Most people aren’t used to selling themselves.
But when the hiring manager asks: “Why should I hire you?”
You’ll need to make yourself so appealing that they can’t imagine hiring someone else. Yes, the whole thing smacks of falseness.
So, look at it like this. A good salesperson knows that customers have pain points.
They have something they need or want. A problem to solve.
Your "why should we hire you" answer is about providing the company with pain relief.
So, all you have to do is know the needs of the business, and you can make yourself invaluable before you even get the job.
This article will tell you:
- What interviewers are actually asking when they ask “Why should we hire you?”
- Preparation tips for how to answer the "why should we hire you" question.
- Examples of "why should we hire you" best answers and why they work.
And if you'd like to make sure you won't forget anything important before or after your big interview, get our free checklist: 42 Things You Need To Do Before, During, and After Your Big Interview.
What a Hiring Manager Wants When They Ask “Why Should We Hire You?”
The whole interview is about answering this one question. And the question boils down to:
“What can you do for us?”
That’s because making a new hire is expensive. How expensive? Try six to nine months of an employee’s salary. See, the interviewer’s job isn’t to hire you. It’s their job to “retain” you.
So, it’s pretty simple. The interviewer wants to know that they are hiring someone who can:
- Perform the work.
- Fit in with the company.
- Commit to the job.
Why should you hire me?
I know how to perform the work. Here’s the proof. And I’m going to fit in with the company. Here’s the proof. Plus, I’m committed to the company. Here’s why.
Now, before we get into examples of interview answers, here’s the two big mistakes to avoid.
|Your answer reflects that you know what the position requires. Plus, you can prove that you’re the right person to do the work based on past achievements.|
|Casting yourself as a demigod who fell from heaven to apply for the position and save the world. Hello, my name is Hercules, and I’m here to do the heavy lifting.|
- Here’s the thing. You don’t want to come off as arrogant.
|Your answer reflects that you understand the work culture of the company. You will fit in with the team and make the hiring manager’s life easier from day one.|
|Casting yourself as an imposter who’s pretending to be qualified because you need a job - any job.|
- Here’s the other thing. You also don’t want to sound too humble, or like you’re begging for the position.
What the interviewer wants to find out when they ask: “Why should we hire you?”
- Do you know what the position and the job entail?
- Do you know what the company values?
- Do you know what kind of person will fit in with the company?
- Are you there to just get a job or did you do your homework?
- Is your interest in the company genuine? Or did you pick the first semi-relevant offer from a random job board?
You need to tell the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job because you know what they want and need. You know that because you cared enough to do the research.
You also cared enough to match your skill set and experiences to what you found in the job offer. You noticed that your skill set was something they would find useful and valuable. That’s why you applied for the job.
You’ve put care and effort into your job search. You are the right person for the job. Now, it’s time to communicate that in a clear and confident way.
Here are some alternative versions of the common interview question -"Why should we hire you?":
- Why should we hire you over other candidates?
- Why should we hire you for this position?
- Why should we hire you over the others?
- Why are you the right candidate for the job?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you applying for this position?
- Why do you think you are the best fit for this position?
- Why do you think this position is a good fit for you?
- What sets you apart from other candidates?
- What sets you apart from other applicants?
- What value would you bring to the job?
- What can you do for us?
- Please describe why you are an ideal candidate for this position.
- Explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job.
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Pro Tip: Keep in mind that when you’re figuring out how to answer interview questions like "why should we hire you," your answers should only last for a minute or two.
Want to read up on more common interview questions? Want to see samples of the best answers? Read our guide: Most Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers (+20 Examples)
How to Prepare a Good Answer for the "Why Should We Hire You" Interview Question
Like everything else you do to get a job - from resume writing to writing a thank you email after your interview - you need to figure out what the company needs.
Once you do that, you can tailor your answer to meet those needs.
Take Time to Research Your Target Company
Start your research by reading the job description. Highlight and list the skills, personality traits, and experience required for the job.
Here’s an example of a job description for a Mechanical Engineer. Notice the qualities underlined in pink along with repeated qualities inside the boxes:
Why should we hire you? What should be the answer for a Mechanical Engineer?
