Idea in short

Every interview question is an attempt to gather information towards a hiring decision. To get a job offer, you must be prepared with a concise summary of the top reasons to choose you. Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask one of these question in so many words, you should have an answer prepared and be looking for ways to communicate your top reasons throughout the interview process.

Congratulations! You have received your invitation for a personal interview. Your prospective employer is interested in your application and would now like to get to know you as a person. Often times, a job interview is associated with excitement. Here are some tips to successfully master the conversation and best answer the question, Why should we hire you? Don’t let this question trip you. The hiring manager is trying to find out why he / she should hire you over the others waiting to be interviewed. If there are a lot of candidates, this response could make or break your interview.

The typical interview process

Most recruiters follow a prescribed agenda and process during job interviews. After a relaxed start with some small talk, the interviewers usually introduce their company and role. Listen carefully and maintain eye contact. You could already ask questions at this point. This confirms your attention and interest to the interviewers.

The entire conversation during an interview is all about the way you articulate, present yourself, and handle specific situations. The hiring team wants to know their future colleague, and most importantly, whether you are the best choice to fill the vacancy. Therefore, they might ask very specific questions, such as Why should we hire you?

Best practice examples

You apply for a position, say as a Key Account Manager at Company X. In this role, you are responsible for building and developing client relationships. You can directly relate the requirements of this role to your own experience. For example, you could say that you were responsible for acquiring new customers at your last job and were able to successfully close a certain number of deals with a certain sales volume. This shows that you already have the qualifications required for the job. For example, a good response would be:

You have explained that you are looking for an experienced Key Account Manager who is able to effectively manage over a dozen accounts. In my 15 years of experience as a sales manager, I have developed strong sales and client-development skills. I was twice awarded sales-manager-of-the-year for my innovative sales strategies have consistently helped exceed sales quotas and surpass targets. If hired, I will apply my experience and sales strategies to achieve sales and profits in this position.

Young professionals

Career starters can also use this strategy. Say, you applied for a software developer role in an IT company. If you took programming courses during studies, you can demonstrate that you already satisfy the job requirements by highlighting your skills. For recruiters, this means less effort to train you. For example, a good response would be:

My experience with programming and, in particular, my ability to maintain and update websites, makes me a good match for this position. In my most recent position, I was responsible for maintaining our university’s website. This required me to update student and faculty profiles, and post information about upcoming events. In my free time, I learned to code in JavaScript and PHP. I then used my coding skills to revamp our homepage and received praise from our Dean for my initiative. I would love to bring my coding skills and my general passion for learning new technologies to this position.

Job description

Always match your own skills with the job requirements. Carefully read the job description and think of a 3-5 skills that make you uniquely qualified. While you cannot possibly know the qualifications of other applicants, you should state the things that make you the best fit for the job. For each qualification you’ve identified, think of a specific story where you used that qualification to achieve something. Think about any other skills you may have that would add extra value. Ultimately, this is your chance to tell the interviewer why you would be an invaluable employee and ultimately hire you.

Be authentic

Throughout the job interview, especially with such questions as Why we should hire you?, it is important to convince the other person. That means you should find common grounds with the interviewer. People tend to sympathise with those who are similar to them. If you want to resonate with the interviewer and signal similarity, you should adapt your outfit, your speech, your body language as well as align your messaging with the company’s culture.

Response

Don’t just respond with a generic answer like,

I’m smart, qualified and I want this job.

Of course, you do, or you wouldn’t be sitting in this interview. It’s almost certain that every other candidate is going to be saying nearly the same thing.

You need to be unique and differentiate yourself from the talent pool. Otherwise, you risk falling into the same category as everyone else! This is what you’re trying to avoid in the interview. While you don’t want to sound overconfident or as a show-off, now is the time to humblebrag about your skills and experiences. Carefully select 3 or 5 strengths that match the job requirements, and use these as the fulcrum for your answers to differentiate yourself as a compelling candidate. List the points that you want to emphasise in advance and prepare a few responses. Don’t memorise a script, but proper preparation will set you apart.

Summary

Don’t forget to think beyond the job description and consider which of your skills and accomplishments make you a better candidate than the competition. Despite your best attempts, you may receive a rejection. That does not mean that you did something wrong. In the vast majority of cases, especially during the job interviews, it may turn out that the chemistry between you and the interviewer did not work out. Do not be discouraged, but rather continue to look positively for the job.