Why Should We Hire You?
When a hiring manager asks you, “Why should we hire you?” they are really asking, “What makes you the best fit for this position?” Your answer to this question should be a concise “sales pitch” that explains what you have to offer the employer.
Remember that employers hire workers to solve a problem, whether it’s boosting sales or streamlining processes or building a brand. Your goal when making your pitch is to show that you’re the best person to solve that problem. The better you do that, the better your chances of landing the job.
How to Prepare
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the process. We’re going to start by matching your qualifications to the job requirements, brainstorming how these qualifications play out in real life, and then reviewing what makes you stand out as a candidate. Jot down notes as you go through each step. Then we’ll work to combine them into a concise answer.
You can find sample answers at the end of this article, but remember that it's important to tailor your answer not only to you as a unique candidate, but also to each job that you are applying for.
Start by Matching Your Qualifications to the Job Requirements
When you’re getting ready for the interview, take a moment to review the job description. Make a list of the requirements for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then, make a list of the qualities you have that fit those requirements.
Select five to seven of your strengths that correspond closely to the job requirements, and use these as the core for your answer regarding what distinguishes you as a candidate. If you’re unsure of where to start, review how to match your qualifications to a job.
Don’t forget to think beyond the job description and consider which of your skills and accomplishments make you a better candidate than the competition. For example, maybe you have an additional certification that makes you more knowledgeable about the company’s product than the typical salesperson. When you’re honing your pitch, remember to be positive and to reiterate your interest in the company and the position.
For example, here's a job posting; a list of a candidate’s relevant qualities, skills, and accomplishments; and a sample response describing why the company should hire the person.
Job Posting: Looking for an administrative coordinator for our small but growing tech startup. Requirements include 2-3 years of relevant experience (including website management and record maintenance), excellent interpersonal and communication skills, ability to work independently, and strong prioritizing skills.
List of Relevant Strengths:
- Strong communication skills (written, verbal, nonverbal)
- 3 years of experience in administration
- Experience using multiple content management systems
- Expert in multiple spreadsheet suites
Sample Answer: Based on what you’ve said and from the research I’ve done, your company is looking for an administrative assistant who is both strong in interpersonal skills and in tech skills. I believe my experience aligns well with that and makes me a great fit. I am an effective communicator who is skilled in giving oral presentations, speaking on the phone, and communicating via email. I am also fluent in a number of relevant software programs, including content management systems and spreadsheet suites.
I’d really love to bring my diverse skill set to your company.
Use Anecdotes to Illustrate Your Qualifications
You’ll make a much stronger case by “showing” vs. “telling.” For each qualification or strength that you’ve identified, think of a specific time where you used that trait to achieve something. Anyone can say, “I have strong communication skills,” but not everyone can tell a story about how they used those communication skills to negotiate a deal or mediate a conflict that threatened the success of a big project. In fact, your qualifications can come across as meaningless if you are not able to back them up with examples from your work experience.
Whenever you tell a story about how your skills and abilities play out at work, be sure to conclude with any positive outcomes that resulted from the actions you took. For example, here is a sample answer for the job posting listed above. This time, the interviewee includes an anecdote to illustrate their qualifications.
Sample Answer: Based on what you’ve said and from the research I’ve done, your company is looking for an administrative assistant who is strong in both interpersonal and communication skills. I believe my experience aligns well with that. I am skilled at communicating with diverse people across all platforms – phone, email, and in person. For example, when I was the administrative assistant for a college Chemistry department, our department organized a national conference. For the six months leading up to the conference, I was the point person for all of the conference participants and attendees.
This group included students, professors, administrators, and the general public. I answered hundreds of questions via the phone, email, and in person, addressing concerns ranging from lodging to technological issues. After this conference, I received a commendation from the head of the department for my calm and friendly demeanor in all communication related to the conference. I’d love to bring my communication skills to your company.
Focus on Your Uniqueness
The interviewer wants to know how you stand out among the other applicants. It’s important to focus on one or two qualities you possess that are different from what other interviewees might offer, or are more difficult to find in candidates generally.
