So, you are sitting in your job interview and things seem to be going well until your interviewer asks that one tricky question that every job candidate dreads…
“With so many other strong candidates applying for this job, why should we hire you?”
Even if you go into your interview expecting this question to be asked of you, it can still feel like a real challenge to answer with the right level of tact, skill and sufficient reasons.
Why do interviewers ask the ‘why should we hire you’ question?
When you look at the situation from the employer’s point of view, they want you to answer this question with how your skill set and knowledge fits well with the job requirements.
However, you should look a little deeper than this when preparing your answers in advance of being asked this question.
The main reason why an interviewer will ask this question is to ascertain whether you are qualified for the job or not. This is a pretty straight forward reason and may be asked in a situation where the employer has to choose between two or more very closely matched applicants.
Hiring Managers will ask this question [why should we hire you?] to see how well you have listened during the interview. If you can articulate how your strengths will directly solve a company’s problem, especially an example you heard during the interview, you are guaranteed to impress!
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Anyone clearly showing that they lack the required knowledge or experience needed for the role can be weeded out from the crowd should they be unable to show they have what it takes for the job.
Identifying the question behind this question
If you feel that your interview isn’t going as smoothly as you would like then it is likely that your interviewer has their doubts about you. In this case, they may often throw up this question to see how you respond.
What is really going on here is that the interviewer wants you to convince them that you are worth considering for the job and that you do have the skills and experience needed.
The question they are really asking here is ‘why should I choose you over someone else?’
You need to address their real question very clearly in your response. You need to be factual and firm and convincing with your reply. Demonstrate to them that your skills and experience are strong and relevant to the role and that hiring you will bring value to the company.
By far the best way to tackle this question should it arise during your interview is to be prepared!
Let’s take a look at some ways to prepare yourself for this question and how you can frame your answer:
Acknowledge that this is a tricky question
Firstly, you need to accept that this is a very difficult question to answer, especially when you simply do not know how you compare to the other candidates.
If the interviewer has asked this same question to every single interviewee they have seen today, then you will have no idea of how well they managed to answer. All you can do is to do your best!
What you have to believe is that if this question has been asked to everyone ahead of you, then not all of the candidates would have delivered a good answer.
At least by preparing yourself with a solid and positive answer to this question you are going to impress your interviewer far more than many of those that have gone before you.
Ultimately, answering with confidence and strength will give you a winning edge over those that were not prepared.
Be honest with your response
Your employer will appreciate your honesty if you do struggle to answer this question. If you truly having a hard time to reply, then admit that this is a complex question to answer. Tell them that you cannot compare yourself to the other candidates as you have not met them.
Try to frame your response in any of the following ways that may help:
- Reiterate how your skills and knowledge fit the requirements of the job. Remember that the interviewer has a copy of your resume and cover letter, so you don’t need to go into great detail about your skills and qualifications. Just reinforce and highlight your strongest skills that make you a good fit for the job.
- Pick out one major job requirement and emphasize how you can help. The employer may have mentioned that they need a good sales negotiator, for example. Demonstrate your strong negotiating skills by giving an example of how you helped your last company to achieve a 15% increase in sales through your actions.
- Talk about your ability to learn quickly and adapt to new situations. If you know you would be going into this job with one or two weaknesses, then talk about how willing you are to learn new procedures and systems to get the job done. Say that you are open to any training or up-skilling that may be required for the role.
Steer the interview questions in your favor
Always remember that your job interview should be a two-way discussion. This is an opportunity for the employer to meet you and assess whether you would be a good fit for their company. However, the same is true for you too!
Instead of sitting in your interview, ready to answer any questions that come your way, try to redirect the focus by asking your interviewer some questions.
Although you may have done a lot of research on the company before you decided to apply for a job with them, you may have many unanswered questions floating around your mind.
Take this opportunity to get your questions answered so that you are completely sure that this would be a good company to work for and a wise career move for you.
Why should I work for you?
A great way to turn around the ‘why should we hire you?’ question is to answer it with another question.
You can phrase it along the lines of:
“From what I have heard so far, it sounds as if your company is in need of a strong project manager that can handle your recent boost in growth and productivity levels.”
“I enjoy a challenge at work and have excellent project management skills, as you can see from my resume.”
(Go on to give a good example of delivering a completed project on time and on budget).
“Your new company situation presents a unique challenge of balancing good productivity with a tight budget. What are your thoughts on this?”
This is a clever way to turn this question on its head. You are not only answering the question ‘why should we hire you?’ with a sound response, but you are also gaining more insight into what the company will want or expect from their new recruit.
Convey trust and likability with your answer
No matter how qualified you are for the position on offer, pretty much every employer will hire a job candidate based on their personality. Interviewers tend to choose people that interview well and that they instantly like and trust.
If you can convey that you are a very personable and likable candidate that gets on well with people from all walks of life, then you will stand a better chance of landing the job.
You will be assessed on everything during your interview, from your demeanor, your mannerisms, eye-contact, the way you dress and present yourself. Your success isn’t down to only what is written on paper.
Should you be asked the ‘why should we hire you?’ question, then your behavioral response will also be judged. Try not to come over as defensive or become physically withdrawn with your response. Remain relaxed, open, attentive and friendly.
Prove that you can be a valuable asset
The whole point of the employer asking ‘why should we hire you?’ is to make sure that you understand what they want in an employee and that you have the skills to deliver what they need.
Always remember that the interviewer has already decided that you are qualified enough for the position by reading the information contained in your resume and cover letter. This is why you were lucky enough to be offered a face-to-face interview!
They just need to know that you have the right personality, drive and ability to deliver great results.
Your only disadvantage here is that you have no idea what the other job candidates have to offer the company. However, you do know YOU.
As long as you go along and are prepared to show off your best skills, talents, strengths and knowledge needed for the role on offer, then you can prove your future worth and value to the company.
Highlight that you will be a great fit
Use the ‘why should we hire you?’ question to your best possible advantage. The interviewer will also want to meet you to see if you would be a suitable cultural match for the company.
Your answer to this question should touch on the cultural elements of the company and how your beliefs fit well and align with their own ethos and mission statements.
Identify the company’s culture and mindset towards life. If the company prides itself on its environmental achievements and its contributions towards reducing carbon emissions, then tell the interviewer how much you agree with and admire their mission.
Showing the interviewer how easy it will be for you to fit in will stand you in very good stead.
So you can see that there is no one single answer to the question ‘why should we hire you?’ You can take this question and answer it in a range of different ways, but ultimately use it to your advantage to make your interview stand head and shoulders above the others.