You crafted the perfect resume. You landed the interview. You’ve got a stellar work history and education supporting you. You’ve knocked out home runs on every question the interview pitches your way. That job is as good as yours…
…as long as you can tell the interviewer why they should hire you over the other equally qualified applicants.
And that’s exactly where many people fail to close the deal.
Why It Is So Hard to Answer This Common Question
It’s a common question, but it’s also one of the most challenging ones to answer. Shouldn’t your accomplishments speak for themselves? Isn’t your resume a good enough indicator that you’re the perfect fit?
For many people, it isn’t easy to talk about or brag on themselves. And that’s exactly what you’re doing when answering this question. You have to convince the interviewer you are better than every other prospective candidate.
But here’s a little secret: What you say when answering this question is just as important to how you deliver your answer.
They want to see how you can balance confidence and humility. They want to know how you articulate your best qualities without reducing those of other people. And they want to see how much you believe in yourself.
Why It’s Important to Prepare for This Question
You don’t want to sound rehearsed in the interview (because let’s face it, good interviewers can tell a memorized answer from one that comes from the heart). But you also should know that this question WILL be asked, and it doesn’t hurt to consider how you will answer it.
What many people don’t realize is that this particular question is your pivotal moment to differentiate yourself from the stack and sell them on YOU. Not your resume, not your cover letter, not your references. Just plain YOU.
And how you answer this question could win you the job, or send you back to the job board.
5 Essential Tips on How to Answer ‘Why Should We Hire You’
There is no one-answer-fits-all solution because our talents and experiences are all unique. But be aware there is a basic formula you can follow to know how to give a solid answer that will knock socks off and push you to the top of the resume stack:
Listen for hints from the interviewer.
During the interview, pick up cues about what the company is looking for in a candidate and find a way to link those needs to your own unique offerings. If you listen closely enough, the interviewer will essentially arm you with the “right” answer. It’s also a good way to show them you were paying attention to them.
For example, if the company has emphasized its focus on customer service, you could include a concrete example of how you went above and beyond for customers at your old job, like this:
“My role as customer experience manager in my last job allowed me to get creative for our customers on a daily basis. I would make courtesy calls to see how they like their purchase, give them real demonstrations, and spend as much time as needed to help them make the right decision. I feel your company can benefit from my customer-centric mentality.”
Choose 3-4 top reasons for your closing statement.
You don’t want to rehash your entire resume, so pick a few key skills or accomplishments that put you in a positive light. Remember, this is your final chance to sell yourself and close the deal, so make sure you end strong.
You could talk about your experience, awards, skills, accomplishments, or anything else that you think other candidates can’t offer or might not talk about. It’s crucial to differentiate yourself in this question; otherwise, if every candidate’s answer sounds the same, it does nothing to help the hiring decision for the recruiter.
The following statement is far from a canned response, plus it also relates how the candidate plans to benefit the company:
“My ability to create and foster strong relationships with clients, my drive to always do something better than someone else, and my creativity in solving problems can contribute to taking this company skyward in its revenue and reputation.”
Prove your worth.
Companies want to know they are making a good investment by hiring the right person. You could reiterate specific achievements from your previous jobs that could be beneficial to their company, such as your influence in sales increases, new ideas that brought in more customers, or ways you saved your company money:
“For example, I found a bookkeeping error in an account that had been overlooked for 3 years, which in turn generated an extra $500 a month for our company. Being money-conscious and resourceful comes naturally to me, and I find I’m often looking for ways to keep costs down. It’s my attention to detail, even when others have searched for and haven’t found anything amiss, that sets me apart from others.”
Tailor your answer to the company.
One of the detrimental side effects of crafting your answer beforehand is that it isn’t specific to the job you are interviewing for. You don’t want to present a generic answer, so make sure you include some cues that are relevant to the job and the company.
Here’s a good example if you are truly familiar with the company you’ve applied with:
“As a long time [company name] customer, I’m already quite familiar with your products and the benefits they provide [name a few products and benefits for example]. You offer products that I feel comfortable standing behind and recommending to customers. Because I’m also a customer, I can speak not only from training materials but also personal experience, which could help in providing deeper connections with customers.”
Tie in the company culture to your answer.
Hopefully you checked out the company website before your interview (and shame on you if you didn’t). The website can give you a good impression of the company’s culture and mission.
One thing that interviewers look for when they hire someone is how that person will fit with the company culture. If you have solid accomplishments, education, and all the other requirements, you should highlight how you can fit in with their core environment.
“Looking at your website photos of your company outing at [name of place] reminds me of a similar group event I coordinated for my last company [give a few details]. In addition to the skills and accomplishments we’ve already discussed, I feel like I’d fit right in as part of the family here. It looks like your company keeps a sense of humor around the clock and truly has a passion for serving your customers, which is exactly the type of environment I thrive in.”
5 Don’t for the Why Should We Hire You question
- Don’t get cocky, but don’t be too humble. Remember, this is a balancing game of confidence and humility, and you want to demonstrate a fair amount of both.
- Don’t be generic. Saying things like “I have great qualities that will benefit your company” says nothing about what makes YOU the best choice. Other candidates may also have great qualities that can benefit the company, so be unique.
- Don’t sound desperate. Recruiters will not take pity on you if you need the money or have 4 children or just lost your job because you got sick. Rather, this is your chance to make them feel your value.
- Don’t tell them you want to work there because you live close by. Companies aren’t concerned if you want the job out of convenience. They want you to know how much success you can contribute to the company, and that you have a strong desire to do so.
- Don’t focus too much on yourself. This question, as much as it sounds like it’s about you, is more about what you can do for the company.
Even if you prepare ahead of time, thinking how to answer “Why should we hire you?” can prove nerve-wrecking. But with a little practice, you can trust yourself to say the right thing at the right time and earn the job you deserve.