Many hiring managers will give you an opportunity to sell yourself by asking one of these questions:
- Why should we hire you (or a variant like “why should I hire you”)?
- Why would you be a good fit for this position?
- What makes you unique?
- Why are you the best person for this job?
- Explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job.
To close the deal on a job offer, you MUST be prepared with a concise summary of the top reasons to choose you. Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask one of these questions in so many words, you should be prepared to tell them about yourself and communicate your top reasons for why you are the best person for this job.
Why Do Hiring Managers Ask This Question?
The interviewer’s job is to hire the best person for the position. Most of the candidates that make it to the interview stage are qualified for the job. So merely having the qualifications won’t be enough to separate you from the crowd. Once you’ve been invited to the interview, it mostly comes down to a battle of who can sell themselves better.
Remember, every hire is a risk for the company. Your interviewer will also be taking a personal career risk in recommending a particular candidate to hire. If the candidate performs well, Mr. Interviewer looks brilliant and gets a pat on the back (and maybe a bigger annual bonus).
If the candidate turns out to be a dud (doesn’t perform well, doesn’t get along with the team, leaves the job prematurely, etc.), the interviewer looks like a dummy and his professional reputation suffers.
This is why “why should we hire you” is one of their favorite questions. With this question, your interviewer is asking you to sell him on you and your status as the best person for the position.
Your job is to convince him that:
- YOU can do the work and deliver exceptional results to the company
- YOU will fit in beautifully and be a great addition to the team
- YOU possess a combination of skills and experience that make you stand out
- Hiring YOU will make him look smart and make his life easier
The better you are at convincing (or selling yourself), the greater the chances that you will be the one to get the job. So, let’s get you packed up with proven “why should we hire you” answers.
Crafting the Perfect “Why Should We Hire You” Answer
This is your chance to “wow” them with your highlight reel. So let’s start from the beginning.
When preparing the ultimate answer for the “Why should we hire you” question your answer should summarize the top three (or four) best reasons to hire you.
Take a notepad and write down your most impressive strengths. Write 3-4 bullet points that include any combination of the following:
- Industry experience – this refers to the years you’ve spent in your industry, not the specific jobs you’ve held. For instance, the total amount of experience you’ve had in Education, Finance, Customer Service, or whatever your field is.
- Experience in performing certain tasks or duties – these could be tasks that normally wouldn’t fall in your role, but you have experience with. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, but also a trained photographer, you can offer your future employer custom photography as well as custom design, and that puts you above the competition.
- Technical skills – these are the “on-the-job” skills that are needed to be successful in your role. For instance, understanding how to diagnose an engine problem or using QuickBooks for accounting.
- Soft skills – soft skills are things like organization, conflict resolution, or communication skills. Be ready to give examples of how you’ve displayed these competencies in past jobs.
- Key accomplishments – big projects, new clients, creating systems, or just thorough, daily efficiency all count as accomplishments. What you’ve achieved in your past roles are the types of things that will help you stand out, so mention them.
- Awards/accolades – being awarded for your outstanding performance is a good indicator to future employers that you go above and beyond and do great work. You can build any special recognition you’ve received into your answer.
- Education/training – make note of any impressive education or training accomplishments, especially if you’ve made extra efforts to keep up on your industry-related skills and certifications.
Accomplishments and success stories are always good bets, especially if you can describe how a key accomplishment(a successful marketing campaign, for example) demonstrates a desired competency (creativity, results-orientation).
TIP: If this is your first job, you might find this question difficult to answer, especially since you are expected to build your case on previous work experience. Check out this article that we wrote just for you.
The best approach to this question is to focus on a combination of skills(s) and experience that you possess. If you can think of the skills that you have and your interview competition may be lacking, you might win the case pretty quickly.
For example, if you are applying for an IT role, you are probably aware that your competition will have a whole set of programming skills, but they often lack project management or team leadership skills. If you happen to have programming experience and these other skills, that is your gold mine. Write these skills down and make a powerful answer based on your complete set of competencies.
Or, if you are applying for a teacher position, you can put your focus on creative thinking and classroom innovation rather than just mentioning that you work well with children. (This is expected and obvious, after all, or you wouldn’t be in your profession.)
If you still need some extra help coming up with the best “why should we hire you” answer, keep reading. We will guide you through the whole process, step by step.
Step 1: Brainstorm
To get started, review the job description and write down every single skill you have that matches the skills asked for in the job description.
Once you are done with job description analysis, focus on your resume and ask yourself these questions:
- What are the most important qualifications for this position from the company’s perspective? Highlight these skills specifically.
