This question can be pretty intimidating if you’re not ready for it.
Most job seekers only look at the hiring process from their own perspective, and not the company’s. Big mistake. This question is a chance for you to show them exactly what they stand to gain by hiring you! What’s in it for them?
Let’s jump into how to answer this question.
I like to use a three step method for this interview question.
1. Recognize what’s important (research the company & job description)
2. Show that you’re a fit (in terms of ability and interest)
3. Add a ‘distinguisher’
I’ll explain each piece so you can use this in your next interview…
Step 1. First, we can’t answer this question properly if we don’t know what the company wants/needs.
The fastest and easiest way to know what they need is to look at the job description. What’s emphasized? What themes or patterns are repeated? Whats listed near the top? If something is the first bullet point you can bet it’s pretty damn important most likely.
Step 2. Okay, so now you know what they want to hear. The battle is half over and you’re ahead of the competition at this point believe it or not. But you need to deliver a clear answer that uses this research.
You should tell them what you recognized as important in your research, then highlight skills and experience that fit the area you identified. Give a specific example if you can. Then show that you’re interested in this area as well.
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.
Let’s say you’re going to talk about leadership. Don’t just say, “yeah, I led some people in my last job, leadership won’t be a problem for me.”
Tell them how many people you led, what topics you guided them on, what you learned as a leader. And then remember to show that you’re interested in the subject of leadership, or that you enjoy it as well!
A great way to do this is add something I call a “distinguisher.”
Step 3. The “distinguisher” is something that you add at the end of your answer to show interest in the subject and make yourself more memorable. It’s one of those job interview tips that is surprisingly easy to do once you know about it, and it has a huge potential payoff! So it’s well worth it!
What can you use as your “distinguisher”? Maybe you’ve given a talk or presentation on the subject.
Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time reading about this area because you’re particularly interested in it.
Something involving a unique story about some connection you have to the topic. Now when the hiring manager is trying to recall all of the people they interviewed, your answer will stand out. If this doesn’t quite make sense yet, here’s an example.
Let’s say you’re talking about the subject of self-direction and not needing to be micromanaged, your full answer might look something like this…
“So… Why should we hire you?”
Answer: “I read the job description last night, it seems like self-management is mentioned a lot, that’s definitely one of my strengths… something I’m good at but also something I’ve been working on a lot. In my last job my boss really only checked in with me once a week on Mondays. Other than that his approach was: ‘hey you’re doing great, keep running with it and let me know if you need anything.’ And then in my own time as well I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the subject, I’ve looked at productivity strategies, and self management strategies and goal setting, and I have some new ideas that I can definitely put to use and get even better in this area. So I’m actually really excited about this subject and I was excited to see it on the job description too.”
The part about studying/reading in your own time is the distinguisher. You’ll be remembered for that comment and it’ll stand out among the other answers the hiring manager received.
If they talk 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.
But this is why you need to pick a distinguisher that’s true, and that you’re comfortable talking more about.
What questions would you expect with this example? Probably questions about what you’ve read, what you’ve learned, what you’re exited to try, or whether you have a favorite author in the topic.
So whenever you use a distinguisher to explain why they should hire you, make sure it’s true and make sure it’s something you can elaborate on.
Got a question on any of this? Drop a comment below…
And if you want 7 more questions and answers in similar format, check out this page.