Picture this: you’re in an interview for a job that you would love to have. You’ve aced every question that they’ve thrown at you, even the really tough ones like ‘what are your weaknesses’ and ‘what motivates you’. You are fairly certain that you have this in the bag and can already imagine the job offer incoming within a few days. You’re nearing the end of the interview when the interviewer asks you a question that gives you pause: “Why should we hire you?”
This question can make even the most confident person take a moment. It might feel like a loaded or a trick question. On the one hand, you want to sound confident and assertive. But on the other hand, you don't want to come across as arrogant or pushy. No pressure! The good news is that there are several ways to craft a strong answer to this interview question.
Let’s tackle this question together and see how best to answer it.
Don’t be Generic
Here's a tip: avoid giving a generic answer like "I'm the best candidate for the job." Loads of people interviewing for the same position may make you eat your words. You don’t know how anyone else has fared, so this answer is non-specific at best and arrogant at worst.
Instead, focus on specific reasons why you would be a good fit for the role. For example, you could talk about your relevant experience or skills, or your commitment to making a positive contribution to the company. Then, explain how these qualities would benefit the company if you were hired.
If you have experience in any sort of leadership roles; such as camp counselors or group projects where you were the assigned leader, you could discuss how you can manage others and give some examples of practices that worked well or that show you excel at this trait. Alternatively, if you were in any clubs or won any awards that relate to the job you’re applying for, your 1st place mathletes trophy may help give you a leg up! Ultimately, the goal is to demonstrate why you would be an asset to the organization.
The goal of this method is not to proclaim that you are the absolute, hands-down, best choice for the role, but that you are a smart choice and a choice that will make the company glad they hired you. You don’t have to show you are better than the hundreds of other applicants, you just have to remind them that you are good at these skills and will be good at this job.
Summarize Your Strengths Specific to the Role
Another thing you may want to do, especially if it comes near the end of an interview, is to reiterate or give the interview team a reminder of all the reasons why you fit the bill as the person they should hire. You don’t have to go back in and talk ad nauseam about your qualities or skills, because chances are you’ve already done that. You’re just stringing them together in a bite-size way to say ‘hey, remember all these awesome things I’ve done?’
Remember all those five paragraph essays you hated writing in class? Guess what; this question is your five-paragraph essay summary. Here, it's your job to bundle everything you’ve spent the last half-hour explaining in a way that’s easy to remember and may give a push at the end, or a call to action with the hopes of getting you hired! It would NOT be the time to be bringing in new, vital information that you hadn’t yet talked about.
If your favorite class wasn’t English and that entire metaphor went over your head, perhaps try considering this: you’re selling yourself. The ability to sell a product is vital in certain jobs, such as sales or customer service, but an interview is about selling the most important item: yourself. How will you convince the team to take a chance on you?
Be Confident About Your Worth
In the end, what hiring managers are looking for is someone who is confident, enthusiastic and has a clear understanding of the job they're applying for. So as long as you can show that you tick those boxes, you should be in good shape to answer this interview question successfully.
They also want to see someone who is eager to learn and grow. Even if you don't have all the qualifications for the job, express your willingness to learn new things and take on additional responsibilities. By demonstrating your enthusiasm and commitment, you'll give the interviewer confidence that you're the right person for the job.
To summarize, there are just four very easy steps to answering this question:
- Talk about your skills
- Connect these skills to ways the company could grow or that you could be an asset
- Try to summarize yourself from previous questions
- Be confident and enthusiastic!
Here’s an example of how a hypothetical person could answer “why should we hire you?”
“You should hire me to be your new event manager because I am highly organized, have excellent people and communication skills, and I am willing to take on the challenge of marketing your company’s events on your social media outlets. From my own time of planning parties for my friends and family, I have learned how to juggle specific needs of the clients, keep a good relay of information among all parties, and I know how to supervise others to make events go smoothly.”
With these things in mind, you’ll fly right by this question with the ease you answered all the others.
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