Certain job interview questions are notorious for putting you on the spot in a way that can leave you tongue-tied if you’re not prepared.
There’s no better example of this than the question, “Why are you the best person for this job?” The sheer bluntness can catch you off guard if you haven’t already thought about your answer ahead of time.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a solid game plan for how to respond. (After all, “Why are you the best person for this job?” is essentially the core theme underlying every job interview.)
In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to nail your answer, including:
- Why interviewers ask this question
- How to prepare for this question
- The best way to answer this question
- An example of a great response
Let’s dive in…
Why Do Interviewers Ask, “Why Are You The Best Person For This Job?”
Before analyzing how to respond to this question, it’s helpful to first see the situation from the interviewer’s point of view.
When a company decides to bring on a new employee, there’s a lot at stake. Recruiting and onboarding a new hire takes a tremendous amount of time and resources. And, on top of that, if the employee doesn’t pan out, it can be very costly for the organization.
So, naturally, the interviewer is highly invested in selecting the best possible candidate. However, that’s not to say this question is entirely about you (the interviewee). The answer the interviewer is truly seeking is more multifaceted.
What Answer Are They Really Looking For?
When an interviewer asks, “Why are you the best person for this job?”, you’ll obviously need to sell yourself and your abilities. But there’s another critical piece that many candidates overlook: you need to demonstrate a clear understanding of the company’s current challenges and goals for that role.
Instead of a generic pitch about how skilled/qualified you are, what the interviewer really wants is an explanation of how your skills and traits align with the specific role they’re hiring for. So, remember, it’s a two-part question: “Why are you the best person for this job?”
How You Can Prepare for This Question
To prepare for this interview question, you’ll want to get in a healthy dose of R&R. And no, I’m not talking about Rest and Relaxation (wouldn’t that be nice!). I’m talking about Research and Rehearsal.
In order to tailor your answer to the specific role you’re applying for, you need to be well-versed on the company’s current goals and challenges. This will help you formulate an insightful response that resonates with the interviewer and describes why you’re the best fit.
Here are some of the best ways to perform research (in addition to carefully reviewing the job description and company website):
- Listen to the company’s earnings calls. If it’s a public company, simply Google [‘Company Name’ + ‘Earnings Call] or [‘Company Name’ + ‘Investor Relations’].
- Read recent news and analyst coverage. For publicly-traded companies, Seeking Alpha is a great resource for news updates and in-depth analysis.
- Search for recorded interviews with high-ranking employees. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position, search on Google/Youtube for [‘CMO’s Name’ + ‘Interview’] or [‘CMO’s Name’ + Podcast].
The goal of this research is to learn everything you possible can about the company. The more you understand, the easier it will be to tie your value into the company’s needs. When you’re researching, try to look for:
- The company’s current status (are they performing well or are they looking to right the ship?)
- Their goals for the next 6-12 months
- The initiatives they’re working on
- The challenges they’re facing
- The company’s culture and vision
By posting this role, the company is essentially saying, “we have a [problem/initiative] that we need help with and we’re willing to pay someone $XXX,XXX to help us solve for that.”
If you can understand and speak to that specific statement, you’re going to set yourself apart in the interview. But the only way to succeed here is by putting in the work and doing some thorough research.
We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect” — and it really is true. But most job seekers tend to overlook the amount of practice you need to truly be prepared.
As is true with anything in the job search, we want to go above and beyond with our prep. Here is the formula I used to practice my answer to “Why Are You The Best Person For This Job?”:
First, you’ll want to write down a rough draft of your answer.
This is just a starting point so don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Think of this as a brain dump where you transfer all of the information and ideas from your head onto paper. Once you’re done, close it out and leave it be for 24 hours so your brain can work on it in the background.
Once the rough draft is complete, spend the next 2-3 days rereading it and editing it to perfection. Think about the goals and the needs that the company has and which parts of your experience make you the best fit for the role.
You’ll win some major bonus points if you highlight the research you did and make your answer personal. For example, starting with something like, “In preparation for this role, I listened to 5 podcasts with [The Company’s CEO]. Those interviews made it clear that…”
When the interviewer knows that you went above and beyond before you stepped foot in the room (or on the Zoom), you’re starting off of a great note.
Finally, you’re going to want to record your delivery.
Research shows that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. Our facial expressions, posture, gestures, and body language actually account for most of our message – not our words.
If you don’t pay attention to this, you might think your message is “I’m the best person for this job!” but your body is really saying “I’m exhausted and just want to take a nap.”
For this final step of preparation, you’re going to want to fire up your webcam and record yourself delivering each answer. Treat this as if you’re in an actual interview. Then watch the recording to make sure your delivery is in line with your expectations.
Are you emphasizing the right points? Does your body language line up with your story? These things might sound small, but they can make or break your interview.
Now, upon reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, but how do I craft the perfect response?” And that’s exactly what we’ll be covering in the next section…
The Best Way to Answer “Why Are You the Best Person for This Job?”
As mentioned above, the key to answering this question is explaining how your unique skills and experience align with the specific role you’re applying for.
Avoid talking only about yourself in your response. You’ll definitely want to highlight your strengths — but, you’ll also want to make a case for why those strengths are an ideal match for the role/company.
Also, when presenting your strengths, it’s best to use concrete metrics and stories as tangible proof of your abilities (rather than simply claiming you’re good at something).
So, to summarize, here are the two main guiding principles to keep in mind when formulating your answer:
- Use concrete metrics, examples, and stories to showcase your strengths.
- Explain how those strengths are aligned with the challenges and requirements of the role.
Now that we’ve outlined the core principles to guide your response, let’s see them in action with a hypothetical example…
Example Of A Stellar Answer
Interviewer: “Why are you the best person for this job?”
Interviewee: “That’s a great question, thanks for asking. Based on what I’ve gathered from my research and the discussions I’ve had so far, it seems that what you’re really looking for right now is a creative marketer who can think outside the box to help take [Company] into its next phase of growth. And that is a challenge I feel very well-equipped to deliver on.
I have a strong track record of executing marketing strategies to drive growth. For example, one project at [Previous Employer] I’m particularly proud of was a large-scale micro-influencer campaign to tap into a new audience segment. I had to push hard to get executive buy-in, but the campaign was a big success, resulting in an 27% increase in our e-commerce revenue that month.
I also saw in a recent interview that (CMO) thinks customer-centricity needs to be at the forefront of modern marketing — and I couldn’t agree more. In my last role, I spearheaded a customer survey initiative that allowed us to increase user satisfaction by 31%. And I’m eager to bring that same customer-centric mindset into this role.”
Notice how, in this example, the candidate addresses what the company is looking for, then uses real-world examples to illustrate why they’re a great fit. And, by referencing an interview with the CMO, they score some bonus points by showing that they’ve really done their homework!
Preparing For Other Classic Interview Questions
In this article, we’ve outlined how to prepare for, craft, and ace your answer to “Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?” Following these steps will get you one step closer to nailing the interview — and ultimately landing the job offer!
But there are quite a few other classic job interview questions that you need to be ready for as well. If you’re preparing for an upcoming interview, be sure to check out my guides on “How to Ace Your Answer to “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” and “How to Ace Your Answer to “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”