Ever get asked “Why should we hire you?” and find yourself stumped? You’re not alone. “Sometimes candidates freeze like a deer in headlights, overthink the answer, are too general with the response or are just off plain target,” says Stacey Berk, managing consultant for Expand HR Consulting. “However, if the candidate researches and practices their response and takes the pulse of the interview, they can successfully respond to the curveball and hopefully land the job.”
You’ve done what you need to do to get your resume to stand out, now here are some great insights on how to seel the deal with your answer to the question, “Why should we hire you?”
Get to the “how”
“I absolutely love it when potential employees can detail how they have worked smart, and improved the processes they and others depend on daily to do their jobs. It shows they have the confidence to speak up and the ability to not just follow the given steps but to think on their own. This is a person that can grow into a manager. I hate it when candidates say how hard they work, and especially that they give 110 percent! Really, and how would you give more than 100 percent?” —Akiva Goldstein, serial entrepreneur and founder of Onsitein60
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Explain your unique offering
“What I want to hear in response to the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’ is what you’re going to do for my company or business that nobody else can. This question presents you with the ideal chance to set yourself apart from the competition, so be unique and tell me exactly why you really are the candidate for this job. Your answer should be a sales pitch full of so many benefits that I will want you to start working for me right this second!” —Joe Flanagan, fitness app developer at GetSongbpm
Give three examples of what you do
“To demonstrate that you can do the job, tell the interviewer the three exemplary qualities you have that are most relevant to the job description. A simple list is sufficient, along with the qualifier, ‘I’m happy to give you some examples if you like.’ Don’t go overboard trying to prove yourself, let them ask.” —Sean Sessel, founder and director of The Oculus Institute
Be different, but not weird
“The sweet spot for recruiters is the candidates that can differentiate themselves effectively without being weird as they answer the question, “Why should I hire you?’ Consider your qualifications as a mere ‘cover charge’ to get into the conversation…assume there are a hundred people at that same starting point, and start building your case from there. Identify your unique qualities that recruiters will remember. Have a few stories that back up those qualities. People who interview for a living have a very strong radar for B.S., so if you aren’t telling a genuine story, they will know. Be proud of the things that make you unique, and identify how those unique attributes align with the position you are trying to land.” —Daniel Steinfeld, CEO of Getontheblock.com
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Show rather than tell
“When I coach clients on interview preparation strategies, the primary thing that I emphasize is that each interview question is ultimately a chance for the candidate to tell a story about a time when they excelled at something. Anecdotes stay in the interviewer’s mind for much longer than generic statements like ‘I’m great with people,’ so I recommend that my clients create at least five strong stories going into the interview, which they can adapt to the questions that come up. For example, ‘I think that you should hire me because I am terrific at motivating others. For instance…’ and then go into their anecdote. With this method, they can tie their stories directly to the skills that the role asks for.” — Andrea Gerson, founder of Resume Scripter
Tell them how you will fit in
“Interviewers need to know two things about you to make a decision about your candidacy: 1. Are you qualified for the role? 2. Are you a cultural fit and value add to our team/organization? When a hiring manager asks you why you are the best candidate for the role the best answer explains how you meet and exceed the job requirements and how you will use the experiences you’ve had in the past will help you solve problems for your new employer. You can also tell them information that helps them understand the extra value you bring to the role based on life experience or the passion you have for the industry or role.” —Melissa McClung, professional career advisor and owner of LBD Careers, LLC.
Let them know your big plans
“We’ve been going through a lot of applications recently, and the most impressive answers have come from those who had a clearly prepared a pitch for something they wanted to do or thought we should be doing. For instance, we had one candidate ask whether we had looked at selling into a specific channel, naming a number of similar products that had done so effectively, and then explaining their background in that space. Even if we weren’t interested in that specific idea, it showed a clear understanding of the product, the market, and how that individual would attack the task.” —Sean O’Neill, founder of Toast! Supplements Inc.
