“Why should we hire you?”
Since this question only ever comes up in an interview, and an interview is ALL ABOUT telling someone the reasons that they should hire you, you might think the question is a bit superfluous.
You’d be exactly right.
In fact, it’s kind of a dumb question, when you really think about it.
But dumb or not, it’s still one of the more popular interview questions out there, and at some point or another you’re going to have to come up with an answer to it.
Given how much of an obvious trap this question is, it can sometimes be tough to actually sit down and come up with what feels like a good answer to it.
When a potential employer asks you why they should hire you, the question can be a little tough to answer.
After all, they’re not just asking what’s so great about you personally — they’re asking what makes you better than everyone else they’re also looking to hire.
That’s not really a fair question to ask you for several reasons, but the biggest one is this:
You have no idea who these other people even are.
So why should you be expected to know what makes you better than they are?
Frankly, you shouldn’t be — and this is the kind of question that most serious job interviewers won’t even bother asking for this precise reason.
But if you’re unlucky and your hiring manager makes the mistake of asking you this question, you’re still expected to answer it.
So how do you construct an answer that makes you stand out in comparison to other candidates that you’ve never seen before?
This is your big chance to shine.
The trick, in a nutshell, is to find your unique angle.
Let’s say you have the exact same work experience, education, and background as another candidate — in that case, your answer to a question such as “why should we hire you?” might be all that differentiates you from the pack.
So what unique angle can you take on your own life and experience that might give you the edge you need in an interview?
Here are a few angles you can use to approach this question:
Start with the basic qualities and qualifications that you have, and that you know that most other applicants will have — then start thinking about some of the big advantages you have outside of these qualifications.
While you might not want to prepare a literal script, it’s okay to have a few notecards.
Here’s an example of your answer for the following job description with our highlights of things we are going to need to cover:
“I’ve been part of projects that process databases with millions of rows of data and I’ve been able to glean valuable insights where others have missed it. For example, we saw that people people that gives us their email instead of Facebook connect are 30% more likely to come back to the site.
I presented this data to the management team in a clear visualization of users returning over time and suggested we make the email sign up more visible which increased the life time value of users.
I believe I can deliver this same kind of insight to drive value here.”
We know it’s not easy coming up with answers on your own.
So for those looking to get a little more serious about prepping for this question, here are some example answers that you can use to help form your own.
Example answers to the question “Why should we hire you?”:
What you’re striving for with your answer in this one is uniqueness.
You need to stand out, so the urge to do or say something memorable can be extremely strong.
But you want to be careful about exactly how it is you go about being memorable — don’t make a fool of yourself trying to be too silly or cute with your answer, or you might find yourself over-correcting.
Be confident, but don’t be an ass.
This is the question where you talk about what makes you valuable as an employee, and it’s hard to discuss your value without seeming at least a little confident in your appraisal.
And above all, stick to your script, unless the hiring manager asks you specific questions. It’s okay to take little detours now and then in order to help them satisfy their curiosity about you.
And if at all possible, try not to yell the words “I’M DIFFERENT” at the hiring manager, no matter how much you want to.