Well, according to the job description, the ideal candidate should excel at working on a team. Teamwork appears twice in the job description.
Also, notice that “LEED standards” shows up more than once in the job description. Now, if you aren’t an engineer or architect, you don’t have to know about LEED standards.
For those of you who are curious, LEED standards are a way of giving buildings points for being environmentally friendly.
The more energy, water, and resource efficient the building, the more points the building gets. The more points the higher the LEED rating.
The higher the LEED rating the more likely clients will rent space in the building because the energy bills are lower.
But all job seekers should know to look for information that repeats. The hiring manager wanted to stress the importance of these qualities for the job, so you should too.
The next step is to research the company and look for patterns.
On the company’s website, the candidate found the following information:
Each year, we host several events for our employees where they can be on official teams. The activities are fun and competitive. Besides fun team events, there are also team events for professional development. These include team building workshops, conferences, and corporate events.
Notice the word “team” appears again. Four times. The company likes teams. A lot. They like teams so much that you should start to wonder why.
But at this point, you should ask yourself - is working on a team one of my strengths?
How would I sell that to an interviewer while providing my "why should we hire you" best answer?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know how other candidates sell their skills and accomplishments?
You can find this information by looking on LinkedIn for people who already work for the company.
You notice that the first three employees list their volunteer activities.You also notice it’s all team-based volunteer work.
Volunteer work is how current employees choose to show off their teamwork skills. You also see on the website that volunteerism is important for the company.
Here’s where you might want to come up with a unique approach.
Pinpoint a Unique Quality to Differentiate Yourself
Think back over your career.
Can you think of a success story that involved great results thanks to your teamwork skills?
That’s how you can differentiate yourself. You can also draw on relevant skills.
For example, your teamwork skills are fantastic because you have great communication skills. You developed these skills while participating in team building workshops.
Or your teamwork skills are fantastic because you speak two languages. Often, you’re asked to mediate conversations as a translator.
Regardless, you’ll want to highlight your skill set with a success story. Write down your success story using the STAR method.
The STAR method is a technique that will help you remember how to talk about your achievements. The method works for answering any common interview questions. But you should definitely use it for your why should we hire you answer.
Situation: Start by explaining the situation that led up to your success.
Task: Next, explain what you were expected to do to resolve the situation.
Action: Follow up with a description of the action you took in reality.
Result: Finish by explaining the results of your efforts. Illustrate the impact of these results by using numbers and facts where applicable.
Here’s an example of candidate’s teamwork success story using the STAR method.
Situation: I was asked to act as the lead Mechanical Engineer on an interdisciplinary design team.
Task: Our task was to draw up blueprints using BIM software for a LEED certified office building. My work involved coordinating with the architect to find energy saving solutions. The challenge was to balance design elements with the necessary technical elements. The end goal was to create an energy-efficient building.
Action: I spearheaded a coordinated approach to the project. I ran several energy simulations for the building. We then made changes as need arose until we balanced the plan. We then implemented other engineering elements one by one, taking a step-by-step approach.
Result:The result was that we presented a design that led to a Gold LEED rating. The initial concept was to aim for a Silver rating. The design also won a Best Office & Business Development award at MIPIM.
The answer above illustrates what it looks like when the candidate works on a team. The answer also draws on elements found in the job description.
The candidate has worked on a design team. She has experience with BIM software. She has experience with energy saving design and LEED certified buildings.
She tailored her why should we hire you answer to match the job description.
She also points out that her work led to a better LEED rating than expected. Not to mention the prestigious industry award. All proof that she adds extra value to team projects.
Pro Tip: Numbers are the best way to show added value. Did you ever cut costs or increase earnings? Try to come up with an example that has quantifiable results.
Not sure which of your achievements will work best? You can use examples from your resume. Read our guide: "Achievements to Put on a Resume - Complete Guide (+30 Examples)"
Find a Pain Point and Present a Solution
But let’s go back to our research for a moment.
Why would the company care so much about teams? The stress put on this particular skills indicates that it might have something to do with a pain point.
After a bit more research you notice that the company is quite small - only 200 employees. There are only two office locations. The company handles projects in local, surrounding areas.
