How to answer the most important question in your job interview
By: Jaime Petkanics, The Prepary
Common interview question: Why should we hire you for this job?
Why they’re asking: They want to make sure you are confident that you can do the job and prove that you are the right person to do the job.
Why it’s tricky: It’s a very open-ended interview question. It’s also sort of a bold question, one that is kind of meant to challenge you a bit and see how you respond to pressure.
How to answer: Explain why you’re great, what you’ve done that relates to the job opportunity, and be really, really confident.
Note: This is a pretty similar question to “Why are you suitable for this job?” so there will be some overlap with that post, but this question has a slightly different tone (and therefore a different answer). When someone asks “Why should we hire you?” it’s sort of like saying “Prove yourself,” and the answer should be a bit more powerful, more confident, and stronger than the answer to “Why are you suitable…” It’s like someone telling you, “Okay, now close the sale.”
Let’s dive into how to answer this common interview question in the most impactful way possible:
1. Know the job description really, really well
That’s right. I know I always say this, but you absolutely need to know the job description like the back of your hand to ace this question (and any interview, for that matter). Study everything from the overview to the daily responsibilities to the qualifications. Truly understand what you are interviewing for and know what your interviewers are looking for. Think of the job description as a wish list that your future manager has written.
2. Know how to apply your past experiences to it
Read through the “responsibilities” or “tasks” and be able to talk about similar tasks you’ve done in the past. Look at the qualifications and desired qualities and be able discuss how you meet (if not exceed) them. This question is sort of about you… but it’s more about how your skills line up with what the company is looking for. You probably have many great accomplishments, but you should be focusing on the ones that most closely match the job you’re going after.
3. Talk results
Remember I said this answer should be a little “bold”? If you’re proving yourself to your interviewer, you’re going to want to talk about what you personally can bring to the table. Something along the lines of, “I see you’re looking for someone to manage X. I am confident I’d be able to execute on that by doing X, Y, and Z.” You don’t want to be just another candidate. You want to be seen as an asset who is ready to add value right away.
4. Make sure you come across as a “good fit”
You’ve already shown off your hard skills and qualifications in the first part of this answer, but I’ve seen even the most qualified candidates not get the job based on that pesky notion of “fit.” Doing well in a job isn’t just about what you do, but also how you go about doing it.
In a small or growing company, you might want to express that you’re willing to “get your hands dirty” or “pitch in wherever needed.” In a more structured company, you may want to talk about how focused and task-oriented you can be. Learn as much as you can about the company (and the company culture) before the interview and emphasize why you’d fit in there.
5. Close the sale and make it compelling!
Again, when this question is asked in this way, you should be going into sell mode, and every good sale has a great closing. Wrap up your answer in a way that is confident, concise, and enthusiastic. While you don’t want to go totally overboard, make it memorable too.
As you answer this question, it’s important to strike the right balance between being confident and being a total egomaniac. It’s always important to gauge the interviewer’s reaction and adjust your answer accordingly as you go. However, this question is someone basically forcing you to explain “why me,” so don’t be afraid to show off a bit.