- In which of these areas do I really shine?
First, go through the highlighted list and circle the ones that are your strongest skills. Then review the rest of the list, and circle the strengths that you are very good at, but aren’t on the highlighted list of company preferred skills. These are your secret weapon strengths that you can use to separate you from the other candidates.
- What are my most impressive accomplishments?
Focus on your most impressive accomplishments, instances where you showcased the skills that are highlighted and circled on your list.
- What makes me different from the typical candidate?
This is your opportunity to outshine your competition. What are your skills that are not mentioned in the job description but will highly benefit the employer?
Brainstorm and jot down everything that comes to mind. This will be the core of your perfect answer to the “why should we hire you” question, so be thorough and take your time.
Step 2: Structure Your Sales Pitch
Now that you have the core for your perfect answer, it is time to give it a body and make it beautiful.
Next, choose the 3-4 bullet points that make the strongest argument for you. Use those bullet points to structure your sales pitch.
You don’t want to write a script to memorize — simply capture the bullet points that you want to convey. Each bullet will describe the selling point with a brief explanation and/or example for context.
TIP: Keep it concise — you still want to keep your answer in the 1-2 minute range so you won’t be able to rattle off every skill and accomplishment on your resume.
This is your chance to demonstrate to them what you will bring to the position. However, you have to really think about what sets you apart from the competition and explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job.
Step 3: Practice
Once you feel pretty good about the points you want to make, it’s time to practice. Again, it’s not a good idea to memorize a script — you can end up sounding like a robot or feel more nervous because of pressure to remember specific wording.
The better approach is to capture your bullet points, study them, and then practice until you feel comfortable talking about them off the cuff. Your answer should come out a little bit different each time, but it should always cover the points that you want to make.
Remember: It’s also very important to come across as confident and enthusiastic when you deliver your pitch. Make them believe in you — your abilities and your commitment.
If you project confidence (even if you have to fake it a little), you’re more likely to make a strong impression. As for enthusiasm, keep in mind that true passion for the work required is a pretty compelling selling point.
Yes, experience and qualifications are important, but the right attitude can definitely give you an edge over those with similar professional backgrounds.
After many years of experience in recruiting and hiring, I’d rather hire someone who has a little less experience, but who is driven and motivated to learn and succeed.
You can practice in front of the mirror (or in front of a family member or a friend if you feel comfortable doing so), or you can use the interactive practice tool inside Big Interview to help you prepare.
With dozens of scenarios (and industries) covered, you can easily prepare for any potential atmosphere before going to your job interview.
Make your practice easier!
Prepare with Big Interview and our interactive practice tool! Choose from dozens of Practice Sets that set you up for success every time!
Still not sure if your answer is a good sales pitch? Don’t worry! We prepared a couple of example answers to help you nail it. Just keep reading.
“Why Should We Hire You?” Answer Examples
Here are a couple of answers you can use and adjust to your situation and specific job description:
Why should We Hire You Example #1: Project Manager
“Well, I have all of the skills and experience that you’re looking for and I’m confident that I would be a superstar in this project management role. It’s not just my background leading successful projects for top companies — or my people skills, which have helped me develop great relationships with developers, vendors, and senior managers alike. But I’m also passionate about this industry and I’m driven to deliver high-quality work.”
Why We Like It:
She has a lot of confidence and is able to concisely sum up how she meets the position’s top requirements (project management experience, relationship and team skills). This answer is a little bit general and could perhaps be further strengthened with examples (describing a successful project, naming one of those top companies, offering evidence of those great relationships).
However, assuming that the candidate has already discussed some specifics of her past roles, this answer does a good job of reiterating and emphasizing. She doesn’t make the interviewer put all of the pieces together on his own.
She does it for him and naturally does it with a very positive spin. We also really like the last line: What’s not to love about passion, drive, and high-quality work?
Why should We Hire You Example #2: Programmer / Developer
“Honestly, I almost feel like the job description was written with me in mind. I have the 6 years of programming experience you’re looking for, a track record of successful projects, and proven expertise in agile development processes. At the same time, I have developed my communication skills from working directly with senior managers, which means I am well prepared to work on high-profile, cross-department projects. I have the experience to start contributing from day one and I am truly excited about the prospect of getting started.”
Why We Like It:
This is another good approach to summing up key qualifications and demonstrating a great fit with the position requirements. In particular, this candidate is likely to win points with “the experience to start contributing from day one.” She won’t need much training or hand-holding and that’s attractive to any employer.
