How to Answer: Why Should We Hire You?
This is your chance to wow them with your highlight reel. Why Should We Hire You Your answer should summarize the top three or four best reasons to hire you. It’s better to have three or four strong reasons with memorable descriptions and/or examples than to rattle off a laundry list of twelve strengths without context.
What is a Perfect Candidate?
Every company or organization has a certain type of person in mind when it comes to the position they are interviewing for. This person will usually need to have one, two, or even more specific Qualities that the organization believes in or puts a lot of emphasis on.
When the organization is conducting interviews, they will normally select the person who best exemplifies the specific qualities they are looking for.
This person is their Perfect Candidate.
(For more information on the Perfect Candidate and to learn how to answer ANY interview question perfectly, be sure to check our our blog article Job Interview Questions and Answers 101!)
Well, this question is the perfect opportunity for you to pitch yourself one last time to your potential employer and reinforce the idea that you are the perfect candidate!
The perfect candidate doesn’t get cocky with this answer and they certainly don’t beg.
As the perfect candidate, you’ve already taken the time before the interview to research the position and figure out exactly what they’re looking for…and how you match up to those needs.
This is an opportunity to reiterate your most impressive strengths and/or describe your most memorable selling points, tailored to align with the top requirements in the job description. Your 3-4 bullet points could include a combination of the following:
- Industry experience
- Experience in performing certain tasks or duties
- Technical skills
- Soft skills
- Key accomplishments
Accomplishments and success stories are always good bets, especially if you can describe how a key accomplishment (a successful marketing campaign, for example) demonstrates a desired competency (creativity, results-orientation).
One approach is to mention any unique combination of skills(s) and experience that you possess. For example, many candidates may have strong programming skills, but what if you combine those with team leadership experience that others don’t have? Sounds like a great recipe for a senior programmer. Explain why in your answer.
Most job seekers should be able to develop a standard answer to this question that can be customized a bit for each opportunity. Here’s how:
Step 1: Brainstorm
To get started, review the job description (or a representative job description if you don’t have an interview lined up right now) and your resume and ask yourself these questions:
- What are the most important qualifications for this position from the company’s perspective?
- In which of these areas do I really shine?
- What are my most impressive accomplishments?
- What makes me different from the typical candidate?
Brainstorm and jot down everything that comes to mind.
Step 2: Structure Your Sales Pitch
Next, choose the 3-4 bullet points that make the strongest argument for you. Use those bullet points to structure your sales pitch. Don’t write a script to memorize — simply capture the bullet points that you want to convey. Each bullet will describe the selling point with a brief explanation and/or example for context.
Keep it concise — you still want to keep your answer in the 1-2 minute range so you won’t be able to rattle off every skill and accomplishment on your resume. You have to really think about what sets you apart from the competition.
Step 3: Practice
Once you feel pretty good about the points you want to make, it’s time to practice. Again, it’s not a good idea to memorize a script — you can end up sounding like a robot or feel more nervous because of pressure to remember specific wording.
The better approach is to capture your bullet points, study them, and then practice until you feel comfortable talking about them off the cuff. Your answer should come out a little bit different each time, but it should always cover the points that you want to make.
Remember: It’s also very important to come across as confident and enthusiastic when you deliver your pitch. Make them believe in you — your abilities and your commitment.
If you project confidence (even if you have to fake it a little), you’re more likely to make a strong impression. As for enthusiasm, keep in mind that true passion for the work required is a pretty compelling selling point. Yes, experience and qualifications are important, but the right attitude can definitely give you an edge over those with similar professional backgrounds.
After many years of experience in recruiting and hiring, I’d rather hire someone who has a little less experience, but who is driven and motivated to learn and succeed.
Inside Big Interview, our complete training system for job interviews, we give you video lessons, sample answers, and an interactive practice tool for perfecting the “Why should we hire you?” question. Watch this brief video to learn a little more about Big Interview, and click here to grab your own 7 Day Free Trial of the program.
Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question Why Should We Hire You?
The interviewer’s job is to hire the best person for the position. Most of the candidates that make it to the interview stage are qualified for the job. The winning candidate must be more than qualified, especially in a very competitive job market.
Every hire is a risk for the company. Your interviewer will also be taking a personal career risk in recommending a particular candidate to hire. If the candidate performs well, Mr. Interviewer looks brilliant and gets a pat on the back (and maybe a bigger annual bonus).
If the candidate turns out to be a dud (doesn’t perform well, doesn’t get along with the team, leaves the job prematurely, etc.), the interviewer looks like a dummy and his professional reputation suffers.
With this question, your interviewer is asking you to sell him on you and your status as the best person for the position. Make his job easier by convincing him that:
- You can do the work and deliver exceptional results
- You will fit in beautifully and be a great addition to the team
- You possess a combination of skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd
- Hiring you will make him look smart and make his life easier
Ask any salesperson. It’s tough to close a deal in a buyer’s market. Many candidates sabotage themselves with avoidable mistakes.
Lack of preparation — Don’t try to wing it. You should take the time to prepare your 3-4 bullet points and look for opportunities to customize for any new opportunity. Then, you must PRACTICE delivering your sales pitch until it feels comfortable.
Modesty — This is not the time to be modest or self-deprecating. You must be ready, willing, and able to talk about what makes you a great hire. This will require some practice if you are naturally a bit modest.
