‘Why should I hire you?’, the interviewer asks you.
‘Because,’ you say. ‘I’m the best person for the job’.
You see, it’s one thing to tell the interviewer you’re the best candidate for the position, and it’s quite another to show them you’re the best candidate for the position.
They need cold, hard evidence.
And, fortunately for you, that’s where we come in.
Why Interviewers Ask this Question
Every interview question serves a purpose, even the most bizarre ones. But why do hiring managers ask this one in particular, considering how it’s ultimately their decision to make – not yours?
Well, it’s simple, really – and it’s not because they’re lazy or they don’t trust their own judgement. Rather, they want to find out if you’re qualified for the role.
Sure, they could read your CV (which they will have, hopefully, already done), but they’re not looking for a rundown of your educational qualifications. They want to know what value you bring to the company and how you will contribute to its success and growth.
They may also ask you this question to see how you handle difficult situations – a particular soft skill that employers look for in potential employees. Indeed, ‘Why should we hire you?’ is one of the few questions that put you on the spot and, depending on how you respond, can help interviewers determine if you’ve got what they’re looking for.
Other ways your interviewer could pose this question include:
- What would you bring to the job?
- Why are you the best candidate for the job?
- Why are you the right fit for the role?
How to Prepare a Response
Although it’s impossible to say with absolute certainty whether you will be asked this question at your next job interview, one thing is indisputable: it is a common question that hiring managers just love to ask.
In other words, do yourself a favour and prepare a response in case the hiring manager does ask you why they should hire you. (After all, it’s best to be prepared than be caught completely off guard.)
To help you craft the perfect answer, we’ve put together the following tips and tricks.
1. Research the Company
Put on your detective’s hat and start researching the company by reading through their website and looking for patterns. For example, on their ‘Work with Us’ page, you may find that they organise regular events and team-building activities all year round. This could signal that teams are a huge part of their culture, and this could be a great opportunity to talk about your own teamwork skills.
2. Focus on the Employer’s Needs
As the question suggests, your task is to convince the employer that you’re perfect for the job, not that the job is perfect for you.
Essentially, you need to identify a problem the company is facing and come up with a solution – or, rather, be that solution. For example, if the company is having trouble breaking into the French-speaking market, you could talk about how your fluency in French and your large network of business contacts in France and French-speaking Canada can benefit their efforts.
3. Structure Your Sales Pitch
Read the job description again – carefully. What are they looking for in the ideal candidate? What will it take to get the job done?
Look for important keywords and phrases that come up and make a list of these, matching them to your own skills, experiences and achievements. Next, narrow the list down to your three or four strongest selling point, and use this as the basis of your sales pitch.
4. Don’t Memorise a Script
One of the biggest mistakes you could make when preparing for a job interview is memorising scripted answers for common questions. Not only do you end up sounding like a robot when reciting those answers, but you also keep your personality from shining through and, as a result, you hinder your chances of building rapport with your interviewer.
It also reflects badly on you. After all, if you can’t even make an effort in your interview, who’s to say you will in the job if you’re hired?
5. Adapt to New Information
During the interview, you might learn new information that you weren’t previously aware of or that never came up in your research, and it’s a good idea to customise your response accordingly. This essentially shows that you’re able to think on your feet and that you can easily adapt to changing situations – two more top qualities that employers actively look for in potential employees.
6. Mirror the Interviewer
One final piece of advice: mirror the interviewer’s verbal style and physical mannerisms. For example, if you notice that they tend to say ‘I see’ a lot, try subtly incorporating visual words like ‘see’, ‘imagine’ and ‘look’ into your response (and throughout the entire interview). This little trick, when done right, helps you establish a connection with the interviewer, who will be more inclined to recommend you for the position when a hiring decision needs to be made.
Sometimes seeing an example can be helpful when putting together an answer to this interview question. Below are a few examples – including one to avoid at all costs.
'That’s a great question. I’m still learning about your company, but from what I’ve learned so far, it sounds like you’re looking for someone who can adapt quickly in ambiguous situations. Let me tell you about a time I was thrown into the deep end with no support and how I adapted and learned the ropes on my own…'
This answer checks all the right boxes: the candidate acknowledges the question, they recognise what the employer is looking for, and they draw on their past experiences to highlight their fitness for the position.
'I don’t know.'
Sure, your mind could draw a blank (interviews have that effect on people!), even after the heaps of preparation and practice you put in, but ‘I don’t know’ is the last thing recruiters want to hear come out of your mouth. Instead, buy yourself some time by saying something like: ‘That’s a very good question! Can I think about it for a moment because it deserves a good response?’.
'You want to know why you should hire me? Well, because I’m awesome at everything I do! I can drive faster than Michael Schumacher. I can lift heavier weights than Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can hold a note longer than Céline Dion, and I can do this job better than anybody else. Heck, I could even do your job better than you!'
Unless you want to sound arrogant, cocky and just downright rude, do try not to insult the hiring manager (or anyone else, for that matter – including the Queen of Pop). It won’t get you anywhere, except perhaps the exit!
Although it’s the hiring manager who will make the final hiring decision, it’s up to you to help them arrive at the right one: you.
So, make sure you prepare a response that will blow their socks off, because it’s very likely they’ll ask you why, indeed, they should hire you and not one of the other equally qualified candidates.
Have you ever been asked this question in an interview before? Did you prepare for it or did you leave it to chance? Let us know how successful your answer was in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 16 December 2013.