When the interviewer asks, “Why are you the best candidate for this position?” they’re looking for a couple of things:
They want a direct, confident answer.
And they want to see evidence that you understand their job and have relevant skills that will help you succeed in the role.
In this article, I’m going to share how to respond to this question – including what to say, what NOT to say, and word-for-word example answers so that you’ll be confident and ready to answer in your next job interview.
Let’s get started…
First, you can’t possibly give a good answer without knowing what their job involves, and what their company does. So study the job description. What are the top skills they require or want? What are the top tasks/activities you’ll be doing in this role?
That’s what they care about most, and what you need to be ready to show you’re ready for.
Next, research a bit about the company online. How do they make money? Who are their users/customers? What’s their general goal/mission?
That’s going to set you up to give a much better answer to questions like, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?”
And in case you’re still not convinced about how important this step is, it’s also going to help you answer a variety of other questions, including:
So never skip this step!
Next, try to find the overlaps between your background and their needs. Look at your recent work, your education, and everything else you bring to the table.
Think of everything from their point of view. What would they find most useful or helpful, based on their company and job posting?
This is what you should draw their attention to when they ask why you’re the best candidate in the interview.
It’s best to pick one or two key areas in which you think you’ll be able to contribute most in this role. So be strategic in your answer and choose what you think is most compelling to talk about.
The best way to decide this is based on their job description. What did they mention first? What did they mention most often? That’s what they care most about, and what they need help with.
So if you can address one or two of those top areas, you’ll have a great answer to this question.
To help you sound confident and avoid mistakes, you should practice your answer at home before the interview. You don’t need to rehearse an answer word-for-word, in fact, I recommend you don’t. You’ll sound more natural if you don’t memorize word-for-word.
However, you should run through your answer a few times to make sure you’re hitting the key ideas you want to talk about when they ask, “why are you the best person for this job?”
Make sure your answer is clear, direct, and concise (I recommend 60 seconds or less).
My favorite way to practice: Record yourself talking into your smartphone (every smartphone should have a voice recorder app). Then, listen to how you sound and make adjustments.
To stand out even further, you can end your response with a question directed back at them.
For example, you could end by saying, “What did you see in my background that made you invite me to interview? Was my analysis correct in terms of what you’re looking for in this role?”
Or, you could say, “Am I right in thinking that your priorities for this role are ___ and ____? That’s the impression I gathered from the job description.”
You’ll see this tactic used in the full sample answers coming up in the next section.
This isn’t 100% required, but it’s a great way to turn the interview into a back-and-forth conversation and set yourself apart from most job seekers, who just answer each question and then wait for the next one (that’s not the most impressive approach).
Next, let’s look at two sample answers for how you could answer questions about why you’re the best person for the job.
“I noticed the job description emphasizes the need for someone who can work under pressure and manage many accounts at the same time. It sounds like organization and multi-tasking are vital. In my last role, I managed an average of 20 accounts each month, which involved responding to 10-50 emails and voicemails per day, so I’m very comfortable handling a high-volume, high-pressure role like this. What did you see in my background that made you invite me for the interview? Was my analysis correct in terms of what you’re looking for in this role?”
“I believe I am the best candidate for this position because I have direct experience in many areas mentioned in the job description, including customer service and project leadership. Also, I’m passionate about the software industry. It’s been an industry that I’ve wanted to get into since I began my career, so I’m also highly motivated and excited to do this work for your firm. Am I right in thinking that your priorities for this role are to find someone who can help your customer service team and also manage some projects for your customers and clients? That’s the impression I gathered from the job description.”
Here’s another example response. Imagine you’re interviewing for a position at Starbucks (whether it’s an in-store position or a corporate/office role).
When they ask you why you’re the best person to hire, you could give a response like this:
“I practically live off of Starbucks and haven’t gone a day without it in two years. So along with bringing the hard skills that you’re looking for in the job description – like customer service experience and the ability to supervise a team – you won’t find someone as excited and passionate about the brand as I am.”
That sample answer shows a lot more personality and tells a bit about yourself outside of work. In some cases, that’s fine.
But if you don’t have a specific passion and excitement for the employer’s brand or industry, don’t fake it. Just use one of the more “standard” answer formats in the examples from the previous section.
“Why are you the best person for the position?” isn’t a trick question – but it is an interview question that trips a lot of people up.
While you don’t know what other job seekers bring to the table, you can stand out by showing that you’ve researched the job and company, and by highlighting the specific skills/experiences in your background that will help you step into their job and succeed.
Finally, end your answer with a question directed back at them and you can turn the interview into a back-and-forth conversation to show confidence and make them view you more like a colleague (and therefore someone they should hire!)
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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