Why should We Hire You Example #3: New College Grad / Fresher
“I have the experience and the attitude to excel in this production assistant position. I have almost two years of television production experience — including two summers interning at The Ellen Show, where I was exposed to all aspects of TV production and worked so hard the first summer that they invited me back for a second summer and gave me more responsibilities. During my senior year at UC San Diego, I have been working part-time for a production company, where I have served in an assistant role but also recently had the chance to help edit several episodes. I have a reputation for getting things done — and with a smile on my face.
That’s because I love working in the television industry and am excited to learn and get experience in every way possible.”
Why We Like It:
This candidate has some nice internship and part-time experience, but he’s a new college grad and doesn’t have any full-time positions to talk about.
This answer highlights the experience that he does have (and the fact that he performed well — he was invited back to his internship and was given an opportunity to edit at his part-time job).
He also expresses his enthusiasm for the job and his strong work ethic. These qualities are important for an entry-level hire, who will likely be doing quite a bit of grunt work at first. Overall, it’s a great answer to the “why should we hire you?” interview question.
Common mistakes when answering the “Why Should We Hire You?” question
Ask any salesperson. It’s tough to close a deal in a buyer’s market. It’s the same thing in interviews – many candidates sabotage themselves with avoidable mistakes.
Answering Mistake #1: Lack of preparation
Don’t try to wing it. You should take the time to prepare your 3-4 bullet points and look for opportunities to customize for any new opportunity. Then, you must PRACTICE delivering your sales pitch until it feels comfortable.
This is best done out loud, either in front of a mirror or in front of someone you trust who won’t hesitate to point out areas you could improve.
And of course, Big Interview is specifically designed to quiz you on practice questions and give you the opportunity to record yourself answering as many times as you’d like.
You can even send your recordings to others for review to give you helpful feedback on your interview performance.
Answering Mistake #2: Modesty
This is not the time to be modest or self-deprecating. You must know how to answer what makes you unique. This will require some practice if you are naturally a bit modest.
You don’t have to be super-confident like the candidate in the video example above. You can use your own style. If you’re not comfortable making value statements about yourself (i.e. “I am the perfect candidate.”), you can stick to facts (“I have ten years of experience, got promoted, broke the sales record, won the award, delivered on time and on budget, received kudos from my manager/client, etc.”)
Another way to “sell” yourself with facts is to quote other people’s opinions. Quote your manger, “My manager told me that he’s never seen anyone with more advanced Excel skills.” You can also reference your general reputation: “I have a reputation for always closing the deal” or “I have a history of always completing my projects ahead of schedule.”
Answering Mistake #3: Being too general
Do your best to add some personality to your answer. Don’t simply rattle off the bullet points listed in the job description. Really think about what makes you unique and express it in your own voice.
Answering Mistake #4: Talking too much
Remember the law of answering interview questions: You should limit each answer to 1-2 minutes in length (not counting any follow-up questions or requests for additional detail).
If you try to walk through your entire resume when answering this question, the interviewer is likely to tune out.
Focus on your most compelling selling points. Keep in mind that you’ll be more believable if you focus on a few strengths and don’t try to claim that you are a master of every business skill imaginable.
What If They Don’t Ask Me?
“Why should we hire you” is a very effective interview question, but not every hiring manager realizes that. What if you prepare a beautiful pitch and they never ask you why you’re the best candidate?
You may have to look for an opportunity to share your thoughts on the subject. At a minimum, the process of preparing the answer will help to inform your response to other questions including:
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Tell us about your last job
- What are your greatest accomplishments?
Also, remember that a good salesperson always finds a way to deliver his pitch. One approach is to wait for an opening at the end of the interview — maybe after you have asked your questions and the interviewer asks if there is anything else on your mind. You could lead in with a transition like: “I just want to say that I’m very interested in the position and I think I would be a great asset in the role because…”
Before we close the topic, let’s quickly go over the most important takeaways from the article.
To really ace the “why should we hire you” question, you should always prepare in advance by focusing on your strongest skills and how they can benefit the company.
You can do this by:
- Researching the company. Understanding the company and their struggles can help you showcase how your skills can help them overcome the challenges they have.
- Evaluating the job description. The better you understand what the role is about, the better you will know how your skills fit.
- Write down your strengths (and weaknesses). Evaluate how your strengths can help them reach their goals and be prepared to speak about your weaknesses in a way that does not raise any red flags.
- Practicing your answer. Practice is the only thing that will build your confidence and make you better at interviewing, so don’t skip this step!
You have everything you need to build a powerful answer to the “why should we hire you” question and ace your interview. Good luck and start practicing!