Job interviews can be daunting. You will find yourself sitting in a room with the hiring manager, having to answer tough questions about your experience and qualifications for the position you are seeking with the company.
Throughout the interview, it’s important to deliver specific examples as often as you can. The more concrete examples you can give, the better you will be able to showcase your value to the hiring manager.
That brings me to one of the most challenging interview questions you could potentially face.
During the interview process, it is nearly inevitable that you will be asked to answer the question, “Why should we hire you?” At this moment, you need to proceed with caution.
After all, you are comparing yourself to other candidates and trying to set yourself apart from these unknown personas without seeming too boastful. You don’t want to risk derailing the interview process by talking too much and sounding like a show-off.
The hiring manager is gauging your response to determine if you are the perfect person for this job. When asked, “why should we hire you?”, tread lightly and have a few different answers prepared in advance.
While the question might be archaic and intimidating, it is a favorite question among hiring managers, so it’s important to be well-prepared.
Read the full job description in detail and think of a few skills that make you uniquely qualified to perform the job duties. While you cannot possibly know the qualifications of other applicants, now is the time to sell yourself and state the things that make you the best fit for the job.
Don’t just respond with a generic answer like, “I’m smart, qualified and I want this job.” Of course, you do, or you wouldn’t be sitting in this interview. It’s almost certain that every other candidate is going to be saying nearly the same thing.
You need to be unique and separate yourself from the talent pool. Otherwise, you risk falling into the same category as everyone else, which is what you’re trying to avoid in the interview.
While you don’t want to sound like an overconfident show-off, now is the time to brag about your skills and experiences humbly. It’s great to list some bullet points that you will want to emphasize in advance and prepare a few responses to this question. Don’t memorize a script but proper preparation will set you apart.
Avoid talking too much in your response, just state the qualifications you want to convey and move on. The more you continue to blubber about yourself, the more likely you will lose the interest of the hiring manager, and they will move on to another candidate.
This is your sales pitch to show the hiring manager you’re ready to do the job. Think clearly and prepare with vigor and you will be decorating your new desk in no time.
Here are some examples to help you craft your response to this common interview question:
“That’s a great question! You have a slight advantage over me since you know what you’re looking for and I am still learning about your company. From what I’ve learned, it sounds like you are looking for someone who will be able to handle customer concerns quickly and effectively, is that accurate?
(Assume the interviewer responds, “Yes.”)
In that case, I’d like to tell you about a time where I handled a customer issue, and they walked away with renewed confidence in our capabilities and services.”
Explanation: When responding to this question, you always want to thank the interviewer for asking the question. This response poses a question back to the interviewer, which helps you get further clarification on what they are looking for.
If you can confirm what they need in a candidate, you can then refer to a specific instance where you performed that job duty with a positive outcome. The more specific examples you can provide, the more memorable you will be to the hiring manager.
“This is a critical question in the process, thank you for asking. Based on what you’ve said today and from the research I’ve done, your company is looking for a skilled communicator and experienced marketer to grow your business and help your company stand out from the competition. At my previous company, I increased their activity by 24 percent by implementing targeted social media advertising. I will bring that innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to your company, and your success will be my top priority.”
Explanation: This response uses a specific percentage to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to perform the job responsibilities effectively. The more descriptive and accurate you can get, the better your chances of landing the job. If you can show your direct impact on an organization, the hiring manager will remember that and will be more likely to recommend you for the position.
“I believe that my experience with technology, specifically in the web design space, make me the best match for this position. In my previous job, I was responsible for maintaining and updating our company website. This required keeping employee profiles updated and continuously posting information regarding upcoming events. I truly enjoyed what I was doing, which is what drew me to this position with your company. I would love to bring the coding and content skills I learned there to this position.”
Explanation: By highlighting your experience with a particular skill that the position requires, describe in detail what that experience looks like and how you have used it previously. This gives the hiring manager the chance to see some of your work and determine if it fits what they are looking for in a candidate. If this is your strongest skill, don’t be afraid to say that in your interview.
