Job interviews have a series of questions that are quite standard, such as ‘tell us about yourself’ or ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ or ‘what will you bring to the company’ etc. One of these questions is: ‘Why should we hire you?’, a pretty simple, straightforward question that you come across in 85% of interviews.
The question is sometimes rephrased as: ‘What makes you unique?’ or ‘Why do you think you best-fit for this role?’. Whatever the phrasing may be, the answer to this question should have the key element of demonstration of skills, experiences and research.
The goal of the employer is to find out if you are the ‘best-fit’ for the job. Your goal, as the interviewee should be to show why you are best-fit for the job and get ahead of your competitors. To do that, consider the following tactics:
1- Sell Yourself
A job interview means you are trying to sell something. In this case, it is not an item or a service, but your skills and experiences. Always keep in mind that a job interview means you will need to impress and convince your interviewers, when you answer the question ‘Why should we hire you?’.
The best way to do this is to use your experiences and skills together with examples to make your point. Using examples from your experience, show how you fit the job description because of your skills. Have confidence with using sentences such as; “I have the skills and experience you are looking for and I am confident I would do well in this role.”
Summarise briefly how you meet the position’s top requirements with examples. These could be completed projects, successful awards, reports that helped companies improve customer relations and boost profits etc. Use creative answers for your examples to impress the hiring committee. Take a look at the example below:
“It is my understanding that you’re looking for an independent sales professional with an extensive track record. Someone who’s able to close deals with enterprise accounts, navigate longer sales cycles, build relationships with multiple decision-makers, but also add a bit of structure to the mix. That’s exactly what I bring to the table.”
2- Job Description Knowledge
Make sure you have thoroughly read and understood the job description. Have full knowledge of the top requirements, and knowing what are the points that count as bonus will help you to prepare for the interview. Be able to connect the requirements with your skillset and use the requirements section of the job description to start your sentences.
the job description says they are looking for a candidate who has team-working skills and can adapt to stressful deadlines. You can reply: ‘In my previous job with (Company A) I was an Executive Producer and worked with a team to bring out the daily NewsHour. We were accountable for changing and adapting to incoming current news/issues updates that had to be incorporated into our editorial in a given deadline.’
3- Company Knowledge
The job description will usually have a short introduction to the company. However, use the internet to do a more thorough research. Look up the companies short- and long-term goals and connect these goals with your experience and expertise to show what you will bring to the company.
From my research of the company, I can see you are looking to expand your marketing strategies. My experience as a sales executive and marketing manager fits the description of someone who can lead your team and reach the companies short- and long- term goals. My experience in developing (Company A)’s PR and social media marketing strategies can be redesigned to incorporate into (Company
B) and boost sales to bring in more profit. Another way is to identify the challenges the company is facing is through research and then demonstrating how you can overcome these challenges with examples from your experiences.
From the report published on your company website at the end of the fiscal year, I can see that there is a drastic drop in company profits. I have experience as the Manager with (Company A), where I led development team formed with colleagues from sales, marketing and accounting departments. The aim of the team was to create feasibility reports and find reasons for drops in companies’ development between the years (xxxx – xxxx). As their manager, I was responsible in guiding and managing their workload so that we can find the reasons for profit drops and create reports on how the decrease can be fixed/avoided for company development.
4- Enthusiasm and Work Ethic
When you’re buying an item, the general rule is not to express too much enthusiasm so that the salesperson keeps the price. In this case, however, you are the salesperson selling yourself to the company. Therefore, express your enthusiasm and show you are excited and willing to take on this role. Talk about your work ethic with brief examples. Don’t be too confident, but don’t also underestimate yourself and come out as ‘too humble’. This works specifically for entry-level positions where the applicant has little to none experience other than an internship.
If you’re a fresh graduate out of school and applying for a job, emphasise your internships and/or final projects you’ve done in your last year. Demonstrate with examples some of your responsibilities and using your work ethic, express how you held up to company values and regulations when finishing/helping with assignments. It might be worth it to mention about your performance review you might have received from the company you did an internship with.
You can also talk about the short but efficient responsibilities you did that would normally be given to someone in a full-time or temporary paid position. This would show that the company you worked for trusted your judgment and intuition on issues and were willing to give you a chance in succeeding, which you’ve done successfully.
