You’ll be asked many different questions during a job interview. In fact, you’ll probably have several interviews with just one company. Each interview is a chance for you to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job.
And there’s one question you should anticipate being asked at the conclusion of an interview – “Why should we hire you?”
It may sound like a tough question to answer, but not if you follow the steps and review the examples we’ve prepared below.
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What Interviewers Are Looking For
“Why should we hire you?”, is usually asked as a wrap up question near the end of a job interview.
The interviewer isn’t asking why you are better than all the other people they’ve interviewed (although that may be what you are thinking).
What they’re really asking is:
“Now that we’ve had this conversation and I’ve explained the role and what we need you to do, why do you believe you are qualified and interested in this job?”
Often there’s a question within the question. In this case, the interviewer wants you to demonstrate that you understand the role and present your qualifications.
There are variations to the classic “why should we hire you” question. You may be asked:
- Why would you be a good fit for this position?
- Why should we hire you instead of one of the many other well-qualified applicants?
- Why are you the best person for this job?
- Explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job.
No matter which version of the question you get, the answer you give will be the same.
You see, hiring the right person is risky. A manager doesn’t really know who they’ve hired until they have been in the role for awhile.
The interview process is one way to eliminate risk. It’s used by employers to evaluate whether you will be able to do the job.
And each person conducting an interview has a slightly different perspective about how you may fit within the role. You can tell by the questions they ask what’s important in their decision making process.
For example, your potential boss wants to understand what it will be like to manage you. They’re wondering if you’ll ask a lot of questions, if you’ll follow protocol, and if you’ll make their life easier or harder. A peer interviewer may assess your skills to do the job and how you’ll fit with the other people on the team.
In every interview, employers are evaluating three basic things:
- Can you do the job (do you have the skills and experience)
- Will you do the job (will you be motivated to do the work here)
- Will they like working with you (are you easy to manage)
This means the interviewer is evaluating your skills, motivation and personality. And when they ask “why should we hire you” it’s the perfect opportunity for you to include those three areas in your answer.
Your goal is to craft an answer that will get you to the next round of interviews. That’s why you want to formulate a concise, convincing answer.
How To Answer This Question
This is your chance to connect the dots and mention the most important qualifications that meet their requirements, based on the answers the interviewer provided. It’s also the time to express your interest in the role, team and company.
Use Their Language/Words
When you mirror someone’s language or words, it shows you’ve been paying attention. Mirroring is also a good way of establishing rapport. Pay attention to the terminology they use and include that in your answer.
Show Interest and Excitement
Use words and your body language to show your enthusiasm for the job, company, and/or industry. For example you can use words like “love,” “excited,” or “passionate” in your answer. You can also lean forward, closer to the interviewer or camera, and speak slightly faster or louder. Let your enthusiasm come through.
Without sounding cocky, you want to provide examples of times you’ve faced similar challenges or been successful. Just state the facts. All you need to do is believe in your own capabilities. And if you can’t muster the confidence, try to fake it.
Pick Three Reasons
Based on the questions and answers provided during the interviews, pick their top three requirements or the best three reasons to hire you.
There’s something about the number three that will make it easy for you and the interviewer to remember. We’re not sure why it works, but it does!
Even before the interview, you should review the job posting and look for areas where you know you’ll be a strong match. These are some potential areas for you to focus on:
- Experience performing specific work-related tasks
- Industry knowledge
- Technical skills
- Soft skills
- Relevant accomplishments
Reference The Pain Points
You’ll have to listen carefully during your conversation to identify the company’s top pain points or the problems this role is being asked to fix. For example, if the interviewer mentions that the last person in the role had weak Excel skills, this would be a perfect opportunity to share how you used Excel in your past job.
Use Quantifiable Data
Instead of saying you have strong communication skills, back it up with a story and real data. For example, you may choose to include a mini example of a time you have to send an email to the 260 employees at your company notifying them about changes in an HR policy or that you resolved a billing issue with a client worth $5 million. Numbers speak volumes and help paint a fuller picture of the situation.
Note: If you are applying to a larger or smaller organization, be aware that percentages may be a better way to convey your impact. A smaller company may feel you are overqualified if you’ve solved big-dollar problems.
Highlight What You Offer That’s Unique
One of your goals when answering “why should we hire you?” should be to set yourself apart. You can do this by including in your answer a unique qualification or characteristic that adds value to hiring you. For example, almost all accounting candidates will have experience with data entry and financial calculations. However, if you have strong PowerPoint and data visualization skills, this may be valuable in creating presentations or executive summaries.
This seemingly small differentiator could set you apart from the other candidates and put you ahead in the selection process.
That’s all the time you have. Humans have very short attention spans so you want to concisely provide the interviewer with something they’ll remember and something that will help you stick out in their memory as they evaluate other candidates.
Practice, practice, practice so you concisely explain why they should consider hiring you.
