The purpose of a job interview is to help an employer assess whether or not you have the right skills and experience to assume a particular role within their organization. Throughout the interview, you may be asked about your long-term personal goals, how those goals align with the needs of the business, and how you would fit in with the culture of the company.
One of the most common questions asked today in interviews is: “Why should we hire you?” This question is simple, direct, and helps a business get to know you better without having to ask a wide range of specific questions. When you are asked this question, you are in control of how you answer it, and there are a few things you can do to craft a strong response.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how you should answer the question “Why Should We Hire You?”, and help you come up with a better answer than “Because I need a job!”
How to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”
This question has become so common in job interviews because it allows employers to hear about what unique value you can bring to their business. To put it another way, when you are asked this question, you are being asked about how you, specifically, can help the business achieve their goals. What makes you a good fit for the job?
So, how should you go about answering this question? Let’s break down a few top tips to help you respond gracefully to this question.
Tip #1: Prepare for this question in advance
The first step in answering this question should be taken before the interview even begins (so you’re on the right track by reading this article!).
You should spend time reading over the job posting for the position for which you have applied, and evaluate what parts of that posting resonate most with you. Which requirements do you think you can fill? What experience do you have which meets the “experience” listing in the job post?
By identifying similarities between that the employer is looking for and the skills you have, you’ll find it easier to identify the specific ways in which you can add value to a business if they choose to hire you.
In addition, you should also spend time researching the company’s goals and long-term mission. This will give you a better sense of what values matter most to the business, and will help you figure out whether and how those values align with your goals.
Tip #2: Focus on the employer’s needs
This question sounds like it is about you and your wants, but in actual fact it is about how you can help a business. Your goals are important, but an interviewer is asking you this question to learn more about how you can help them.
When you respond to this question, make sure that you talk specifically about how you can help the business.
For instance, if you have discovered that the business believes heavily in developer relations, you could talk about your experience building a developer community. Or if a business aspires to help a million people accomplish a certain task, you could talk about your experience in scaling a team.
You should try to link your experience, skills, and characteristics to the exact position for which you are applying, and make sure that you discuss all of the qualities that make you right for the position.
Tip #3: Use statistics to illustrate your accomplishments
Statistics are a great way to demonstrate your impact on a business.
Suppose you are applying for a web developer job. Being able to say that you helped speed up the website of your former employer by 25%, or being able to say that you have been responsible for building components for a site with over fifty thousand users, is a great way to set yourself apart from other people.
Numbers are good to mention because they are easy to understand, and allow you to clearly showcase how you have helped a business in the past.
Tip #4: Mention any unique traits or experience
It can also be helpful to mention any unique characteristics or experience you have which you think makes you more qualified for a job.
For instance, if you are applying for a job as a chef, you may want to say that, in addition to having culinary experience in a restaurant, you are also involved with a local initiative to help out a few food banks.
This fact, while not directly relevant to your professional experience, will help you better demonstrate your value to an employer, and sets you apart from other potential applicants.
Tip #5: Mention real examples
It can be tempting to use phrases such as “I would be a great fit for this position because I am organized” or “I am qualified for this position because I am self-motivated.” These are indeed positive character traits, but just talking about how you hold these traits is not enough — you need to show an employer that you have them.
In your interview, you should maintain a professional appearance, which will help you showcase some of your soft skills. You should also try to mention real examples of how you have used certain soft skills. So, if you say that you are self-motivated, you could mention an example of when you really needed to use those skills.
Tip #6: Tell a story
Your answers to this question should be brief, but that doesn’t mean you should recite a list of bullet points that you have memorized. Instead, consider what makes you qualified for a job, and craft a short story about what makes you a good fit.
First, discuss what you think the employer is looking for, then talk about how you have the skills and experience necessary to fill that need for the employer.
Example Answers to “Why Should We Hire You?”
Do you need a few examples to help you figure out how you can respond to this question? Great news: we’ve got you covered. Below we have written a few example answers to help you more effectively answer the question “Why should we hire you?”
Example #1: Administrative assistant
In this interview, you have highlighted how you are looking for an administrative assistant who has both technical skills and strong organizational skills. Given my experience as an administrative assistant with X, I believe I would be a good fit for the job.
I have experience communicating with professionals through both oral and written forms, and I am fluent in using a number of modern software programs such as Microsoft Excel, Gmail, and Airtable. I would be thrilled to bring my skills to this position.
This response works because it is simple, and draws on the fact that the candidate has experience using specific technologies such as Airtable and Excel.
Example #2: Front-end web developer
In my most recent job, I was tasked with making our website load quicker, and through my work I was able to improve loading and rendering times by 10%. I understand that you are looking for someone with knowledge of back-end technologies as well.
I have spent my free time learning Ruby on Rails over the last few months, which I believe would be useful in this role. I would love the opportunity to use my skills for this position.
This answer is effective because the candidate has briefly mentioned specific tools they have used, and they have given an example from their last job about how they used those tools to have a measurable impact on the business.
Example #3: Accountant
You mentioned in the job listing that you are looking for an accountant with experience producing complex balance sheets and income statements.
In my last job, I was responsible for writing our balance sheets and income statements. During this time, I came up with a way to reorganize our accounting practices to make it easier to collect the data needed to prepare these statements.
In addition, I also have experience using modern accounting tools such as Excel and QuickBooks, which I could use to help you more efficiently track your expenditures and outgoing expenses.
This example response works because the interviewee mentions one clear example of how they helped a business achieve their accounting goals, which is relevant to the needs of the company at which they are interviewing. The interviewee also mentions specific technologies which they have experience using, which allows them to better demonstrate their value.
The question “Why should we hire you?” may sound intimidating, and to an extent it is: you may be thinking “why should you hire me?”
But, if you spend some time in advance preparing for this question, you should have no trouble coming up with an effective response that articulates the value you can have on an organization.
The main point to remember is that this question is not about you and your goals, it’s about how you can add value to the business. Make sure you create clear links between your expertise and past experience, and the needs of the business.
Ultimately, this question gives you a chance to show why you are better than everyone else who may be applying for a job. Use this opportunity to showcase your skills, with reference to examples.