Of all the questions that are commonly asked in job interviews, one of them stands out as being particularly blunt and direct: “Why should we hire you?” It certainly cuts right to the chase, doesn’t it?
This question (along with “Why are you the best person for this job?”) belongs to a special category of ‘meta’ interview questions, as it expresses the most fundamental, underlying theme of any job interview. In other words, “Why should we hire you?” is essentially the whole purpose of the interview condensed into a single phrase.
So, needless to say, it’s a crucial moment — and one that you need to be prepared for. Now, it’s perfectly natural to be a bit intimidated by this question — especially in light of what I just described above. But, not to worry! In this post, I’ll be breaking down this topic from multiple angles to help guide you toward a stellar response to “Why should we hire you?”
- Why interviewers ask “why should we hire you?”
- How you can prepare for this question
- The best way to answer “why should we hire you?”
- What to avoid saying
- Example answers to “why should we hire you?”
Let’s get started!
Why Do Interviewers Ask “Why Should We Hire You?”
As mentioned above, this is a ‘meta’ interview question that essentially sums up the overall goal of the interview. Other questions, like “What is your greatest strength?” are more granular assessments that help the interviewer answer the question of whether to hire you for themselves.
But, when an interviewer asks, “Why should we hire you?” they’re giving you an opportunity to get straight to the point and directly address the main question that’s in the back of every hiring manager’s mind.
What Answer Are They Really Looking For?
To understand what the interviewer is truly seeking by asking this question, you can paraphrase it as follows: “What makes you the leading candidate for this role among all the other applicants?”
Consider this: to get to an in-person interview, you’ve already made it past the initial applicant screening process. So, you’ve already established that you’re qualified for the position on a basic level. For that reason, you should avoid reciting the bullet points on your resume when answering this question. Instead, you need to go beyond your basic qualifications to explain why you’re more than just a good candidate — you’re the best person for the job.
How Can You Prepare For This Question?
When searching for a new job, interview preparation is crucial. And effective interview preparation necessarily involves three core activities (among other things):
- Carefully reviewing the job description
- Performing research on the company
- Practicing your responses
In the context of this specific question, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of the position (and what they’re looking for in a candidate) to tailor your response accordingly. So, you can begin by carefully combing through every line of the job description to glean as much information as possible.
Next, you’ll want to expand your perspective by researching the company’s current initiatives. Check out the company website/blog and scan google for news articles and press releases. If it’s a public company, you can look for analyst articles on Seeking Alpha and review their quarterly earnings call transcripts for even deep insights.
You can also leverage LinkedIn to identify influential employees (e.g. the CEO). Once you’ve pinpointed some key figures, try searching for their name on Google, YouTube, and Twitter to see what they’ve been talking about lately. Keep an eye out for any interviews or podcasts they’ve done. Incorporating notes from this research into your response will show you’ve gone the extra mile and really done your homework.
After you’ve done your research, the final step is to craft a thoughtful response and then practice your delivery until it becomes natural and fluid. And on that note, let’s discuss how to formulate your answer…
The Best Way To Answer This Question
To tackle the question, “Why should we hire you?” you can use the following 3-step framework to guide your reply:
#1: Emphasize key strengths that are aligned with the job description. Start by calling out important traits/skills that were mentioned either in the job posting or during your initial phone interview with the recruiter. Then, explain how you fit this description by bringing up the core strengths you possess. And, when doing this…
#2: Reference specific examples to demonstrate your abilities. In job interviews, it’s always better to ‘Show Not Tell.’ Meaning, you should strive to use concrete examples from your past to highlight your competencies (rather than simply claiming you’re good at something). The best examples will be those that involve tangible metrics (e.g. increased sales by 27%).
#3: Relate to a company goal/values you came across during your research. This third step is where you’ll go above-and-beyond to stand out from the other candidates. Thinking back to your research phase (above), touch on one of the company’s goals or values and explain how you’re personally aligned with that goal/value. You can think of this as the ‘cherry on top’ to really drive your answer home.
What To Avoid Saying
Now, let’s briefly talk about what NOT to say when responding to this question. Here are some common mistakes to be wary of:
- Give a cookie-cutter answer that’s not tailored to the company/role.
- Reference the salary and/or perks as one of your motivations for working there.
- Be overly modest or speak with a lack of conviction (e.g. “I think…”).
- Brag or sound arrogant (you do need to be confident, but don’t go overboard).
Examples Of How To Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”
With the above in mind, let’s now see these concepts in action with some hypothetical example answers.
‘Why Should We Hire You’ Answer #1 – Sales Pro
“I understand you’re looking for a seasoned sales professional who can not only close deals but also serve as a trusted consultant, advising clients and prospects on highly technical matters related to your product suite. And I feel I’m perfectly suited to that task.
In my last role at Mammoth Technologies, in addition to exceeding my sales quota for 15 consecutive months, I also doubled as an implementation manager, helping to guide new clients through technical integrations. So, I’m very comfortable wearing those two hats simultaneously. Also, I know that (CEO) is a firm proponent of cross-team collaboration, and I wholeheartedly agree. I used to organize interdepartmental lunch-and-learns and Mammoth, and I’d be thrilled to bring that same team mentality into this role at (Company).”
‘Why Should We Hire You’ Answer #2 – Marketing Manager
“From what I’ve gathered, it seems that one of the most important qualities you’re looking for in a Marketing Manager is the ability to think outside the box to uncover new strategies to drive growth. And I take pride in my ability to do just that. In my last role at Mercury Systems, I spearheaded 3 new marketing initiatives in a 9-month period that collectively boosted revenue by 34% and drove a 25% increase in user sign-ups year-over-year.
Furthermore, I also know that diversity is a core value at (Company), and that’s a topic I feel very strongly about. So, not only do I feel well-equipped for this role, but I also feel aligned with the company culture you’ve created here — which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity.”
Other Classic Job Interview Questions
With the above guidelines, you now have the tools to ace your response to “Why should we hire you?” And nailing this question will bring you one step closer to ultimately receiving an offer! That being said, there are other standard interview questions that you also need to be ready for. So, if you have an upcoming job interview, be sure to review the following articles:
- How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Work Here?”
- How To Answer “Why Are You Looking For A New Job?”
- How To Answer “Tell Me About Yourself?”
- How To Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”