4 Ways to Respond to the Question “Why Should We Hire You?”

There's a fine line between selling yourself too hard and not hard enough. We asked career experts the best way to approach this difficult question.

Job-interviewPressmaster/ShutterstockWhen interviewing for a new job, you should always be prepared to answer any question tossed at you, from, “Are you a team player?” to, “How much experience do you have?” But no matter how prepared you may be for an interview—be it in person, via phone, or even Skype—the one question that can be a stumper is: “Why should I hire you?”

While you may instinctively want to blurt, “Because I’m awesome,” that’s not exactly what the interviewer wants to hear; we’ve rounded up some expert advice on how to stay cool while answering this question—and other tough interview questions, like these 16 stumpers.

Remain humble

“The best answer to this question should include a combination of enthusiasm, confidence, and humility,” says SiriusXM interviewer and broadcaster Ken Coleman. “If you are applying for a job in which you can use your top talents to perform the work you love to do and produce results that matter to you, then smile big, and with enthusiasm reply, “This is what I want to do and where I want to be. I have the talent to execute this role and the passion to maximize this role for the team and the organization.”

Imagine you’re the interviewer

According to career coach Elana Konstant, think about this question from the employer’s perspective. “What does your interviewer need to hear to recognize that you are the right candidate? Rather than focusing on what you want to get across, focus on what is affecting the employer—company challenges, upcoming projects, industry changes, and so forth.”

Remember, adds Konstant, the interviewer wants to determine if you are a good fit for the role and the company as a whole. Research the company via LinkedIn and Glassdoor, so you can learn as much as you can about its culture before interviewing.

Also, practice your response out loud and frequently with friends and family—especially the morning of the interview. Have them watch your gestures and posture to make sure you avoid these 15 common body language mistakes during interviews.

Prepare talking points

Monster career expert Vicki Salemi says to prepare talking points. “You need to convey you have the skills and experience to ace the role, speak with enthusiasm, and passion and then bring it back to the employer.”

Salemi advises job seekers to “mention you know they’re looking for a detail-oriented manager who’s a great self-starter, for example, and that their initiative is green and that aligns with your values.” Also, don’t be shy about your passion for the opportunity. “When I worked in corporate recruiting and candidates were nearly identical on paper, decisions boiled down to soft skills and who the hiring team liked better,” recalls Salemi. “I heard hiring managers say, ‘They had a hunger in their eyes,’ or ‘fire in their belly.'” (Make sure you have these 17 “soft skills” companies are looking for.)

It’s OK to brag a little

Don’t be too shy, says Salemi: It’s an interview, they expect you to brag some. “You can say something like, ‘You should hire me because I’m an excellent performer and excel in the skill set required for this position. I’ve done XYZ in my current role and have valuable experiences already…,’ and then go into why you’re a fit for them. Make it easy for them to connect the dots so by the end of this answer they’re thinking, ‘This sounds pretty convincing!'”

Rachel Sokol
Rachel Sokol is a longtime contributor to Reader's Digest, tackling mostly cleaning and health round-ups. A journalism graduate of Emerson College, she's a former education writer, beauty editor, and entertainment columnist.