Best Answer Examples
Seeing examples of answers helps you finesse your own answer to the daunting “why should we hire you?” question. Feel free to mix and match sentences from the answers below to find one that feels right.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #1 – Nonprofit
I am passionate about helping increase reading literacy to those in need in my community, which keeps me motivated and excited about doing my best work. I understand you need a candidate who can be consistently available for weekend events. I have a 100% attendance record from my previous retail job working a fluctuating schedule. I also bring leadership experience, having trained over 15 new hires on the day-to-day operations and to feel comfortable in their new roles. What excites me most about this job is that it offers the fulfillment of doing meaningful work while also allowing me to use my educational background in psychology.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #2 – Project Management
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer this question. As we’ve been talking, I noticed that you specifically mentioned you were looking for someone with project management experience. I have many years of experience as a project manager, but what I think really sets me apart and will make me a valuable addition to your team is the fact that I value lasting relationships and work hard to build those with developers, vendors and senior managers. I also enjoy communicating with customers to keep them updated and satisfied. I am truly passionate about this industry and am excited about the direction it’s headed. This drives me to deliver high-quality work every day.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #3 – Sales
I’m confident that I would be a strong contributor to your sales team. In my past two sales roles, I was one of the top 5 producers in the company. My success in sales is due to my curiosity and problem solving skills – I love consultative selling and meeting new people. And I work well internally too. My teammates have recognized me as being someone they look forward to partnering with to close collaborative deals. I’m excited about the challenge of growing your business in new territories and can see how my previous experience building brand awareness for a new product will help me achieve your goals. I’m looking forward to our next conversation.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #4 – Tech
What sets me apart is my experience setting up IT teams. You mentioned that this was a top priority for you and in my last role I implemented project management systems that improved the team’s productivity. I lead based on my first hand knowledge as an IT technician for numerous years and know that changes have to be bought into by the employees. This experience also gives me credibility with the team. Working with remote teams is also something I’ve enjoyed and had success with. In my last role we had people in three different time zones. I would love to use some of what I’ve done to help you fine-tune your IT group and take it to the next level.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #5 – Marketing
I believe that my experience with technology, specifically in the web design space, makes me a strong match for this position. In my previous job, I was responsible for maintaining and updating our company website. I also oversaw a digital media campaign that generated a 22% increase in awareness among our target demographic. I truly enjoyed what I was doing, which is what drew me to this position with your company. Meeting the team during the interview process has solidified my desire to work here within your marketing department.
Why Should We Hire You Answer #6 – New Graduate
I have the experience and the attitude to excel in this financial analyst role. I have close to two years of banking experience — including two summers interning at XYZ bank, where I provided research and support for high net worth clients. They were impressed with the quality of my work the first summer and invited me back for a second summer and gave me more responsibilities. During my final year at ABC University, I ran the Finance club with over 200 members. As President, I grew the club membership by 25% by coordinating work projects where students could acquire real-time skills. I have a reputation for getting things done and I’m not afraid of a challenge. I truly enjoy the world of finance and take every opportunity to learn and grow my knowledge. This role would be a fantastic opportunity to take my career to the next level.
What To Avoid When Answering This Question
When giving your answer to “why should we hire you”, you already know what you should do, but what kinds of things should you avoid? The short answer is anything that would take away from your qualifications or interest in the job, but here’s a list of pitfalls to keep in mind.
Not Preparing Enough
Don’t wing it. Take the time to prepare your points ahead of the interview but also listen for clues about what the company’s challenges are or what they say their goals are. Before the interview, practice your answer out loud. This might cause you to realize that you need to adjust things slightly during the real interview.
Always practice your answers out loud, either in front of a mirror, camera or with someone you trust who won’t hesitate to point out areas you could improve.
General or Trite Statements
An answer that is under a minute and filled with general or trite statements is not going to work. Stating that you’re a hard worker or a quick learner won’t win the interviewer over. Use a specific example of a time you worked hard or learned something quickly.
You may really need a job, but It isn’t the employer’s obligation to hire you. Your focus should be on how you can help the company. Saying that you really need this job won’t win the interviewer over.
Being Overly Confident
Telling the interviewer that you’ve done this job before and could do it in your sleep isn’t exactly convincing. In fact, it sounds a bit arrogant and you may even sound over-qualified for the job. Stick to the facts of what you did and what the outcomes were.
And you don’t know for sure if you’re perfect for the role. That’s ultimately up to the interviewer to decide. Avoid saying you are confident you can do the job or that you are the best candidate. Prove it by listing the reasons.
Never Lie or Exaggerate
There’s no need to embellish or exaggerate or take credit for things you didn’t actually do. You’ll eventually be found out. Always be truthful.
Being Too Humble
No one likes selling themselves. But all you need to do is take credit for the work you’ve done. Avoid using words like “sometimes,” “maybe” or “just.” If you are uncomfortable taking credit, try using what others have said about you. “My past manager said I…”
Comparing Yourself To The Unknown
You really have no idea what the competition for this job looks like. Don’t make assumptions about the other candidates. There may be internal candidates with less experience but who have a better understanding of the company. Or there may be external candidates with lots more experience.
The best you can do is focus on what makes you a strong candidate based on the research you’ve done and what’s been shared during the interview process.
Missing The Opportunity
While you may not be asked this question or a version of it in every interview, you should listen for the opportunity to provide the reasons why the company should hire you before the interview concludes. At the end of the interview you could say: “Before we end, I want to let you know that I’m very interested in the position and I think I would be an asset in the role because…”
When answering the question “why should we hire you?”, the best answers summarize your greatest assets and why you are a fit for the role. State the facts in a concise, confident way. Your answer serves as a reminder of why you are qualified and interested in the role and the value of your unique blend of skills and talents. Keep in mind, the company will benefit from having you on their team.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.