Don’t take full credit for your past successes
“We want to hear that you’re proud of your work without necessarily comparing yourself to others. Most jobs involve teamwork, and this question serves as a good opportunity to show that you can celebrate your own success without denigrating others’. We don’t want to hire some with an inflated ego. It’s important you come across as someone who works well in groups.” —Carol Wood, head of HR at Homebase
“Even if you don’t have anything extraordinary to share about your past positions, show your willingness to learn and motivation to succeed. Hiring managers are evaluating personality as much as qualifications with the question, ‘Why should I hire you?’ This has more to do with decision-making than you might imagine.” —Armida Markarova, founder and CEO of Career Bloom
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Don’t leave than with any doubts in their mind
“After mirroring their needs and how you fill them, end by clearly showing your enthusiasm for the company. Since interviews can be quite stressful and serious for both sides, it’s important to leave them with the impression that you want the job and that you’re excited about it.” —Dr. Vince Repaci, a senior coach with LOVR Atlantic
Don’t sound too rehearsed
“Before answering, applicants should take a moment to breathe and collect their thoughts so that they answer can truly be genuine and honest. An expert recruiter can spot a rehearsed answer in a heartbeat, so be truthful with your answer.” —Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com
Explain that you’re in it for the long haul
“We specialize in staffing for the cannabis industry, and the response we like to hear relates to the candidates’ enthusiasm. We look for them to express a long-term desire to work specifically in our industry. It really catches our attention when a candidate says they’ve been waiting all these years for the cannabis industry to be legalized so they could get involved. We like that because it makes us think they will stick around and our client will get their money’s worth on a long term hire. We do not like to hear anything that would cause us to believe the candidate is a job hopper.” —Ruth Leslie, director of recruiting of NuGreen Staffing, Inc.
Present yourself as a great opportunity
“These are some answers we have heard that we liked: ‘I will make you look good and allow you to have an easier life,’ and ‘If you don’t hire me, then someone else will and you don’t want me working for the competition.’ I don’t want to hear anything like being punctual, hardworking or working well in a team. This is the bare minimum we expect.” —Tom Buckland, owner of HQ SEO and Ghost Marketing
Monkey Business Images/ShutterstockShow your determination
“I want to hear a candidate say that they will do anything that is needed to get the job done, that no task is beneath them. Real examples of how you stepped up and rolled your sleeves up to help your company be successful capture my attention and bring life to ordinary words. A can-do attitude needs to be supported with examples of action, not just saying, ‘I am a self-starter, I am a team player.'” —Kerry Wekelo, COO of Actualize Consulting and creator of Culture Infusion: 9 Principles for Creating and Maintaining a Thriving Organizational Culture
“I have interviewed approximately 10,000 candidates throughout my career. My advice is to keep your responses positive and more about you, your skills, your experiences around those skills, and how all of that relates to the position you are interviewing for. Avoid saying that you are looking for a new job because of the salary or because you don’t like where you are currently working. Keep it positive and constructive.” —Theresa Santoro, director of operations/human resources, Actualize Consulting
Talk about the future
“Some of the best responses I have had during interviews with this kind of question have focused on the future—the candidate has asked about the history during the interview and then specifies how he/she wants to be a part of the future of the company. Additionally, emphasizing that you want to be a part of the team and learn from others, while also lending your skills and leadership to help guide the team or company or project—I think that’s also important to showcase in a response to this kind of question.” —Sandi Knight, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for HealthMarkets
Show that you’ve done your homework
“You want to impress them with how well-researched you are on the company and give them a true picture of what the future of the company will look like once you’re a part of the team. For example, say something along the lines of: ‘I have extensively researched this company and your approach to the market is what is most attractive to me for this role. My background doing XYZ will align well with the work here because <state reason>. I am confident that I will drive X results in a short time frame and will do X in the long term.” —Lisa Barrow, CEO of Kada Recruiting
Explain your impact on their business
“The HR person is seeking to understand what business impact will your hiring make and the value your job positioning will create in the larger organizational scheme of things. You have to primarily show the value your organization will derive by having you on board, the skills, experience, and expertise you bring to the table, and the competencies you have that the organization is certainly going to benefit from.”—Gargi Rajan, Head HR Mercer | Mettl
Get to the point
“The question is short, punchy and straight to the heart of the matter. In return, I think candidates can feel confident answering it with equal vigor and zest! For me, the best answer to give is something like, ‘Well, when you hire me you will see me run through brick walls for you on a day-to-day basis.’ In providing this answer the candidate paints a picture of the future working relationship, and they have an answer where they can look the interviewer square in the eye and show they really mean business.” —Simon Royston, managing director of The Recruitment Lab
Prove that you can be a great advocate
“You need to be able to sell yourself. This question is literally asking you to sell yourself and stand out. If you can’t sell yourself, how are you going to be successful in selling my services/product? But I don’t want someone to be overconfident and think they are the bee’s knees. There is a respectful manner that you can boost your fit for the position without having to rub it in. It is important to learn this difference.” —Mike Sheety, Director of Thatshirt.com
Show enthusiasm for this specific job
“Hiring managers want to hear that you are passionate about THIS opportunity. Before you go into the interview, figure out what the pain points of the position/job are and address those pain points. For example, if the position requires someone who is very detail oriented, highlight your organization skills.” —Sarah Johnston, career coach
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