Teen Job Interview Question: Why Should We Hire You?

Student interviews at job fair
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Here are sample answers for an important job interview question that almost every teen candidate receives from potential employers: "Why should we hire you?"

As you consider how you might best answer this question, it is good to know where your interviewers are “coming from.” Keep in mind that there are three primary intentions that employers have when they ask it:

  1. They want to see if you understand the expectations of the job you are applying for;
  2. They are trying to pinpoint how many of the basic skills you have that they are seeking in comparison to your competition for the position;
  3. They are assessing your emotional response to the question. Do you answer with confidence or are you flustered? Are you assertive or are you self-effacing?

When answering this question, be sure to think of the requirements for the job, and how your skills and experiences match those requirements. You also might want to emphasize your long-term interest in working for the organization. Finally, remember that this is your golden opportunity to “sell yourself” by explaining how your background and personal qualities can enhance their organization and meet their needs.

Before you don your interview clothes, sit down with a pen and paper and answer the following questions. Once you have done so, you will be able to pull the answers together to formulate your own tailored response to the question, “Why should we hire you?”

Pre-interview Practice Exercise

  1. When I am hired by [insert Employer’s name] for a position as a [insert type of job], my daily work responsibilities and tasks will include: __________________________.
  2. In order to do these tasks, I will need to be able to: [insert the physical, psychological, and emotional qualities that you feel would be important for someone doing the job. Examples: “Get along well with people,” “Meet deadlines,” “Show proactive empathy in forecasting a client’s needs,” “Stand on my feet for eight hours”]: _______________.
  3. For each of the qualities you listed under #2, write down an example of how you yourself have demonstrated this quality in the past. Example: “I demonstrated that I could get along well with people when I volunteered at our local soup kitchen last Thanksgiving.”
  4. I am confident that I can balance this job around my school responsibilities and other activities because: ____________________________________________________.
  5. I am excited about being trained by this company because I am eager to learn how to advance my skills in these areas [insert the job skills that you think you would be taught by the employer in order to do your job well]: ________________________________.
  6. An example of when I completed a difficult project by a deadline is: ______________.
  7. An example of my collaboration and teamwork is: _____________________________.
  8. An example of my dedication and commitment to any project I undertake is: ________.
  9. An example of my ability to show up on time every day is: ______________________.
  10. An example of an occasion where I worked late to get a job done is: _______________.

Suggested Answers

  • I am eager to be one of your best employees, and I hope to work for you for a long period of time. The experience I will gain here is invaluable and once the summer is over, I hope we can arrange a schedule that allows me to continue working throughout the school year.
  • I appreciate the investment your company is preparing to make in me, and I look forward to learning what your company can teach me, and how I can make an impact. My achievements in school and my after-school activities show that I am responsible, trustworthy, and a quick learner. I know that I can put these skills to good use working for you at your company.
  • The investment your company will be making in me will not be going to waste. I am already familiar with this market and feel training will not take the amount of time anticipated. I am ready to start as soon as you need me and I look forward to working with a team who shares the same goals as me.