You don’t have to be super-confident like the candidate in the video example above. You can use your own style. If you’re not comfortable making value statements about yourself (i.e. “I am the perfect candidate.”), you can stick to fact (“I have ten years of experience, got promoted, broke the sales record, won the award, delivered on time and on budget, received kudos from my manager/client, etc.”)
Another way to “sell” yourself with facts is to quote other people’s opinions. Quote your manger, “My manager told me that he’s never seen anyone with more advanced Excel skills.” You can also reference your general reputation: “I have a reputation for always closing the deal” or “I have a history of always completing my projects ahead of schedule.”
Being too general — Do your best to add some personality to your answer. Don’t simply rattle off the bullet points listed in the job description. Really think about what makes you unique and express it in your own voice.
Talking too much — Remember the law of answering interview questions: You should limit each answer to 1-2 minutes in length (not counting any follow-up questions or requests for additional detail).
If you try to walk through your entire resume when answering this question, the interviewer is likely to tune out.
Focus on your most compelling selling points. Keep in mind that you’ll be more believable if you focus on a few strengths and don’t try to claim that you are a master of every business skill imaginable.
What If They Don’t Ask Me, Why Should We Hire You?
This is a very effective interview question, but not every hiring manager realizes that. What if you prepare a beautiful pitch and they never ask you why you’re the best candidate?
1) “Tailor” Your Answer
As mentioned in the paragraph above, every organization has a specific set of Qualities that the potential hire needs to have in order to be successful in the position. It’s up to you to demonstrate that you have these Qualities, and the most important place to do this is in your answers to the interview questions!
If you would like to get 4 word-for-word “tailored” answers to “why should we hire you?” download our cheat sheet. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR CHEAT SHEET
To ensure you are showing your hiring manager that you do in fact possess the Qualities they are looking for, you need to infuse these Qualities into your answers to the interview questions. Confused? Don’t worry, because we fully cover “tailoring” in our comprehensive blog article, Job Interview Questions and Answers 101.
2) Research the Heck Out of the Company!
How are you supposed to know which Qualities to highlight in your answer? Well, you need to roll up your sleeves and do a little research on the company… in other words, look for clues!
The first place you need to “mine” for these clues is in the job description, which is generally posted on the job board when you apply for the position. It will often contain a list of “required skills and abilities” (in other words, Qualities!) that you can highlight in your response.
TIP on Why Should We Hire You:
3) What You Have That Others Don’t
Okay, so chances are you are going up against a group of candidates that all have very similar skills and experience. The trick is to set yourself apart, and you can do this by answering this question by highlighting a unique trait that you have that will contribute positively to the position (and work required).
For example, everyone who is competing for an administrative assistant role will have experience with answering phones, word processing and filing.
But let’s say you also had some project management experience, you could really emphasize your elevated skill at maintaining schedules and calendars, delegating tasks and making deadlines.
This little emphasis could really set you apart from the other candidates and leave you as a front-runner for the position.
4) Solve a Problem
If you have followed our advice from Tip 2, you have done a large amount of research on the company and in many cases have been able to identify a need or problem that has caused the company to post the job that you are currently applying for.
In answering “why should we hire you” you have the opportunity to provide a solution to any potential problems that the company you are applying to might be facing.
For example, you may come across a news item for a local hardware store that talks about how the lack of modernization of their computer systems has recently caused them to fall behind the industry standard in terms of their online ordering.
Seeing as how they posted a job for a systems analyst (which you are currently applying for), it would seem that you have the opportunity to offer a solution to fix the problem during your answer to this question.
Your answer might begin with, “First things first, I understand that you are having an issue with your online ordering. I would begin by…” and then offer a solution to the problem.
How could they resist?
5) Create a Pitch and Practice
Okay, so there is a really good chance that you will face this question during your job interview.
So there is really no excuse for you to be unprepared, stutter, or make any other little mistake that would indicate that you are not confident.
After all, this question is really all about confidence. If you can’t quickly and easily respond to this question then you won’t exactly be instilling a lot of confidence in the hiring manager.
So consider the tips that I provided above and formulate a response that is natural and
You then want to find a colleague and practice presenting your answer in a casual and conversational tone.
But not too casual, because this is a professional setting and you always want to remain assertive and business-like.
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…this is another great opportunity to tailor your response so that it fits perfectly with the job you’re interviewing for.
Yes, this is a question that will come up in a lot of interviews, but that doesn’t mean just one answer will cover them all.
Make sure for each and every interview you go to that you’ve done your research ahead of time and made sure your answer fits the job as well as the company!
What do you mean, the job as well as the company?
Remember all that research you did ahead of time to figure out what sort of company you’re interviewing with?
Well, here’s an opportunity to use some of that information in a new and (gasp) unique way! Remember when we said in hint #3 to focus on what sets you apart? This is a great way to do it!
If you’re interviewing for a job with a company that puts a lot of value in volunteer work outside of the office, that’s something you can use to help add weight to your answer!
You may have to look for an opportunity to share your thoughts on the subject. At minimum, the process of preparing the answer will help to inform your response to other questions including:
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths?
Also, remember that a good salesperson always finds a way to deliver his pitch. One approach is to wait for an opening at the end of the interview — maybe after you have asked your questions and the interviewer asks if there is anything else on your mind. You could lead in with a transition like: “I just want to say that I’m very interested in the position and I think I would be a great asset in the role because…”
Interview Questions And Answers