Ah, the dream question that every job hunter hopes they are thrown: “Why Should I Hire You?” Here’s why: this is your chance to really sell yourself and let them know that you are the perfect person for the job.
Because behind every interview is the fear that the interviewer will make a mistake and hire the wrong person, he has to make the case for why you won’t work out, involve human resources, begin the process again, throw the department into upheaval, lament the time and money wasted. You get the picture. So your job in the interview is to let him know that he won’t have to worry about any of those issues if he hires you!
The “Why should I hire you?” question is one you should think about in advance, and make sure you customize to each particular position. As you are practicing for the interview, keep the position criteria in mind, but also worry about fit.
A great way to craft your answer is to read through the job description, take each part of it separately and jot down a few words of why your skills set or expertise meets the criteria. So when you are posed this question, don’t waste time repeating your credentials, whether it’s your schooling, years of experience, mastery of certain computer languages, or other functional answers. What they want to know is how you will solve their problems and keep their team running smoothly.
This is where you should go back to anecdotes and stories that illustrate your expertise.
You might start the answer with, “I am so glad you asked, because I am positive that I am the perfect person for this position. I know that you are looking for someone who has (xx skill) and my work in the past clearly demonstrates my expertise in that area….” After sharing a story (we’ll give some examples below), you can go on to another key skill that is required. “It’s also clear that this position needs someone who is (xx trait), and my previous supervisor was always delighted that I (anecdote).”
Continue on as is appropriate, giving clear and concrete examples, pausing to make sure the interviewer is ready to hear more. You don’t want to monopolize the conversation, and yet you want to make sure that you are emphasizing the reasons that indeed make you the ideal candidate.
Examples of How to Answer the “Why Should I Hire You?” Question
“From our conversation today, it is clear that you need someone who is proactive at reaching out to customers to close sales. In my former position with Handy Services, I quickly saw that leads weren’t coming to me; I needed to go out and get them. I identified a lucrative niche of homeowners who lived in residential areas that were more than five years old. This segment was an ideal fit for the services we sold so I worked with my manager to obtain contact information and developed a lead generation program to target them. In addition, I marketed our services to real estate agents, whose clients could use our assistance as they got their homes ready for sale. These two brand-new programs generated a 40 percent increase in our sales.”
“It’s clear that this position needs someone who is able to juggle multiple priorities, and my work at Wallace Industries was the perfect training ground. Working in a small company you quickly learn that you need to rely on yourself to get many things done – and that other people are relying on you too. I was able to make myself invaluable by learning the proposal software and assisting the sales people with generating customized new business proposals. This was on top of my work handling phones, routing calls, keeping up with paying bills and sending invoices. Each week and day I was able to figure out what needed to be done and what the deadlines were, and orient my workday to ensure I hit all my targets. All that, and I often made coffee too! I now believe that I am ready for larger challenges, which is why I am interested in the managerial position at Direct Express. But my work ‘in the trenches’ shows that I can handle the priorities – both big and small — that make each day exciting and challenging.”
“I have heard you say today that your industry is growing exponentially, and I am just the person to help capture the additional market share that Axis is poised to reach. At my former position, I took a new software product and built out a sales team that was focused on reaching different subsets of the industry to really grow our sales. We customized our approach and marketing materials to ensure we were meeting the challenges of various industries, from building supply to healthcare. That is the kind of growth mindset that I believe your company needs to take advantage of this golden opportunity to establish and own the market. I would be delighted to help establish your company as the standard for this type of software.”
This question, which typically comes at the end of the interview, presents the perfect opportunity for you to underscore the skills and expertise you have been sharing throughout your discussion. By listening intently to cues your interviewer provides about what she is looking for in a candidate, you can customize the answer to hit the challenges she has mentioned and explain why you are the ideal person to solve those challenges and help the team move forward.
Make sure you are ready to hit this question head on and close strong!
by Cathie Ericson