with any old job and that you aren’t applying because you’re actually interested in this specific role.
Don't just say that you’re generally interested in the company — You want to give the interviewer more reason to hire you than “I like your company.” It’s okay to mention this, but you should also describe how this specific role is a good fit for you as well.
Don't sound desperate for the job — You don’t want to come across as if this is a life or death situation, as the recruiter might get the impression that you’ve applied for thousands of jobs and will just take any role you’re offered.
Avoid rambling — The best way to keep your answer clear and concise is to practice before the interview.
Coming up with a strong answer to this common interview question can be tough, and it’s something you’ll have to work out for every single interview you go for, as the job descriptions and requirements will differ.
However, a bit of time spent preparing, and a whole lot of time spent practicing in front of the mirror or camera, or even with a friend, can make all the difference.
Are you on the hunt to land your dream job but struggling to get past the interview? Check out the Jobcase Getting Hired Resource Center for more tips about how to perfect your interview skills.