Why should we hire you? What to say in your interview
To get a job, you must position yourself as the answer to a proverbial question. This is how to match your experience with an employer’s needs.
From the moment you enter the room for a job interview, the hiring manager is assessing one thing: Are you the best person for the job? And at some point during the interview, you can expect to be asked straight up, “Why should we hire you?” Answer correctly, and you'll pass a very important test.
Obviously, you can’t respond, “Because I need a job.” Granted, it’s a loaded question, says Los Angeles executive coach Libby Gill, “but you need to ace it.”
Basically, your answer needs to demonstrate that you are the solution to the employer’s problem (a vacancy on their team), and no other candidate could possibly do the job better than you.
So why should they choose you over anybody else? Take these steps to prepare a well-crafted response.
Focus on the employer’s needs (not yours)
Though the question “Why should we hire you” seems like the focus is on you and your wants, it’s really not. Your personal career goals are certainly important, but this question is an opportunity to explain how you’ll bring value to the company.
To prepare, research everything you can about the business’ agenda—read its website, social media, quarterly reports, company profiles on Monster, press releases, and recent news stories about the company. What are their goals? Where do they see themselves headed in the future? How can your talents help get them there? (“This company wants to be an industry leader in xyz. My background has given me valuable experience in that realm, and I have a lot of ideas as to how we can make that happen together.”)
Reflect on the job itself
You can also learn a lot from a job posting, says Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies Incorporated. Most job descriptions outline not only the job responsibilities and qualifications, but also what core skills are required to be successful in the position.
Tim Cole, owner at career coaching firm The Compass Alliance, says the best strategy is to target three to four skills and explain how you’ve demonstrated them in the past. (“I know that business acumen is one of the crucial skills for this position. Let me give you a few examples of how I’ve applied this skill in my career thus far.”)
Where possible, weave in language from the job posting, says Gill. “You can use some of the company’s buzzwords without sounding overly rehearsed,” she advises.
Address cultural fit
About eight in 10 employers said they measure for cultural fit when hiring job candidates, one survey by international development firm Cubiks found. Read: Part of your “Why should we hire you” answer should indicate why you’ll be a good match for the company’s environment. (“This isn’t a traditional company, which is wonderful because I don’t consider myself a traditional worker. Like you, I thrive on innovation.”)
Using trite words or phrases to articulate your value is one of the biggest mistakes job candidates make, says Claman. Indeed, you’re not going blow hiring managers away with your originality by using lines they’ve heard over and over again. “Don’t just sit there and say, ‘Hire me because I’m a hard worker,’ or ‘I’m self-motivated,’” Claman says.
Rather than telling an interviewer you’re a self-starter, back it up with an anecdote that shows how you’ve collaborated well with co-workers in the past. (“I'm a team player. I know you've probably heard that before, so let me give you an example.”)
Don’t hold back
To impress a hiring manager, you have to show confidence, says Julie Jansen, career coach and author of You Want Me to Work With Who? “Employers like to see that you know what your strengths are and that you know you bring value,” Jansen says.
Look at past performance reviews to see what managers praised you for and talk to former co-workers about your contributions—then highlight those skills or achievements. And, lead with a power statement: “If you want someone who can walk in and start managing a project without a lot of direction, or someone who already has a black belt in this sector, then I’m the person you should hire.”
Feeling fearless? Jansen recommends this unconventional response: “If you want someone who will maintain status quo, then I’m not the person you should hire.”
Fit to be hired
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to hear "Why should we hire you?" and then point to yourself and blurt out, “Honestly, why wouldn’t you want to hire this?” There are better ways to make your point. Want to convince more employers that you’re the one for the job? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five resumes—each tailored to the kinds of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates. You’ll be rolling into a new job before long, no question about it.