Why should we hire you? It seems so simple, so straightforward. Why does it somehow feel like a trick question?
In part, the question feels complicated because it’s so blatant. It cuts right through any chit-chat and gets right at the core reason for a job interview. It compresses the conversation to its basic essence.
As a result, it becomes a crucial question. How you answer it can make or break your interview. At the very least, it will set the tone for the rest of the discussion.
Even with this pressure, there’s no need to break out in a cold sweat or start breathing into a paper bag. It doesn’t have to induce panic. In fact, the question can offer an opportunity. Answering it allows you to give your most concentrated pitch. You get a chance to boil down your value into a single answer.
Understand What Employers Are Really Asking
To properly formulate your response, you have to put yourself in the minds of your interviewers. You need to anticipate the kind of information they’ll want to hear when they ask, “why should we hire you?”
At its core, employers are looking at three components simultaneously:
The Task at Hand: Employers want to make sure you can get the immediate job done competently and efficiently.
Finding a Team Player: They also need to know that you fit into their current structure and current culture. This involves maximizing team dynamics.
Hiring for the Future: Your interviewers are also gauging your long-range skills. They want to see if you have the ability to grow with the company. In other words, they want to see if you can add long-term value.
So, Why Should They Hire You?
Once you’ve thought about the kinds of information a potential employer wants to hear, you can craft your answer accordingly. Prepare an answer in advance. Practice it as well, so that you know you can hit the high points, even if you start to get nervous.
There’s no risk in wasting this effort. Even if the explicit question “why should we hire you?” doesn’t get asked, you’ll have the opportunity to use your answer in some form. The details you practice can be used in other contexts, or even as a closing pitch when the interview is winding down.
Here’s a checklist to keep in mind as you present your answer:
You Meet the Basic Qualifications
The first part of the answer should detail why you are able to perform the underlying requirements of the position. This is a crucial component. You aren’t getting hired if you can’t check this box. That said, this shouldn’t represent the main focus of your answer.
You need to go beyond the bare minimum qualifications if you want to be hired. After all, almost anyone reaching the interview stage will have these requirements covered. You need to establish your credentials, but then quickly move on to your real selling points.
You Are a Top Performer
Remember: interviews are a competition. It isn’t a binary choice for the company, picking you, or leaving the position open. If you can’t just be good enough…you have to be better than the other candidates.
Your answer should recognize this reality. Let the interviewers know that you can do the job better than anyone else. Back up this claim with specific evidence, accomplishments you’ve achieved, or successes you can point to.
You Bring Added Skills to the Job
The first two checkboxes here relate to your ability to fulfill the requirements of the position. However, companies don’t hire just to fill a particular role. They are also hiring individuals, people with skills, and personality traits that can contribute to the organization in a more holistic way.
You should show that you are more than just a collection of qualifications and accomplishments. You will bring other aspects to bear on your work as well. To make this point, focus on soft skills, things like communication, leadership, teamwork, and innovation.
You Have Long-Term Potential
Don’t frame your answer completely in the near term. True, your potential employer is hiring for a particular position. However, they are also looking at your long-term potential. Make sure to underline your growth prospects, and your desire to grow along with the company.
Answering the question “why should we hire you?” gets much easier when you’re a perfect fit for the opportunity. A strong recruiting partner, like Recruiting In Motion, can put you in this position. They will make sure you are put in situations where your skills represent a perfect match for the opportunity.