It’s the moment of truth—you’re on the job hunt and have landed an interview and it’s going well. You’re making a great impression on the person you’re meeting with and it really feels as if you have this locked up… and then all of a sudden you’re hit with the big question: “Why should I hire you?”
On its face it may seem like an easy question, but the truth is that it may only seem deceptively so. On top of there being a lot riding on your answer (namely a possible new job), the way in which you choose to answer the question may reveal a great deal to the person who’s in a position to make a hiring decision about you. Obviously, you want to make a good impression, and there’s a million overused and unremarkable ways to handle the question that you should wisely avoid. With all of that said, perhaps it doesn’t seem so simple anymore?
Don’t worry—although there are plenty of ways to miss the mark when you’re facing this question, there are some effective strategies for how to handle it that can help turn a good interview into a great one, ensure that you leave a positive lasting impression on the interviewer, and increase your chances of getting hired. The Balance recently published an article highlighting proven strategies for handling the “Why should I hire you?” question. Consider taking advantage of the following tips when you next face it.
Build your pitch.
Always remember that you’re selling yourself whenever you’re on an interview, and your answer to the question “Why should I hire you?” should reflect a deep awareness of the requirements of the position that you’re interviewing for, the needs of the company that you’d like to become a part of, and the personality traits, skills, and experience that you possess that make you an ideal candidate. This means that you should always do your homework before getting to the interview, and you should be ready to confidently connect the dots between you, the employer, and their needs. If you have this down cold, then you’re in a good position to let the interviewer know precisely why they should hire you; if you’re unsure of the answer, keep working to connect those dots before the day of the big interview arrives. It never hurts to take a look at the keywords in the job posting and incorporate some of them into your answer.
That said, you should always be ready to tweak your answer as needed to reflect any new information you get during the interview. For example, if you go into the interview thinking that good project management skills is your most valuable asset for the position but learn during the interview that they’re really looking to hire someone who’s a whiz with numbers, you may want to consider a revision if the question arises.
Keep it brief.
A good answer to the question need not—and really should not—be an endless soliloquy that takes the unfortunate audience on a meandering journey through your entire life story. Keep it short, simple, and to the point—think a minute or two, tops. Your one goal is to succinctly encapsulate why you effectively bridge the gap between the position you’re vying for and the needs of the company. Anything longer than that may exhaust the listener and may truly be “TMI.”
Realize it’s not just what you say.
Sure, you’re going to be judged based on what you say in response to this question, but just as important for this and all other interview questions is how you respond. This includes your confidence, body language, and ability to sell yourself as a true potential asset who stands out from the job hunting crowd. So, not only prepare what you intend to say in response to this weighty question, also be sure that your delivery is razor-sharp. It's okay to act like you've prepared an answer in advance—hiring managers love preparation and attention to detail!
What makes you stand out?
It’s always smart to keep in mind that for every good answer you might have for every interview question that arises, there’ll be a pack of other qualified candidates who will also come to their interviews strapped with good answers as well. Therefore, you should come ready to answer the question “Why should I hire you?” with something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Anything that makes you unique and could be viewed as a potential checkmark in the “pro” column when hiring personnel are deciding about you is fair game. Perhaps the interviewer mentioned that the company is seeking to expand its business internationally and you speak the language of a country that they may be looking to do business in—that could be a potential game changer. Try to have your own game changer in mind when facing this question. Any detail will do—not only will you seem well-suited for the job, but it will also show that you've done your homework in advance and know what the company is all about.
"Why should I hire you?” is a question that has the potential to leave you rambling on and on while not saying much of anything. Don't waste your opportunity to create a powerful, pointed answer to this common interview question. Your interviewer will be impressed with your ability to summarize all you have to offer in a focused soundbite—you'll look prepared, confident, and responsible, all traits key to getting the job.
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