The question “why should we hire you?” frequently comes up during job interviews. The manner in which you answer will often determine whether or not you’ll get the position, so below are some tips for answering it like a pro job seeker.

Why is This Question So Important to Interviewers?

The primary job of a hiring manager is to determine if you’re the right individual for the job. The majority of candidates they interview have already been pre-qualified, which means that just having the basic qualifications isn’t enough. The purpose of the interview and the question featured in this expose’ in particular is to ascertain which candidate is the best. 

People often forget that employers take a risk every time they hire new staff. The hiring manager could actually be held liable if they recommend someone that turns out to be a dud, which means their career is determined by their ability to consistently pick the right people. This is why they raise the question of why the company should hire you. It might sound blunt, but is designed to put you in a position where you have to sell yourself. Many experts consider it the most critical question that is asked during the interview process, because even if you answered all the previous questions correctly, if you get this one wrong it could jeopardize everything. 

You Must Prepare in Advance

This is not a question you want to answer haphazardly. The answer should include 3 or 4 reasons that you’re the right person for the job. To determine what they are, take a notepad and jot down your greatest strengths. These strengths should cover things such as:

  • Accolades and awards: Highlighting an accolade you previously received for excellent performance is one of the best ways to separate yourself from the other candidates. It also conveys to hiring managers that you’ll go above the norm to perform truly outstanding work.
  • Industry experience: Talk about the number of years you’ve dedicated to the industry. The longer you’ve done a particular task, the more impressive it will be, especially if you’re versatile and can perform multiple functions. 
  • Technical knowledge: This consists of on the job proficiency which is needed to perform a certain role. It should be specific to the company you’re seeking employment with. Ideally, you want to demonstrate technical knowledge that few people possess. 
  • Academic credentials: Your academic credentials are extremely important. It demonstrates that you can stick to an area of study until completion and if you graduated at or near the top of your class (especially from an Ivy League Institution) you definitely want to highlight this, as it shows you’re on a level above your peers.
  • Soft knowledge: Having prestigious academic and technical skills are great, but a lot of companies are also looking for candidates that have soft skills, such as being able to resolve conflicts, negotiate and communicate effectively as well as remain organized. You don’t want to come across as the stereotypical nerd that has tremendous technical know-how but lacks basic social graces. 

Be Sure to Research the Company

A common mistake that is made by job seekers is failing to research the company they wish to work for. This is often because such individuals are so focused on their own needs and desires that they fail to consider what they can bring to the table. 

For instance, let’s say you want to work for a company that manufactures computers or electronics. By doing your research, both on their firm and the industry at large, you’ll be aware of certain emerging technologies that the company might need and if you happen to have knowledge or experience with this tech and how to fabricate it affordably, you could include this in your answer. The key to success is learning to see things from the perspective of the employer rather than yourself.

Keep Your Answer Short

When giving an answer to this question, you don’t want the response to be too long winded. Generally speaking, you’ll want keep the answer no longer than one to two minutes. Additionally, you don’t have to highlight every single accolade or skill you have, just enough to get your point across. If the interviewer asks for more credentials you can provide them, but don’t do it unless they request it.

Practice Makes Perfect

As implied previously, this is not a question that you want to answer on the spur of the moment. While you also don’t want to read from a script, you’ll need to practice and rehearse your response in advance until you’ve perfected it to point where you sound completely natural. To accomplish this, you’ll want to go over the bullet points you wrote down and then analyze and practice them.

The goal here is not to memorize it. Rather, you want to use the notes to give you a generalized idea of how you will respond. Each time you rehearse the answer it should sound a bit different, but should essentially cover the same topics. 

Always Project Confidence

While many people become nervous during a job interview, there is no reason to be. If you know you’re the best person for the position, and have the skills and knowledge to prove it, if the interviewer cannot see that then it is their problem, not yours. It is important to remember that companies are competing with each other to hire the best candidates possible, as it is the employees who will increase or decrease their bottom line. If for some reason the interviewer decides you’re not a good fit, this just means you’ll get a job with another company that is shrewd enough to recognize your talent. 

One of the best ways to project confidence is to not obsess over whether you get the job or not. While you obviously want the position, you should be comfortable with the fact that you may not get it, and this shouldn’t bother you, because you know you will get something better. This will calm and relax you during the interview which when combined with the right answers will give off a great impression.