“I’m glad you asked. You explained earlier that leadership qualities are a bonus for this position. In my 10 years of experience as a sales manager, I have effectively managed teams of over 15 people. I developed motivational skills that earned my region the “Region of the Year” five years in a row for consistently meeting and exceeding sales goals. I will bring those leadership abilities to this position.”
Explanation: Showing that you have “bonus” skills is a great way to separate yourself from the other candidates. If the hiring manager explicitly states that they are really looking for someone that also has certain skills, answering this question by showing you possess those skills will only strengthen your qualifications in the interviewer’s mind.
“The job listing states that you are looking for someone with patience and superior communication skills. While volunteering and holding an office for the Special Olympics, I learned how to be patient with the athletes and participants at our state’s Special Olympics. Coordinating the event helped me develop better communication and planning skills which are imperative when performing the responsibilities you described today.”
Explanation: When you don’t have a lot of experience in the industry you are applying to, you can use skills you learned while volunteering or in other aspects of your life to demonstrate how you are the best fit for this position.
“While I don’t know the experience of the other candidates, I can speak to the qualifications that make me the best fit for this position. After working in this same position with another organization for over eight years, I successfully managed a team of 12 in our marketing department where I was responsible for approving and managing budgets and developing creative campaigns. In fact, one campaign I oversaw generated a 14% increase in awareness among our target demographic. Now, I’m ready to spread my wings at a company of your size.”
Explanation: Setting up your response by immediately calling out your inability to respond directly to the experience of your competition gives you a look of transparency and earns you credibility with the interviewer. In addition to your experience, you can highlight why you are interested in this position with this company. This response demonstrates the candidate’s passion for the industry because, after eight years, they are still looking to do the same job, but in a larger capacity.
“As a recent college graduate, I know that what I’m lacking is career experience. However, the qualifications that I bring cannot be measured by traditional experience. After holding offices in four different organization and managing a full course load with a job at the university’s admissions office, I learned how to multitask and prioritize responsibilities. In your fast-paced organization, the ability to effectively prioritize is a significant component of success.”
Explanation: By stating your lack of experience right off the bat, you can get that out of the way and focus on what you can bring to this position. Without a lot of direct skills and knowledge, highlighting soft skills like prioritization, communications or leadership can serve you well in the interview process. If this is an entry-level position, those soft skills will make you more appealing to the hiring manager.
“For starters, I have all the skills and experience listed in the job description, and I’m confident that I can make an immediate impact on your company. It’s not just my background in leading successful projects for Fortune 500 companies, but also my passion for the industry that drives me to succeed. If chosen for this role, I will continue to deliver high-quality work for the continued success of your organization.”
Explanation: While this response is a bit generic, it conveys a high level of confidence and positivity which are essential qualifications for an experienced professional looking for a high-ranking position. With the assumption that this candidate has already discussed the specifics of their experience in earlier interview questions, it’s okay to be a little more generic here.
“I’m glad you asked. With over 15 years of leadership experience in the agency world, I will bring my creative, motivational and strategic marketing skills to the client side with your company. While I don’t have direct experience working in a corporate environment, I have delivered results above and beyond the ask from my clients in the agency where I’ve been a key stakeholder for over 20 years.”
Explanation: This candidate who is switching industries can focus on their leadership and strategic marketing skills to transfer over to a new company. Stating the tenure and critical leadership role at your most recent position can demonstrate loyalty and the ability to adapt over the years. Leadership is always a skill that can be transferred between industries.
“I know you have a big decision ahead of you and for that, I am not envious. In our discussion today, I hope I’ve demonstrated my understanding of the financial markets and analysis along with my passion for carbonated beverages. I’d love nothing more than to join your team here and grow this business unit.”
Explanation: If you’ve already had a lengthy discussion about the position and your qualifications, this question may be best answered by showing empathy and reiterating your passion for the company and your experience as it relates to the position. You can also ask the interviewer if there is any part of your qualifications they would like to expand upon.
Don’t let the question of, “Why should we hire you?” trip you up along the way. The hiring manager is trying to find out why they should hire you over the others waiting to be interviewed, and if there are a lot of candidates, this response could make or break your interview.
Study these examples, pick out your unique qualifications as they relate to the position, be prepared, and you will ace the interview.
Originally published at novoresume.com