“Why should we hire you?” is one of the most common interview question employers, recruiters and hiring managers ask job seekers. Although this interview question always seems to pop up, it often feels like a bomb dropped on unsuspecting or unprepared candidates, even the most experienced ones. When we think about it, the interview question basically boils down to the main reason both parties are sitting in the same room in the first place.
In answering the moment-of-truth question, you basically have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone:
• Sell your own uniqueness, skill set and experience;
• Match your strengths and assets to company-specific reasons as to why you fit in.
The Mason Group partner Jeffrey Horowitz gives his perspective on the matter. “As a reply to the “Why should we hire you?” interview question, I would like a candidate to explain to his potential employer the ways in which he intends to make the company’s operations smoother, his boss’ life easier, while being prepared to give concrete examples as to how he would achieve that.”
Here are a few tips and strategies to ace the “Why should we hire you?” interview question.
1. Let Your Uniqueness Shine
If you’re applying for a senior accountant position, chances are other considered candidates are CPAs like you, with similar job experiences and education. Highlight what makes you stand out from the competition and emphasize your unique set of skills:
- If you’ve worked major international cities and speak several languages, talk about that.
- If you’ve double-majored in computer science and accounting, flaunt it.
- Have you helped launch successful start-ups in the past? Given lectures or published articles in your field of expertise?
This is not the time to be modest, but don’t oversell yourself either. Find your balance that will show your interviewer just how special you are. These are the unique assets and achievements worth mentioning. They lead the interviewer into seeing what the company would be missing out on by not hiring you.
2. Shy Away from Laundry-Listing Your Credentials
Listing your education and work experience credentials is what resumes are for! The interviewer across the table has not only read your resume beforehand, he’s highlighted excerpts as reminders of questions he’d like to ask and has a hard copy in hand to doodle notes on. Instead of going through your list of credentials in a pointless manner, “name-drop” previous employers or job titles only to give tangible examples of the assets you have to provide.
A statement such as: “It was in working for Merrill Lynch that I developed my managing skills, leading a team of expert financial advisors…” is way more effective than one like “I worked for Merrill Lynch for 5 years and managed a team of leading financial advisors.” In other words, it’s all about the wording!
Related: Writing a Resume
3. Make Your Answer Company-Specific
Make your pitch relevant to the company you are interested in joining. Understanding a company’s business’ ins and outs as well as researching the company’s values, history and mission statement will give you a better sense of how you fit in. Review the company’s culture and think about how its values match your own set of values and ways of life. Draw parallels between the company’s DNA and your inner strengths.
If you’re driven and are inspired by the blooming industry the company operates in, make that clear! Displaying a deep knowledge of the company’s actions, its history, its current initiatives and its latest achievements are very effective ways to show you’ve taken the time to ask yourself how you would fit it. It also demonstrates your confidence in your ability to fit into the pre-existing company dynamic, showing that you are prepared and focused for the interview at hand.
4. Project Yourself in the Position You Are Applying For
Pinpointing relevant past experiences plays the important role of putting the interviewer at ease, instilling confidence of your abilities. That said, don’t dwell on the past and make sure to talk about how you would go about doing your job for the company once hired.
One effective way of doing this is to open the conversation on a certain issue the company is facing. You may then suggest solutions you would look into. You may also talk about ways you see yourself contributing to a current company endeavour that appeals to your strengths and interests.
The goal here is to help your interviewers visualize you as a future employee, a team player focused and driven to achieve the corporate objectives set forward.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Prepare yourself for the “Why should we hire you?” interview question by actually rehearsing versions of your answer and bullet-listing all the elements you should make sure to include:
- Visualize the interview and picture yourself confidently sitting across the table, voicing out thought-out, smart and concise answers.
- Envision yourself impressing the interviewer with your positivity, confidence and overall knowledge of the company and the role you are applying to.
- Remind yourself you are the candidate they are looking for.
This will shine through in the “How you sell yourself” aspect of the interview and make mountains of differences between an aced interview that lands you the job and a failed practice run for another opportunity to come.
Related: Sample Interview Questions