“Why should we hire you?”
This opinion-based question comes up very frequently in interviews. If you have a good idea of what the role will entail and what type of character traits they’re looking for, it shouldn’t be difficult to answer.
In this article, you’ll learn how to approach the question for the highest chance of getting the job.
Variations of This Question
Your interviewer might ask the question in a variety of ways, but all of these essentially mean the same thing:
- What characteristics make you a good fit for the position?
- Why are you the best candidate?
- Why are you the right person for the job?
- What makes you qualified for this role?
- What makes you better than the other applicants?
- Why are you the strongest applicant?
What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know
Your interviewer wants to see if you believe you deserve the role. They want to see confidence and conviction.
Interviewers know you’re the best judge of your own abilities. If you’re confident you can succeed at the job, you probably can. They don’t want to waste time hiring someone who doesn’t think they can handle it.
They also want to know if you’re qualified for the role. Did you research what the role will entail, and are you able to make the relevant connections to your resume?
If you’re truly interested in the role, you’ll have researched it and weighed up your qualifications. They want to hire someone who’s well-equipped, as this will cut down on training time and save money on rehiring.
How to Answer: “Why Should We Hire You?”
We broke this down into a 3-step process, allowing you to follow along as you build on your answer.
Let’s take it from the top:
1. Tell Them What They’re Looking For
Start by talking about the traits, qualifications, experience, skills, or achievements they’re seeking.
This not only shows you understand what’s required to fill the role, but it also signals you have the resume to match. Confidence often implies competence, and that certainly rings true here.
The job listing is your friend. Prior to your job interview, read it over and make a note of all the traits, skills, achievements, and anything that screams importance.
From there, you’ll need to pick out parts that relate to you and communicate them to your interviewer, such as:
- Patience for working with the public
- Good attention to detail for keeping track of finances
- Technical expertise for working with specialized machinery
- 10 years of experience in the field for a managerial role
- A bachelor’s degree in marketing for a job in SEO
Here’s an example:
“In your job description, I see you’re looking for someone who’s worked with children for at least five years. The nature of the job also requires a high degree of patience and the ability to work flexible hours. Good communication skills are essential when talking to parents, as well.”
2. Explain Why That Description Fits You
Once you’ve laid out what the employer is looking for, it’s time to connect the dots by relating it back to yourself.
Remember, the interviewer wants to see confidence backed by facts. Knowing what they’re looking for in a candidate is one thing, proving you fit the criteria is another thing entirely.
How do you prove it?
Focus on providing relevant, verifiable information to supplement the parts of the job description you pointed out earlier, including things like experience, education, achievements, and references.
If you pointed out specific character traits, try to include examples of when you demonstrated these traits in your personal or professional life. An anecdote will often do the trick.
For instance, you could talk about:
- A time you managed a hectic situation to demonstrate the ability to remain calm.
- Your system for double-checking the accuracy of numbers to demonstrate your attention to detail.
- A reference who can speak to your punctuality and willingness to fill in where needed.
Here’s an example:
“I’ve worked a preschool for the past six years. I provided the headteacher as a reference who I’m sure will confirm that I always arrived early or stayed late whenever it was needed. Coincidentally, I have also handled parent phone calls which often require a high degree of patience and understanding.”
3. Express Your Interest in the Opportunity
Finally, let them know how much you want the job by showing how passionate you are about the role or industry.
Interviewers give preference to candidates who show a genuine interest in the opportunity because they typically work harder, stay longer, and are more likely to succeed.
So take a few seconds to discuss what excites you about the role, whether it’s the industry in general, the company in particular, or the people you’ll be working with.
Don’t overthink this part, just speak from the heart. A general expression of your excitement will be enough to tick the box.
Here’s an example:
“I wanted to work with children my whole life and I’ve loved every minute of my role at the preschool. I’m excited about the possibility of moving up into a headteacher position and making better use of my skills.”
Putting It All Together (Example Answers)
Ready for some sample answers? The following three examples all follow the 3-step structure we just laid out.
Example #1: Personality Trait
“I can tell you’re looking for someone with compassion and patience to work in your long-term care facility. I understand that working with the residents might be trying at times so it’s important to show them respect even when it’s difficult to remain patient.
I was the main caretaker for my grandparents when they could no longer live alone. I learned how to help them by being compassionate and loving even when they had difficult behaviors. One of my references is their nurse, who I helped when she came in to care for my grandfather after surgery.
I love working with the geriatric population; they have so much wisdom and amazing stories to tell. I know this job would be a great fit for me.”
Example #2: Education and Experience
“I see in your job description that your ideal applicant will have a degree in finance or business as well as five years of experience. This makes sense for a bank branch manager role.
As you can see in my resume, I received my bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Ohio. Most recently, I worked in the loan department of a community bank for five years. I also worked for a national bank as a teller for two years directly after college.
Helping people achieve their financial goals is one of my passions. I feel like I really make a difference in this type of position, and I know I would be an excellent addition to your team.”
Example #3: Skills
“I understand your company is seeking someone who is able to lay tile floors that are straight and smooth. Since not every building will have smooth concrete, it takes a level of technical expertise to manage this on a consistent basis.
I’ve been in the industry for over a decade, and I’ve worked with my fair share of wavy concrete pads. Here are some before and after photos of tile floors I’ve completed. As you can see, I’m able to ensure a level, smooth design no matter what.
I’m a perfectionist who has always enjoyed the challenge of laying a perfect commercial or residential floor, and seeing the standards you hold yourself to as a company is something I’m excited to be a part of.”
How NOT to Answer
That’s enough about what you should say in your answer, but what about some things you shouldn’t say?
Here are a few mistakes to avoid:
Don’t Talk About Why You Need the Job
Don’t focus on reasons like financial instability or your desire to leave your current employer.
The employer wants to know why they should hire you. If you use it as an opportunity to reel off your own problems, you’ll come across as desperate for any job rather than the right person for this job.
Instead, focus on what you can bring to the role, and how you being part of the workforce will benefit their company.
Don’t Express Self-Doubt
This is not the time to succumb to imposter syndrome and demonstrate that you aren’t sure if they should hire you.
Your interviewer wants to see confidence and conviction in your own abilities. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect an employer to believe in you?
So let the interviewer know why you’re qualified. Don’t be bashful out of a misguided attempt to be polite. Answer the question with the knowledge that you’re capable of performing the job duties.
Don’t Be Arrogant
While you always want to convey a sense of confidence and capability, you should avoid acting like you know everything.
The employer will need to train you to some degree no matter how much experience you have, so going in with an all-knowing attitude will only make you seem rigid and difficult to work with.
Instead, let your resume do most of the heavy lifting. This will give the interviewer the chance to decide if you’re a good fit without you insisting that you could do the job with your eyes closed.
- Learn how the question might be asked
- Describe one or more characteristics of the right candidate
- Demonstrate that you have those traits
- Show your appreciation for the opportunity
- Don’t make yourself look desperate (even if you are)
- Don’t avoid showing your strengths
- Don’t act like you know everything about the job