5- Outworking Competitors
Competition is not necessarily between companies. The job search and working industry is a competitive one too. The hiring committee is most likely interviewing at least three people along with you, which means you need to show them why you are the distinctive one and best-fit for the role.
To do so, you can show them you are willing to go the extra mile by articulating the knowledge you gained through thorough research before the interview. This means, look the company up from their website, social media, platforms, forums, any place you may find useful and practical information. You can look into the company’s latest achievements, profit margins, short- and long- term goals, issues it’s facing, any decrease in the market, it’s history etc.
This knowledge will help you in your answers of what you will bring to the company. You will find that your experiences and skills can overlap the companies’ goals and you might have some ideas on how to improve/develop. Mentioning these with confidence and within reason will earn you positive points when answering the question: ‘Why should we hire you?’
Planning and organisation are a good step to take when you want to achieve your goal. In this case, your goal is to make sure you have answered the question ‘Why should we hire you?’ in the best way possible that reflects your experiences and skills as the best-fit candidate for the job. For this reason, make sure to structure your answers. This means:
- Vocalise the skills they are looking for
- Detail your experiences and connect these with your skills
- Avoid what’s on your CV or what you’ve said before; your aim is to show why you are best-fit for the role, not why you are qualified. They already know you are qualified, hence the interview.
- Don’t type out your answers and memorise the script, instead use bullet points in your notes to make you remember!
Finally, always remember that Practice makes Perfect!
Once you are done with research and structuring, do some practice runs with a friend. Ask them to sit with you and do an interview as though they are the interviewer. Come prepared, not just in terms of what you will say, but also get dressed as though it is the actual interview. Put yourself into the mindset of which you will be in on the day of the interview!
Kobe Bryant once said: “I was ice-cold during clutch times because I’ve done it thousands of times before!” Practicing will help you to overcome emotions such as anxiety, stress and nervousness during the interview, because you will remember how you dealt with these emotions from your previous preparations.
What will you gain if you practice? Here are just a few benefits:
- You will see how much your strengths match the job requirements
- You will be able to control your emotions and what you say during the actual interview, since your body will remember how to react from previous experience
- You will be able to project your confidence and see how you come off
Preparation is always a good step to see what you need to change, add or skip in the actual interview. As human beings, it is normal for us to forget certain things. To avoid this, make sure to record your prep interviews and use these recordings to watch and go over what you might need to change or not do. Being present and talking to someone about the prep interview is one thing, but seeing yourself on camera with your mistakes and what you did right is another thing.
What to Avoid
Here are some points to avoid before and during the interview. Flag these and watch out for them!
‘Winging it’ is a term used to mean improvisation. Don’t think that just because you’ve done many interviews and are good with communication skills, you can ‘wing it’ and so don’t need to practice. It’s a big opportunity, planning and research is the sensible thing to do!
Don’t be self-deprecating, instead show how unique you are. You don’t have to be super self-confident, but don’t be too modest. Just know your value and capabilities. If you are not comfortable with sentences like “I am the perfect candidate” then stick to facts about your experiences and expertise, such as:
- “I have x years of experience in the x field.
- I got promoted to xxx position.
- I won an award for x project.
- I received excellent performance review for my role as x.”
Don’t be too general. Bullet points are for you to remember the details and examples you practiced before. Use full sentences with examples to show the hiring committee why you are unique and best-fit for the job by adding your creative personality to the interview.
Avoid talking too much, and keep your answers 2-3 sentences to each question. Keep your focus on points that sell you, without making it sound like you have all the business skills.
Job interviews are generally difficult, especially when it’s a big opportunity with an important company. To ace the question ‘Why should we hire you?’, keep in mind the four basic principles to follow:
- Research: Know the company and the job description inside out
- Analysis: Know your skills and how these match with what they are looking for
- Focus: Keep your focus on your strengths and weakness, and how you are motivated to improve your weaknesses and use your strengths to add to the company and develop your career.
- Practice: Preparation will help to build self-confidence and allow you to see your mistakes. Make sure to prep yourself before the interview!