INTERVIEW TIPS - 4 Better Ways to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”
4 strategies for answering “Why should we hire you?”
This is your chance to make your pitch and tell the interviewer anything they might have missed about why you’re a great candidate—how your skills would help the organization, for example, or how you’d add to the company’s culture. Be ready to use all the research you’ve done on the company and insights from the job description, as well as anything you’ve gleaned from prior interviews, because we’re trying to pull together a tailored pitch here.
You can use one of these four possible strategies to frame your answer:
1. The “intersection” strategy
For this method, you’ll want to find the crossover between what’s in it for the hiring manager and what’s in it for you if you’re hired. Basically, you should get across that they’ll get an enthusiastic employee who has the exact right skill set for the position and that you’ll get to—and therefore be motivated to—do something meaningful, build your skills, and/or work toward the next step of your career.
The key here is to not forget that second part: talking about yourself. Some people make the mistake of only listing the benefits for the employer. Going into what’s in it for you shows why you’ll be driven and motivated—traits all interviewers are looking for.
2. The “company deep dive” strategy
Some interviewers will spell it out and others won’t, but you should know that the full question is always, “Why should we hire you over everyone else?” If you feel you’ve already covered your skills and experience multiple times, perhaps a better approach for you is to show your dedication to the company itself.
For “the company deep dive,” share your comprehensive knowledge of the business and an understanding for how you might add to the organization. Of course, it requires a good bit of company research (here’s a great guide to get you started) to be able to talk about the company’s uniqueness, history, and future and your own personal investment in the business and its mission. Connecting yourself to the company in this way shows your excitement for the position, portrays you as an insider who might be easier to train than other candidates, and demonstrates how you prepare for and handle something you’re invested in.
3. The “solve your problem” strategy
Often organizations hire new people because they have a problem that needs to be solved. You can get straight to the point with your answer to this question by outlining—ideally in detail—how you can offer immediate relief for a particular pain point.
Don’t spend all your time talking about the past. Instead, focus your efforts on the future and explain how you can make the interviewer’s life easier by addressing their most pressing issue. This shows you’re a forward-thinking team player who’s ready to hit the ground running.
4. The “bonus feature” strategy
You have all the qualifications. You can do the job. But you also have a trick up your sleeve. A “bonus feature.” Something that maybe isn’t strictly required or even listed in the job description, but would undeniably come in handy on the job.
Maybe you’re applying for a corporate job, but years ago your first summer job as a teen was in this company’s retail department, giving you a unique perspective. Or perhaps you’re applying for a marketing role at a medical device company and your neuroscience minor means you have a deep understanding of the problems the org is looking to solve. Any extra experience or skill you have that could be relevant for the job may be worth mentioning here in case the interviewer hasn’t put it together yet.
What not to do when answering “Why should we hire you?”
Don’t just cover the basics. You could say, “Your job needs someone with sales experience and I have that,” but every applicant the hiring manager interviews likely has sales experience. Ideally, your response should be about something most other candidates won’t have.
Don’t assume they’ll make the connections. Don’t spend the entire time talking about your skills and experiences and neglect to mention how it all connects back to the organization and role. Spell it out for them as if the title of the Scripps National Spelling Bee depended on it (and then be grateful you can answer this interview question rather than spell “gesellschaft” or “bougainvillea” on live television!)
Don’t tell your entire life story. It’s hard to know when you’ve sufficiently answered the question, but trust your interviewer to ask follow-up questions if they want to learn more. Resist the urge to cover every reason under the sun for why you should be hired and keep your answer under two minutes.
Next time you’re confronted with “Why should we hire you?”—and it can feel like a confrontation—give one of these strategies a whirl. If nothing else, you’ll be memorable for how polished and unruffled you were. That alone might make you special.
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