For example, if you are especially experienced with a certain skill that the job requires, say so. Also, think about any other skills you may have that would add extra value, or any previous professional, personal or volunteer experiences that provide you with a unique perspective. Ultimately, this is your chance to tell the interviewer why you would be an invaluable employee.
For example, here is a sample answer for the job posting listed above. This time, the interview includes focuses on their uniqueness.
I would love to bring my coding skills and my general passion for learning new technologies to this position.
Keep Your Answer Concise (and Fluid)
You want your answer to be brief. Select one or two specific qualities from the list you created to emphasize in your “sales pitch.” If you aren’t sure how to decide which to include, take another look at the job description and use your analytical skills to determine which qualifications would add the greatest business value.
Then, take your qualification and a brief story that illustrates how you’ve effectively used it in a previous work experience. Now it’s time to craft your answer. Begin by discussing what you believe the employer is looking for, and then explain, using your qualification and your anecdote, how you fulfill that need.
While it’s important to practice this pitch for a fluid delivery, don’t go crazy trying to memorize it. Rather, have a general idea of what you’re going to say. You should also think of several additional versions that center around other qualifications that you have. It’s critical that you’re prepared to adapt to new information. For example, if an interviewer indicates that another quality or skill is more valuable to the organization, then you should be sure to work that into your response.
Once you’ve written up a few drafts, be sure to time your delivery! Your answer should be no more than one to two minutes long.
Best Answers to “Why Should We Hire You?”
Use these templates to construct your own answer to the interview question, “Why should we hire you?”
- Based on what you’ve said and from the research I’ve done, your company is looking for an employee who has [list top two qualifications/skills]. I believe my experience aligns well with that and makes me a great fit. I am [list your top two matching qualifications/skills]. I’ve exemplified this in the past when I [provide a brief real-life anecdote/example]. I believe I can add great value to this position, and I’d really love to continue to build upon my skills and grow with your company.
- I think that my experience in the [your field] industry and my ability to [mention a unique, work-related skill/ability you have] make me a good match for this position. In my recent position, I [explain how you used this skill/ability to achieve a positive outcome].
- Your company provides many services that I have had experience with, in a variety of capacities. [Offer a few specific examples.] I believe that my familiarity with the industry would make me a good fit for this position.
Check out these sample answers to the interview question, “Why should we hire you?” Use these to help inspire your own answer to the question. Be sure to tailor your answer to fit your particular experiences, and the specific job.
- You have explained that you are looking for a sales executive who is able to effectively manage over a dozen employees. In my 15 years of experience as a sales manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my leadership abilities and strategies for achieving profit gains to this position.
- I have top-notch administrative skills and I believe I'd be an asset to the office. My skill set seems to be a perfect match for what you're looking for. In addition, I enjoy working with people and would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your team.
- You describe in the job listing that you are looking for a special education assistant teacher with an abundance of patience and compassion. Having served as a tutor at a summer school for dyslexic children for the past two years, I have developed my ability to be extremely patient while still achieving academic gains with my students. My experience teaching phonics to children ages 6 to 18 has taught me strategies for working with children of all ages and abilities, always with a smile. My previous employer often placed me with the students with the most severe learning disabilities because of my history of success. I will bring not only experience but patience and creative problem-solving to this position.
Stay On Your Toes!
A related question is "Why shouldn't we hire you?" Be prepared to answer that as well. Avoid falling into the trap of humble-bragging about your best traits: “You shouldn’t hire me if you don’t want someone who crushes her numbers each and every quarter! ” for example. Instead, answer honestly and thoughtfully.
For example, you might mention a quality that’s an asset in some jobs but not in others. For example, “You shouldn’t hire me if an extrovert would be a bad fit for your team. I value teamwork and relationships, and do my best work in a collaborative environment.”
Asked well, this question can provide you with information about the corporate culture that will help you decide if you want the job, which is just as important as persuading the hiring manager that you’re the best person for the role.