What does that say about the company? It’s a close-knit company, and the employees must work together to deliver projects. They might want to expand.
They might have a difficult time finding the right talent and the right cultural fit. What you can do at this point is listen to the interviewer to see if any of these things might be true.
You can also turn the tables and ask them about it. At times, interviews can feel more like interrogations. This technique allows you to turn the interview into a conversation.
I noticed you only employ 200 people across two locations. Most of the projects you handle are local. Are you looking to expand on the market? Are the teams close-knit?
When you ask questions, you put the ball in the interviewer’s court. You’ve just given her the opportunity to talk about her paint points. Why should we hire you? Well, why are you looking for a Mechanical Engineer who can also work on a team?
Yes, we want our new building design team to grow so that we can branch out into one more market. To deliver multidisciplinary projects, it’s also necessary to build a team that can take a project from conception to delivery. Because we are a smaller, local provider, our teams are already small and used to working together. We want to make sure that whoever we hire will be a good fit. We could hire a lot of talented architects and engineers. But at the end of the day, it’s teamwork that gets our projects done.
Great! You’ve got the interviewer talking, and now you know exactly what she wants. Now, go back to your success story and use it to explain how you’re going to fix all these problems.
Pro Tip: Adding hobbies and interests to your resume is also a great way to break the ice during an interview and use some of the same research to your advantage.
If you didn't add hobbies to your resume, prepare a few that you can mention during the interview when the coversation becomes casual. Match them to the company's culture.
Not sure which hobbies to choose? It's the same as selecting hobbies for your resume. Read our guide: "+20 Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests to Put on a Resume (5 Tips)"
What Are the Best Answers for the “Why Should We Hire You?” Interview Question?
Now, it’s time to put your answer together, write it down, and rehearse it.
Here’s two "why should we hire you" example answers:
I have almost ten years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer. I spent the bulk of those years working in multidisciplinary groups. I’m often chosen to head up projects thanks to my excellent communication skills.
I’m most proud of the work I did on my former design team. Our task was to draw up blueprints using BIM software for a LEED certified office building. My work involved coordinating with the architect to find energy saving solutions. The challenge was to balance design elements with the necessary technical elements. The end goal was to create an energy-efficient building.
I spearheaded a coordinated approach to the project. I ran several energy simulations for the building. We then made changes as the need arose until we balanced the plan. We then implemented other engineering elements one by one, taking a step-by-step approach.
The result was that we presented a design that led to a Gold LEED rating. The initial concept was to aim for a Silver rating. The design also won a Best Office & Business Development award at MIPIM.
I noticed you only employ 200 people across two locations. Most of the projects you handle are local. Are you looking to expand on the market? Are the teams close-knit?
The answer is perfect. It has everything the candidate needs for a "why should we hire you" best answer.
The candidate has ten years of experience, excellent communication skills, and teamwork skills. Plus, the candidate has experience with design teams, LEED certification, and BIM software. She mentions almost everything from the job description.
The candidate decides to illustrate her teamwork skills in a unique way
Instead of talking about volunteer work, she discusses a successful project. The project she chooses is the same as the projects the company will want her to do for them. Then she highlights three areas of success and emphasizes that she worked on a team.
She asks a question at the end after providing a "why should we hire you" answer.
Have an idea of what the company’s pain point might be before turning the tables. That way you can use the discovery to offer solutions and make yourself invaluable.
The worst thing that can happen at this point is that the interviewer will explain how the teams operate. You will then have an idea of what it will look like to work there before you start.
I’m the best for the position because I’m the best at everything I do. Drive a car? I’m the best. I always hit all the green lights. Eat a french fry? I’m the best. I never run out of ketchup before my fries are gone. You feel me? Even if I find out later that I’m not qualified, I work hard and become the best. So, I’m going to work hard regardless of the situation, and that’s why you should hire me. Plus, I need this job, so you can count on the fact that I’m going to work hard.
Everyone thinks they are a hard worker.
But hiring managers aren’t looking for a warm body to fill a rolly-chair. They are looking for someone who is going to do the work right and stick around for awhile.
