More and more employers are asking, “why should we hire you?” or, “why should you be hired for this role?”
And it can be an intimidating question if you’re not ready for it!
Don’t worry – in this article, I’m going to walk you through exactly how to answer… with word-for-word answer samples, steps to follow, mistakes to avoid, and more.
Let’s get started…
There are a couple of reasons why an employer may ask you to explain why you should be hired for their role.
First, they want to see how confident you are in your abilities. If you don’t think you’d perform well in their job and succeed in the role, why should they?
So the first step to answering this interview question is to show confidence in the interview and don’t panic when they ask this question.
The next reason employers ask, “Why should we hire you?” is to make sure you’ve done your research and understand the job.
If you didn’t even look at their job description before applying, they’re not very likely to want to hire you. Employers want a job seeker who’s looking for specific things in their next job and being careful in their job search. No exceptions.
This is also why employers ask why you applied for their job. They want to know if you researched their job or just applied randomly.
The last reason that hiring managers ask, “Why should I hire you?” is they want to know what sets you apart, what makes you qualified for this job, and why you’ll perform well in this role.
So this is your chance to brag a bit and sell them on yourself! What are the things that make you qualified for this role? And if possible, what do you have that other candidates might not?
When the hiring manager asks, “Why should you be hired for this role?” you can break your job interview answer down into four steps, which will help you give an effective response.
I’ll explain each step in more detail below, too, and then we’ll look at a couple of the best answer samples, too, so keep reading until the end.
The steps to answer why you should be hired for the role:
I’ll explain each piece of the answer below.
This should be self-explanatory, but you need to seem confident and show that you believe in your own abilities in the role first and foremost. You don’t have to act like you’re perfect at every task they mention in their job description.
But you need to show, through your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, that you’re reasonably confident that you have the basic skills needed and that you could learn whatever you’re missing once hired.
Next, you can’t answer “Why should we hire you for this role?” if you don’t know what the company wants/needs in that role.
The fastest and easiest way to know what the hiring manager needs is to look at the job description. What’s mentioned near the top, or most often on the page? If something is the first bullet point you can bet it’s pretty damn important most likely.
Now you know what the hiring manager wants and needs in a candidate because you studied the job description. Next, you need to point out the pieces of your background that are best aligned with their needs and the tasks you’ll be performing in this job.
It’s okay if you’re not the perfect fit – they liked something on your resume or they wouldn’t have invited you to have a job interview. So when they say, “Tell me why we should hire you?”… give an answer that highlights the pieces in your background that are most relevant to them.
Your job when answering is to convince them that you’ll be able to succeed in this role and start contributing quickly to the team’s work.
There’s a difference between being able to do something and wanting to do it. That’s why showing interest is important – to eliminate any doubt of whether you’d want to do this type of work.
If you don’t convince them you’re enthusiastic about the work, they’re going to worry that you’ll lack motivation, get bored, quit soon after starting, etc. And these are all big fears hiring managers have, which can cost you the job offer.
Let’s say you’re going to talk about leadership. Don’t just say, “Yes, I led people in my last job. Leadership won’t be a problem for me if I’m hired.”
Instead, paint a clearer picture by getting into some details. Tell them how many people you led, what topics you guided them on, how long you’ve been in leadership, and what you learned as a leader. And then show them that you’re interested in leadership and that you enjoy it as well!
For example, you could say:
“Yes, I’ve led people for the past three years. I started with two direct reports and then hired an additional three people to grow my team to five in total. I did their performance reviews, training, and more, and it’s an area I enjoy a lot and am targeting in my next position. That’s one reason I applied for this job; I saw this Manager role has the opportunity to build and grow a team.”
This is one of my favorite job interview tips in general.
The more specific you can be when telling a story, the more you’ll show you’re a fit for this position. That doesn’t mean you should answer every question with a story. If they simply ask, “how many years have you worked with X?” then the hiring manager wants a very basic answer, like, “Five and a half years.”
But when an interview question does ask for a story, this is how to respond effectively.
I’ve got more example answers coming up next, so don’t worry if you’re still not 100% sure what to say when you answer this question.
Next, let’s look at some sample answers so you can see what the steps above would actually sound like in a job interview.
“I read the job description before applying and it seems like self-management is mentioned a lot. That’s one of my strengths and something I’ve been working a lot to develop and improve recently. In my last job, my boss only checked in with me once a week. Other than that, his approach was to let me manage my work entirely. On top of that, I’ve been doing the exact type of work that your role involves – in-person sales – for two years. That’s why you should hire me for this role… because not only do I have the technical experience, but I thrive in an environment where I’m trusted to manage my own work. As a side note, in my own time, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the subject of productivity and self-management, so it’s something I’m personally passionate about as well. I’ve looked up new productivity strategies and read a few books on goal setting, and I’m excited to put that knowledge to use.”
That little “side note” in the answer above is an extra piece you can add to stand out further.
It’s an extra bit of story that shows you’re personally interested/passionate about a topic, or at least committed to studying and learning it.
The interviewer will remember you for that comment. It’s how you make your answer stand out from all the other answers that the interviewer has heard when they ask, “why should you be hired for this role?”
If the hiring manager talks to 10 or 15 people for a position, the answers will sort of blend together when they go to review each interview and make a decision. So this is a huge factor in getting hired.
Just be ready for follow-up questions when you use the “distinguisher” strategy to answer why they should hire you.
Don’t get nervous… it’s a good sign when they ask questions. You caught their interest and they want to know more because you gave them a really unique answer. So the hiring manager or recruiter may ask an additional interview question or two to learn more!
