How To Answer “Why Should We Hire You?” In An Interview

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“Why should we hire you?” According to a recent survey, this is the scariest job interview question of all. Respondents feared that question more than other tough job interview questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”

Why is this question so scary? In part, it’s because it feels so confrontational. Although one of your primary goals in any job interview is to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the position, it’s daunting to be asked to present your case on the spot.

The good news is that a little interview prep will go a long way toward helping you answer this question. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready to make the best possible impression on the hiring manager.

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What The Interviewer Is Looking For In Your Answer

Although it may feel like it from your end, interviewers don’t ask this question to make you uncomfortable. (Or at least, that’s not the only reason.) They ask because they want to know:

If You’re A Good Fit For The Role

The interviewer’s main goal at every point during the conversation is to find out whether you’re the right person for the job. By asking you why they should hire you, the interviewer gives you a chance to talk about your best qualifications, skills, and talents and match them to specific requirements of the job.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a sales position, you should highlight your track record of meeting your sales quotas, building and maintaining relationships with clients, prospecting leads, and so on.

But any good salesperson should be able to do that. To really sell yourself in this role, you should note the keywords in the job description in the advertisement. Notice what the requirements and nice-to-haves are and then be sure to include them. For a sales role, this might mean experience in a certain industry or knowledge of a specific CRM system, etc.

Sample answer: Earlier, you said that you were looking for a candidate with inside sales experience and a proven track record of generating leads. Not only do I have those qualifications, but I have them in the same industry. In my last role, I focused on SAS products and won salesperson of the year for two years running. I’ve also worked remotely for the past year, while exceeding quotas by 10% or more each quarter, so I have a lot of experience working with remote teams like yours.

Whether You Understand The Job

Do you know what this job entails? Hiring managers will want to see that you have a grasp on the job’s requirements and goals. To make the best impression, do your research before the interview:

  • Carefully read the job description in the listing.
  • Learn as much as you can about the company, its history, and its challenges. Check the company website for an “About Us” or “Company History” page, read recent news items about the organization, and follow the company on social media.
  • Listen to what the interviewer tells you during the meeting. Ideally, they’ll share the most important requirements and challenges of the role. If they don’t–and if the listing isn’t clear–be sure to ask.

What Makes You Different From Other Candidates 

What makes you stand out from the competition? If you have unique skills or experience that can help you in this job, now’s a chance to brag a little. Show off your soft skills, too. Talk about your ability to work with a team, excel in stressful situations, or communicate with colleagues and clients.

If You Can Show Grace Under Pressure

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“Why should we hire you?” is a question guaranteed to throw many candidates off balance. Being able to answer it will show that you’re prepared and can work under pressure.

How To Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”

When you’re answering this question, look for opportunities to show a match between your skills and the job duties.

Do Your Research

Again, good job interview preparation is essential to answering this question well. The more you know about the company, the job, and the hiring team, the better off you’ll be. Read the job description carefully, listen to the hiring manager as they describe the role, and research the company and the job. Sites like Glassdoor can provide valuable insight into the interview process and what impresses hiring managers at that organization. Look for tips under the “Interview” tab in each company profile.

Come Prepared 

This isn’t a question you want to answer on the fly, so bring a few anecdotes to share. Look for ways to demonstrate that you can achieve the primary goals of the job. For example, if you’re interviewing for a customer service representative job, talk about how your problem-solving and communication skills have led to an excellent first call resolution rate.

Sample answer: I have five years of experience as a CSR working in call centers very similar to yours, so I know how to communicate with clients, resolve conflict, and help solve their problems quickly. In my current job, I have an 83% first call resolution rate–the highest on my team.

Start With Their Needs 

Most of us are not used to bragging about ourselves, which is one reason why this question can be so uncomfortable. To get around this issue–and get the hiring manager on your side–begin by focusing on the company’s needs. This also allows you to clarify their requirements, if necessary.

Sample answer: I understand that for this hybrid role, you’re looking for an administrative assistant who can also help out with your social media presence. In addition to working in the Registrar’s office for the past three semesters, I’ve recently completed a social media internship with a local marketing agency. I’d welcome the chance to put both skillsets to work for you.

What To Avoid When Answering “Why Should We Hire You?”

When you’re practicing answers to interview questions, it’s helpful to keep common pitfalls in mind. Avoid these mistakes:

Taking Offense

If you’re not prepared for it, this question can feel aggressive, even confrontational. But the intent is not to imply that you’d be a bad hire. It’s simply an opportunity to match your skills with the job requirements and show grace under pressure at the same time.

Saying “I Don’t Know” 

Again, preparation is key–and so is self-confidence. There are lots of reasons why they should hire you, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the job interview in the first place. Use this question to showcase your best skills.

Getting Flustered

At any point in the interview, if you feel off balance, take a deep breath and pause before answering. Many people tend to speak too quickly when they’re nervous. Taking a beat could actually help make you sound more confident and prepared. In any case, it will give you a moment to gather your thoughts before you answer.

Giving Vague Answers 

Use the STAR interview technique to give your answers specificity: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Remember to quantify your results with percentages, dollar amounts made or saved, and so on. The goal is to show that your skills and experience help you get things done.

Going Long 

Know what you want to say and get to the point as quickly as you can. You’re telling a story, but it’s a short story, not a novel. Make sure the interviewer comes away with the key point: you have skills that match their needs, and this is how you’ll use those skills to solve their problems.

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve done your homework, formulated a few stories that show off your skills, and practiced your responses, you’ll be ready to answer this job interview question and get the job.

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