More and more employers are asking, “why should we hire you?”
And it can be a very 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 questions like “why should I hire you?”, with word-for-word answer examples.
Let’s get started…
There are a couple of reasons why an employer may ask this.
They want to see how confident and composed you are, first of all.
If you don’t think they should hire you or that you’re worthy of the job, then they’re not going to think so either.
So the first step to answering this interview question is to show confidence in the interview and don’t panic when they ask this.
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. It’s really important for them to know if you researched their job or just applied randomly.
And finally – the last reason hiring managers ask “Why should I hire you?” is they want to know what sets you apart, what makes you qualified for this job, 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?
You can break your interview answer down into steps to make things easier for yourself.
I’ll explain each piece below.
First, you can’t answer “Why should we hire you?” 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? What’s listed near the top? If something is the first bullet point you can bet it’s pretty damn important most likely.
Okay, so now you know what they need in a candidate, based on the job description. Now you need to point out the pieces of your background that are best-aligned with what you’ll be doing 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 interview. So when they say, “Tell me why we should hire you?”… talk about the pieces in your background that are most relevant.
Sound confident and sure of yourself. 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 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 show them that you’re interested in leadership, or that you enjoy it as well!
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 choose between all of the people they interviewed, your answer will stand out in their mind!
Now let’s look at some example answers.
Next, let’s look at some sample answers so you can see what the steps above would really sound like in the 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.”
The part about studying/reading in your own time is the “distinguisher”. The interviewer will remember you for that comment. It’s how you make your answer stand out from all the other answers that person has heard when they ask, “why should we hire you?”.
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 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 a specific thing on the job description that excited 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.
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 3 steps above and organize your answer like the answer examples we looked at, you’ll have a great answer for “why should we hire you.”
After this, make sure to practice a few times at home. Nothing comes out perfectly the first time you say it, so you want to rehearse in the mirror or by recording yourself talking into your smartphone voice recorder app (every modern phone has one).
This is how you can make sure you sound confident when you explain why they should hire you in the interview.
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.
They really want a serious answer that tells them about your background and why you want this job when they ask, “why should we hire you for this position?”
Finally, when they ask this question, I’d recommend picking the 1-2 strongest points you want to make.
Think about the job description and pick one or two things that make you BEST qualified for the role.
That’s how to make sure your answer stands out and gets you remembered as a candidate after the interview.
So ask yourself – what have you done that’s most similar to this job? Or what’s going to be the best proof that you can come in and succeed in this position? That’s what to share when they ask why they should hire you for the role.
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