Pro Tip: Stick to success stories that show off the skills and achievements that are valuable for the job.
Once you ace your interview, what's next? You'll need to write a thank you email. Not sure how? Read our guide: “How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview (+10 Examples)”
BONUS: Struggling with job interview anxiety? We’ve got you covered. Download our FREE ultimate checklist Things You Need To Do Before, During, and After Your Big Interview and make sure you come out on top.
Like every part of the job search, tailoring your approach is the most important aspect.
The "why should we hire you" job interview question is a golden opportunity. Yes, it’s a silly, basic interview question that pits you against other candidates and demands you act like a peacock.
But it’s still an invitation to talk about your skills and achievements, and you should, by all means, take it.
Take the time to think about your answer beforehand, do the research, and rehearse. You can nail this common job interview question.
Still not sure how tell a hiring manager why they should hire you? We can help! Leave a comment so we can help you pinpoint why you're the best person for the job.
If there's one question that strikes fear into the hearts of interviewees everywhere, it is: "Why should we hire you?" Unfortunately, this also happens to be the one question which every employer needs an answer to.
Quite often your potential employer will address this question themselves by assessing your overall interview performance against a set of requirements. However, if an interviewer does ask you directly why they should pick you, you need to be able to impress. There are several simple tactics you can employ to ensure you do just that.
Refer to the job description
Read the job description thoroughly. Which skills and experiences are listed? Make a note of three or four of the employer's most prominent 'wants', ones you truly feel you can fulfil, and use these as the backbone of your answer.
Many job descriptions will list 'essential' and 'desirable' requirements. Keep the focus of your answer on demonstrating that you fulfil the 'desirables'; your interviewer will have already established that you meet the essential requirements before inviting you to the interview.
Focus on what you can do for the company, not what they can do for you
This question offers you a chance to pitch yourself as the solution to your employer's problems, so make sure you do this.
It's easy to get side-tracked and talk about why you want to work for the company, but this doesn't answer the question. Responses such as: "You should hire me because I really want this job" or "I've always wanted to work in marketing, so I feel like this is the ideal role for me" don't give your interviewer a reason for hiring you.
Be sure to identify how your own skillset will benefit your potential employer in a way they may not have experienced previously. Show them that by hiring you, they are gaining someone unique and innovative.
Never directly compare yourself to others
One mistake many candidates make when faced with the question: "Why should we hire you?" is to compare themselves to their competitors. It's not difficult to see why – the question does appear to ask you to make a comparison to others, but don't be fooled.
Realistically, you're not going to know the strengths and weaknesses of your peers. You can't claim that you're quicker, better and more intelligent than them – you may not be and the interviewer has the knowledge of other candidates to challenge these assumptions. Therefore, it's safest to steer clear of these 'qualifier' phrases altogether, and concentrate instead on talking about yourself.
Avoid clichéd language
Never say that you should get the job because you're "hard-working", "reliable" or "work well in a team". Anyone can say these things about themselves, and these uninspiring adjectives are usually the minimum traits an employer looks for when hiring a new candidate, rather than something to boast about.
Evidence your answer
As this is a question inviting you to promote yourself, there's a fine line between being perceived as confident or arrogant; providing tangible evidence to back-up each of your points will prevent you from veering dangerously towards the latter.
Claim that you're a "diligent, accomplished and confident candidate with a history of success" and likely you'll find that these empty words will fall on deaf ears. You must provide your interviewer with evidence to verify your skillset.
For instance, if you say that you should be hired because you're analytical you might say: "I think my highly analytical mind-set and ability to crunch numbers quickly makes me a great fit for your company. This is something that I've shown during A, B and C work experiences."
Follow a clear structure
All interview answers should follow a logical structure, and your response to this question should be no different. Rather than launching into a long-winded, meandering reply, keep your pitch simple, short and memorable.
Begin by laying out the points you're about to make. "I think you should hire me because of X, Y and Z". Next, evidence each of your points, as discussed earlier. Round off your answer with a strong and confident 'closer' such as: "Overall I think X, Y, and Z make me a great fit for both your role and your company."
Jenna Allcock is marketing executive at Give A Grad A Go
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