But this is why you need to only say things that are true and that you’re comfortable talking more about.
“Based on the job description, it sounds like you need an experienced Data Analyst who can replace the person you’ve lost and organize some of the new processes and data that your department is receiving, too. In my last job, I was the first Data Analyst hired into the department and set up our entire data analysis process from scratch. We ended up using our internal data to save 22% on advertising costs the following year. So I think this role has a lot of similarities to what I’ve done in the past. That’s why you should hire me for the position. As a side note, I’m a bit of an organization geek, and love creating SOPs and documents for my work. So when I saw there’s a need for that in this role, too, I knew I should apply!”
In that example answer above, you can see most of the time is spent directly answering the question of why they should hire you. But you’re also including a specific example of your past accomplishments, which is great. And you’re wrapping up the answer by sharing a detail to show how passionate you are about this type of work.
Any time you can point out specific skills and experience mentioned in the job posting, and share why that interests you, you’ll “wow” the interviewer!
Why? Because this shows them you’ve done your research and really thought about what you want in your next job. Those are both things that many job seekers aren’t doing enough of.
Hiring managers don’t just want someone who is a fit for the job. They want someone motivated and interested. Always.
Before I wrap up the article, I’ll share one more example answer. This time, I’ll leave it as a template that you can fill in for yourself.
“My impression based on the job description is that you need someone who can do <key responsibility of the job>. In my last role, I did <similar task or accomplishment you’ve done in the past>, so I’m confident I will be able to step into this role and begin contributing quickly for you. As a side note, I’m also personally very <interested/passionate> about <topic related to the job you’ll be doing>, so I’d be very excited for the opportunity to step into this role.”
If you follow the steps above and organize your answer like the interview answer examples we looked at, you’ll have a great answer for “why should we hire you.”
This is how you can make sure you sound confident when you explain why they should hire you in the interview.
If you haven’t held a previous job and don’t have a track record of delivering high quality work, you can still create an impressive answer to set you apart from other candidates.
If you’re an entry-level job candidate, answer “Why should we hire you?” by talking about the following:
That last point is especially important if you want to have a successful job search as an entry-level candidate.
Some parts of the interview process are pure effort. They don’t require any key qualifications, past experience, etc.
Showing that you’ve researched the team and read the job description carefully is one of those ways to stand out from other candidates in any interview process.
Another way you can stand out is by showing strong communication skills. So practice your answer at home!
“While I just graduated and don’t have any corporate project management experience, I was successful in leading numerous team projects in my final year of university. Three teams from three separate classes decided I would be the best person to lead and delegate tasks, so I took that leadership position for each project.
We were able to deliver high-quality work on all projects and earned a perfect grade in each. For two of the projects, we also delivered a presentation to our class. This helped me build confidence and public speaking skills, which I believe will benefit me in my professional career.”
To conclude the article, here are the top mistakes to avoid if you want to pass the interview when you hear this question.
The interviewer knows it’s their decision, but they’re looking for confidence in this answer, and they’re looking for evidence you’ve studied the job and have real reasons for applying (other than just needing employment).
Saying, “I don’t know,” does none of this and will likely cause you to fail the interview.
The most effective answers to this question will be direct and serious. Avoid jokes and sarcasm when responding.
When a recruiter or hiring manager asks this question in a job interview, they are looking to learn meaningful info about your background and why you want this job.
Anything but a serious, direct response to, “why should we hire you for this position?” is a mistake, in my opinion.
Sometimes less is more when answering open-ended interview questions like this. If you try to name 10 different reasons you believe they should hire you, it will just make your answer scattered and make all of your arguments less convincing.
So be narrow and targeted in your answer.
Think about the job description and pick one or two qualifications that make you the BEST candidate for the role.
That’s how to make sure your interview answer stands out and gets remembered when you’re competing with many other candidates in the interview.
Questions to ask yourself:
That’s what to share when the interviewer asks why they should hire you for the role.
You may be tempted to tell a lie in your answer. There’s pressure to show them you’re the best fit for the role, and maybe you haven’t met every requirement yet in your career.
I strongly recommend not lying, though. Lies often lead to more lies and can cause you to become more nervous in the job interview as it goes on.
The fact is, if they invited you to the interview, then they liked your resume and qualifications.
Most candidates don’t have every qualification, so you just need to sell the experience you do have.
Research their job posting, give detailed examples, and show the interviewer that you’re confident that your qualifications are enough to succeed in their role.
If you show this, plus a show positive attitude, enthusiasm, and interest in learning more after being hired, you’ll be one of the top candidates and get more job offers consistently… even without the perfect resume.
Plus, you never know what any individual employer or hiring manager is looking for in the interview. Maybe they’re looking for someone with less experience who they can train and develop in their career. That happens quite often, so I recommend you never lie on your resume or in a job interview.
If you stay calm and confident, study the job description and show you understand their role, and then point out exactly how your past work and learning have prepared you to step into their job and succeed, you’ll have a great answer to, “why should we hire you?”
Remember to share details in your answer as another way to set yourself apart from competing candidates. For example, don’t just say, “I’ve led people in the past.” Say, “I’ve been leading people for three years with teams of up to 10 people.”
And finally, practice your response at home before your interview. Nothing comes out perfect the first time you say it, so you’ll usually perform better and feel more confident if you practice. You can rehearse in the mirror or by recording yourself talking into your smartphone voice recorder app (every modern phone has one), and then playing it back to hear how you sound. That’s my preferred method for practicing interview answers.
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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