How would you answer the interview question,”Why should I hire you?” This is a frequently asked interview question that the majority of job seekers are unprepared to answer. One interviewer said that out of 20 interviewees, only one had a good answer to that question. She was hired on the spot.
One Question, Many Uses
The question, “Why should I hire you?” can be used in a variety of ways, such as:
- A question occurring early in an interview that is a way of asking you to tell the employer about yourself. (You may hear this question early on if the employer has already interviewed some solid candidates.)
- A closing question, giving you the opportunity to give a final, summary sales pitch about your qualifications for the position.
- A test question to see how you respond. In this case, it might be phrased, “We already have the perfect candidate for this position. Why should we hire you over that person?”
What Not to Say
You need to think through your answer to the question prior to the interview, because this one question can determine whether you get a job offer or a rejection letter. Here are some bad answers to the question:
- “Because I really need this job!” This response shows that you are focused on your needs, not those of the employer.
- “Because I’m a hard worker and could do a really good job.” This answer is too general, and will not distinguish you from all of the other candidates.
The Right Answer
An effective answer to the question, “Why should I hire you?” will do the following:
- Highlight the key skills and qualifications you have for this specific position;
- Provide brief examples (a.k.a. “prove it” statements) that illustrate what results you have achieved with your skills that are relevant to this position;
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the company (its mission, problems and goals) and how you will bring value to the company. (In other words, how you will be worth more in productivity and accomplishments than you will cost them in salary.)
How to Prepare Your Answer
Preparing your answer to “Why should I hire you?” prior to your interview is critical. It is of vital importance not only might you be asked this specific question, but because this question underlies almost every other question you might be asked. When you are asked questions such as “What are your strengths?” or “What interests you about our organization?” the employer is thinking, bottom-line, “Why should I hire you?” Therefore, thinking through your response to this one question will help you in answering all of the other questions in the interview, as well.
Here are the steps to preparing a winning response:
1. Research the company. Find out about its current mission, goals and problems.
2. Study the job description. What seem to be the most important qualities and skills the company is looking for? What key contributions is the employer looking for this person to make?
3. What skills, abilities, experiences, personal qualities, etc. do you have that will be assets to this position and to this specific company? What do you have that distinguishes you from others applying for this position.
4. Write down the 3-5 most compelling “sales points,” that is, the most important assets you would bring to this position. Develop a brief example of each of them that illustrates the results you achieved.
5. Practice your response to “Why should I hire you?” out loud. Aim for a response that is no more than 60 seconds long (as many people will stop listening if the answer is too long). Record your response so you (and others) can listen to it and evaluate its impact. Work with your response until it effectively showcases your unique qualifications for the position.
Example: “With my eleven years working with production lines, I have saved companies millions of dollars by streamlining systems. My high energy and ability to quickly evaluate a situation enable me to go into a new plant and rapidly determine what needs to be changed. I am able to develop rapport and buy-in with plant managers and personnel, and have worked successfully with union representatives. From what I have learned about XYZ Company and its challenges with the plant in Mexico, and based on my past experiences and success, I strongly believe that I can make the desired changes and meet your production goals within the 6-month deadline.”
Preparing this statement ahead of the interview will give you the edge when asked questions like, "Why should we hire you?" You will be able to demonstrate to the employer that you are the solution to their problem (or the answer to their prayers!).