“What makes you qualified for this position?”
This is one of those interview questions that seem obvious on the surface, after all, they have a list of your qualifications in front of them.
But there are a few layers to this question that need to be understood in order to compose an effective answer.
Variations Of This Question
Before we start, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different variations of this question so you don’t get caught off guard.
In particular, these are:
- Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?
- What makes you suited for this position?
- What relevant qualifications do you possess for this job?
- How are you qualified for this job?
- What skills do you have that are ideal for this job?
- What past experiences qualify you for this position?
- What have you done in the past that qualifies you for this job?
What The Interviewer Really Wants to Know
Despite having read your resume before the interview, interviewers and recruiters ask this question to gauge two things:
First, they want to see what skills, qualifications, experience, and even personality traits (yes, it covers all facets) are relevant to this specific role.
Second, they want to see that you’re confident in your ability to deliver on those facets. It’s one thing to write this stuff down in a resume, but verbalizing it in an interview with confidence is another entirely.
How To Answer: “Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Position?”
This answer has three main parts to it. Let’s explore them.
1. Read The Job Description
You need to know what the job entails before going into the interview room – so you can market yourself appropriately.
The way to do that is to carefully read and dissect the job description. Then read it again.
While you’re doing that, ask yourself:
- What kind of person are they looking for?
- What kind of qualifications and experience do they highlight?
- What traits do they appear to value most?
As you come up with answers to those questions, you’ll start to get a much clearer picture of what you need to project as a candidate.
2. Match Your Qualifications Or Experiences
Now that you have an idea of what the employer is looking for in terms of qualifications and experience, you’ll need to start connecting the dots.
What I mean is, find areas where the job description and your skills/experiences overlap so you can highlight them in response to this question.
For example, if the job ad mentions it’s a “customer-facing role”, perhaps your several years of experience working in the retail industry is worth a mention.
As another example, if the job description mentions “ability to work with spreadsheets and advanced formulas”, perhaps your software engineering degree can vouch for you.
To clarify, these don’t necessarily need to be 1:1 matches, just as long as there is a logical connection.
3. Throw In A Relevant Personality Trait
Finally, try to go beyond your resume. Reveal something particular about your personality that further qualifies you for the role.
For example, being a meticulous person by nature is helpful in an accounting or bookkeeping role, while being an avid goal-setter or natural talker might be helpful in a sales role.
The point is, you don’t have to feel limited by qualifications.
If you can show a link between your personality traits and your ability to perform well on the job (and help the company as a result), you’ll always come across as a desirable candidate.
Putting It All Together (Example Answers)
Here are some sample answers using the 3-part approach we covered above:
Example #1: Retail Associate
“Even though I’m new to this type of work, the job listing mentioned previous work in customer relations being an asset. I feel I have strong customer service skills from doing 2 years of volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity.
I realized how much I enjoy helping others, and I believe this skill would translate well to a retail environment. Providing top-notch customer service to customers will not only make their day, but mine as well.“
Example #2: Managerial Position
“This position requires someone who knows how to lead. Not only have I worked for 4 years in an assistant manager role, but by working closely with my manager, we led our team to be one of the top 5 banks in the country for the past years.
This couldn’t have been accomplished without keeping everyone motivated and working on the same page. I’m a very determined person, and when tasked with a job I make sure I do it to the best of my ability.”
Example #3: Social Media Manager
“I have a lot of experience working with social media, as I was in charge of my last company’s social media accounts.
Even though I wasn’t originally hired for the position, I’ve always recognized the potential to reach a larger audience through social media.
By positioning the company properly, our online sales shot up 71% in the 3 years I was taking care of its social presence.
I’d bring the same focus and goal-driven work ethic to this role to help bring in more customers and expand the company’s global reach.”
How NOT To Answer
We’ve talked about the right things to do, but it’s worth mentioning some of the mistakes people often make so you can avoid them.
Skip The Obvious
Obvious answers won’t get you very far.
Not only do they serve to highlight your lack of creativity, but interviewers grow tired of hearing the same played-out responses every time.
For example, don’t say “I’m great with computers” if you’re interviewing for an IT position. Anyone applying for such a role should already have above-average computer skills – that’s just a given.
Dig a bit deeper and put some effort into your response.
Don’t Get Defensive
Some people get bent out of shape when they’re asked this question. They think, “who is this person to question my credentials!?”
Whatever you do, don’t take it personally. It’s not personal, it’s business.
Not only do these companies have to invest time and money training you, but the person they hire has to be competent and reliable to help raise their bottom line.
The last thing they want is to invest resources in someone that won’t stick around in the long term.
For them, there’s a lot riding on bringing on a new hire, so they need to cover as many bases as possible before making their decision.
- Learn the different variations of this question
- Familiarize yourself with the most likely lead-up questions
- Read the full job description to fully understand what they’re looking for
- Find overlaps between the job ad and your qualifications/experiences
- Mention a relevant personality trait that gives you an edge in this role