In this guide, MockQuestions walks you through everything you need to know about building a compelling answer to the notoriously tricky interview question: 'Why should we hire you?' We break down the best approach to developing a persuasive and well-researched response. We also offer a variety of answer examples that you can customize for yourself.
THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE QUESTION
When it comes to hiring decisions, a company will choose the person that they believe will help them to solve a problem or a pain point.
By clearly discussing how you will solve the hiring company’s biggest needs, you are positioning yourself as the top choice candidate.
When you arrive at an interview with a compelling pitch prepared, you can answer ‘Why should we hire you?’ with utmost confidence.
STAY ON TRACK WITH THE PURPOSE
It’s very common for a job seeker to answer 'Why should we hire you?' in this manner:
“I believe you should hire me because I am passionate about sales. This job is exactly what I have been looking for, and I will work hard to deliver results for your company.”
Notice how this answer quickly became about the job seeker and not about the hiring company.
WIIFM: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
Popular among experienced salespeople, the term WIIFM (pronounced whiff-em) is short for: What's In It For Me?
So, why does the WIIFM acronym apply to you as a job seeker?
In a job interview, you are pitching yourself! The hiring manager should clearly understand how saying 'yes' to you will benefit them.
Imagine that the hiring manager asking, ‘If I hire you, what's in it for me?’
For this reason, every job seeker should consider the WIIFM factor when responding to the interview question, ‘Why should we hire you?’
3 STEPS TO DEVELOPING YOUR RESPONSE
In a few simple steps, you can create a compelling answer to ‘Why should we hire you?’ Remember, your response will be different for each interview. Still, the groundwork that you establish now will ensure that you have a lot of material to work with for each interview you attend.
STEP 1: OUTLINE YOUR HARD & SOFT SKILLS
Take some time to think about your best skills and qualifications. Try to include a mix of hard skills and soft skills.
HARD SKILLS: Specific knowledge gained through training and education.
SOFT SKILLS: Traits you possess, such as emotional intelligence and sociability.
Hard and soft skills can include industry accolades, career achievements, additional job training, a second language, or your community volunteer efforts.
Hard skills are often easier to list than soft skills because they are a more visible part of your everyday contributions on the job.
When it comes to soft skills, if you can't think of ways that you stand out, ask a few close friends, family members, or co-workers that you trust, ‘What sets me apart from others?’ Their observations may be helpful.
Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your greatest advocate.
STEP 2: REVIEW THE JOB DESCRIPTION
It’s essential to approach ‘Why should we hire you?’ with less focus on your needs, and more focus on the company’s needs.
Looking at the job description or job posting for the role in question, you can quickly dissect what the hiring company is really looking for in a candidate.
Let’s look at an example from a real job posting. The most critical points are in bold text.
WANTED: SALES MANAGER
As a sales leader with Company X, you will use your Sales Manager expertise to support a sales team
delivering product solutions that help our customers realize their business goals.
- As a Sales Manager, manage sales activity.
- Recruit, retain, and motivate top sales talent to ensure the highest levels of service and performance.
- Work with National Sales and Training Managers to implement sales strategies and ensure training procedures are followed.
- Perform regular joint sales calls and work closely with strategic accounts.
- Monitor and analyze sales goals.
- 5+ years of sales management experience with proven field sales results.
- Strong leadership and training skills a must.
- Ability to motivate, inspire, and lead a professional sales team.
- Excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
Looking at this job posting more strategically, we see the company's 'pain points' are probably:
- Ongoing training and retention of field sales reps
- Building a team of high-performing sales professionals
Knowing these are the hiring company's primary needs, we can now frame a precise answer to ‘Why should we hire you?’
STEP 3: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
"I understand your company is seeking a sales manager with a proven ability to lead a team of field sales reps. You seek a leader who can properly train, motivate, and encourage a boost in sales numbers while providing the tools for each team member to perform at their peak ability. My experience, and past results, align very well with this need. I am an experienced sales trainer, having trained over 50 successful outside sales reps this year alone. My teams' retention rate is the highest in my company. Over 80% of my team members have exceeded their goals for this quarter already. I am a passionate trainer and mentor who is very hands-on and approachable. I would love to bring these skills and traits to your company."
THINGS TO CONSIDER
STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD: In our example above, we see that strong leadership is critical to this hiring company. Rather than saying, ‘I am a strong leader’, try giving a specific example of your strong leadership in action. You could also mention a leadership-related workshop you attended in the past.
AVOID GIVING A RESUME REVIEW: When approaching the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’ avoid using it as an opportunity to regurgitate everything on your resume. Your response should be a highlight of the reasons why your achievements, skills, and characteristics are a match for the hiring company’s’ most pressing needs. Keep your reply under a minute long, if possible. Remember, your answer should be a snapshot, not a complete biography.
THINK AHEAD: Think of the ways that you will add value to the hiring company in the years to come. Rather than thinking only in-the-now, help the hiring manager to picture you in the role for years to come. For instance, you could mention that you have a great field-sales training plan in the works that you would love to unroll in the next 12 months.
SPRINKLE IN ACHIEVEMENTS: Mentioning specific numbers, percentages, awards, and accolades is an excellent way to grab the hiring manager's’ attention. These bits of ‘juicy information’ will be the most memorable to your interviewer.
TELL A STORY: Psychology tells us that offering a compelling, relatable story makes us more memorable and persuasive. Some studies show that telling a story makes us 22X more memorable. If you could be 22X more memorable than the next candidate, think of the impact it could make on your interview outcome!
There are a variety of ways that you can frame your response to ‘Why should we hire you?’ Here are a few examples to get you started. From these examples, customize your own answer, playing around with wording that feels the most natural for you.
"I see your job posting mentions requiring an accountant with experience in audits and risk management. Having worked as a senior accountant for the past fifteen years, I've confidently developed these skills and more. I am a Certified Accountant and am currently earning a certification in Internal Auditing. Should you choose to hire me, I will work tirelessly, while applying this knowledge and experience, to meet your risk management needs."
"You mentioned earlier in the interview process that you were struggling with maintaining staff and retaining them. I have an incredible onboarding strategy that took my current company from a 25% turnover rate to just 7% in twelve months. If you choose to hire me, I will quickly address your retention rates.”
"I understand that you are looking for a marketing manager who can lead a remote team of graphic designers, copywriters, and ad sales professionals. In my current position, I lead a team of 15 remote employees and 12 in-house employees. It has been a great experience learning how to merge these two teams, ensuring that projects come together on time. This year, I was awarded manager of the year after being nominated by my peers and leadership team. If you choose to hire me, I will bring tenacity and dedication, leading your remote team to optimum performance and success."
Open-ended questions are very challenging to answer. They take research and practice. The more you research the job, and the better you understand your unique value proposition, forming an unforgettable response to 'Why should we hire you?'
If you want further practice, MockQuestions has a variety of resources available to you, including our set on the toughest interview questions.