How to Answer "Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?"

Image shows a woman in talking in an interview. Text reads:

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

During a job interview, the interviewer might ask you the question, “Why are you the best person for the job?” This is similar to other common interview questions, such as “Why should we hire you?” The interviewer wants to know why you would be a better option to hire than other candidates.

What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know

They also want to make sure you know what they are looking for in a job candidate, and that you have the ability to do the job if you were to be hired. One of the goals of the interview is to determine whether you are a good fit for both the role and the organization. On the flip side, you'll also need to decide if the job is a good match for what you're looking for in your next role.

When answering this kind of question, your objective is to sell yourself to the hiring manager and convince him or her that you are a unique and strong candidate. Read below for advice on preparing for and answering this interview question, as well as examples of the best responses.

How to Answer "Why Are You the Best Person?"

There are many ways you can answer this question. The first way is to explain how your personality or personal traits make you an ideal candidate. To do that, take the time before the interview to carefully match your qualifications to those listed in the job posting. Be prepared to explain why you're a solid match for the job.

For example, you might explain that you are particularly motivated, or that you are known for going above and beyond for your employers.

A second way to answer is to emphasize your unique skills. If you have skills that make you a strong candidate (especially if not many people have those skills), mention these. The skills the employer is seeking may also be listed in the job posting. If not, look at similar jobs to see what criteria employers are looking for.

Another option is to show the employer that what you have accomplished in your previous roles qualify you for this one. Share examples of your achievements that relate to the job for which you're interviewing.

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4 Ways to Answer: Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?

Examples of the Best Answers

Take a look at these possible answers and tailor them to your specific qualifications for the job, career background, and work experience:

My previous job working as a receptionist provided me with the ideal experience for this position. For five years, I developed many of the skills required for this job, including answering phones and email, processing payments, and entering data on multiple computer programs.

Why It Works: This response is effective because the candidate goes into specifics in listing the essential skillset she can bring to her new employer. Ideally, she has also emphasized these skills because she realized from reading the job posting that these talents were among the employer’s most “preferred qualifications.”

My skill set is a perfect match for the job requirements. In particular, my sales skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, at my last job, I managed a sales team of five employees, and we had the top sales record of our company branch. I can bring my successes and experiences to this job.

Why It Works: Not only does this interviewee mention his important skills, but he also alludes to his previous leadership responsibilities and his quantifiable success (a “top sales record”) in his previous job.

I have the ability to find my niche within a group and support everyone's efforts. For example, my last job involved a lot of team projects. I was always able to recognize my teammates’ skills, and delegated tasks that fit each person’s skills. I know this job involves lots of teamwork and group projects, and I know this is a work style in which I excel.

Why It Works: This is a great example of how to effectively use the STAR interview response technique, in which you structure your answer to describe a past situation, your task, your action, and the result. Here, the candidate uses this technique to also point out that she is aware of the employer’s company culture and focus on collaborative teamwork, showing how her own experience aligns with these priorities.

I am a self-motivated person who is willing to go above and beyond on any project, and to learn valuable skills on my own time. For example, I taught myself five computer programming languages in college, simply out of a passion to learn how to code. I know you are looking for a self-motivated computer technician with both skills and passion, and I am that person.

Why It Works: This job candidate showcases the broad skillset that many of his competitors for the position might not have: his knowledge of five computer programming languages. He is also able, in his response, to point out his personal initiative and enthusiasm for his work.

Tips for Answering

Prepare in advance. Before an interview, think carefully about what makes you an ideal candidate for the position. First, look at the job listing, and circle any key skills or qualifications. Then, look at your resume and note any particular experiences or skills that fit the job listing. Emphasize those qualifications in your answer to the question.

Give examples. It's important to be as specific as possible when answering this question. Whether you emphasize your skills or a personality trait, be sure to provide one or two specific examples that prove you have those qualities and how you will use them in the workplace.

Ideally, your examples will come from past experiences at work. If you’re new to the job market, you can also emphasize experiences from school, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work.

Focus on how you can help the company. Avoid answers that emphasize why you want the job. Instead, focus on how you can add value to the company. To prepare for this kind of answer, make sure you have some knowledge about the company ahead of time. Take the time to review the company's website, social media pages, and other information about the organization that's available online.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Even though the question is about how you compare to other candidates, don’t critique the other job seekers. This can come across as negative or rude.

Instead, emphasize what makes you unique in a positive manner, without attacking or insulting other candidates. It's important to sell your qualifications without being considered arrogant or overbearing.

Don’t say this: "Unlike some of the other candidates I’m sure you’ve seen today, I have experience in the field, which means that I can hit the ground running on day one."

Do say: "My years of experience in this field have given me on-the-job knowledge, as well as a sense of where the industry has been and where it’s going in the future. I have the kind of technical skills that only come from doing the job for several years. I can slide seamlessly into this role and start hitting goals on my very first day."

Possible Follow-Up Questions

Key Takeaways

RESEARCH THE COMPANY: Before your interview, write down a list of how your work skills match up with the “preferred” qualifications mentioned on the job posting. Then, in your answer, make sure you talk about these key skills, using examples when possible, to prove that you are the best person for the job.

BEWARE COMPARISONS: While it’s smart to highlight the skills that you believe set you apart from other candidates for the position, don’t throw shade on others. Keep your tone positive, and talk about what you yourself can offer the company rather than upon what they cannot.

FOCUS ON THE EMPLOYER’S NEEDS: In your answer, describe all of your hard and soft skills that would “add value” should the employer hire you. Don’t make your response about you (i.e. a plea as to why you really want the job).