Interview Tips Series 4

How To Answer Why Should We Hire You Job Interview Question?

“Why should we hire you?” Honestly, if you can’t answer that question easily, the employer probably shouldn’t hire you, and you probably shouldn’t have applied for the job in the first place. This is the question you should want to be asked in an interview and the very one you should have prepared to answer. In fact, the entire interview is only an elongated version of this question. Be that as it may, and as basic as it sounds, it is surprising that it has been one of the leading deal breakers for many interviewees.

If you’ve made it as far as the job interview, you are probably qualified for the job. Just as all of the other candidates interviewed are probably qualified for the job. The hiring manager is not asking this question because she or he wants you to tell him, again, the facts of your resume that qualify you for the job. You are being asked to distinguish and differentiate your candidacy from the other qualified applicants, in a way that makes a compelling case for hiring you.

Don’t Say This…

Let’s start by clarifying how you shouldn’t answer this question just in case you’re not clear on the hiring manager’s motivations.

  1. Don’t underestimate how serious this question is. Yes, it sounds simple, and it could be simply answered if all that it required was a literal answer. But, it’s not simple, so don’t throw out a glib response that respect the manager for asking it.
  2. Don’t repeat your qualifications verbatim. The manager is not testing you to see whether you remember what is in your resume.
  3. Don’t answer without showing the excitement you should feel at the opportunity to answer this question. This is your big chance to make the case for your candidacy. It should be obvious that you’ve already positively answered the question’s corollary – “Why should I want this job?” – and that, being a goal-oriented overachiever, you would have contemplated this one and are now eager to answer. Don’t jump up and down, but show a little passion.
  4. Don’t recite a memorized response. This rule actually applies to every interview question, but the importance of this question demands that I state it clearly. A rote response suggests a generic, insincere answer. The manager will think the interview equivalent of “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Sound like you thought about the question before answering and that your response only pertains to this opportunity.
  5. Be Prepared…

Know that you were going to answer this question in the interview – whether it was asked or not! You are there to sell yourself; don’t leave without making your strongest case. If the question isn’t asked, you must look for your chance to make your case anyway.

With that certainty in mind, you must prepare a compelling sales pitch in advance. Begin by outlining requirements stated in the employer’s job description to identify their key hiring criteria. You have to develop an answer for why you are the best candidate for each of those criteria.

Sure, the truth is that you may not be the best candidate for some of the criteria – like every candidate you have strong qualifications and others that are not as strong – but you should have an answer ready for addressing each criteria to the best of your ability.

So, develop those answers. First, map your talents and experience to each criteria to identify overlaps. Overlaps are great – it means that your unique talents solve multiple problems they face. As you synthesize and shorten your answers into a compelling narrative to sell yourself, those qualities you possess that solve multiple issues will rise to the top.

As possible, document career accomplishments that confirm and quantify how you applied each of those skills to achieve success.For example, “My creativity and leadership allowed me to produce an effective ad campaign that increased same store sales 45%.”

Quantifying a skill is huge. Anyone can say they have talent. Translating your skill into documented success resonates with employers. It is what the employer expects you to do for its projects.

Finally, practice telling your story.

You’re not repeating the story, you’re telling it, which means it will probably sound a little different every time, and that’s OK. You want to be able to tell it to the hiring manager easily and naturally. By knowing your story, and not memorizing it, you’ll be able to tweak it on the fly if required based on what your learn about the hiring manager during the interview.

Ready, set, GO!

Now’s your chance. You’re in the interview, and the question has been asked.

Pause for a moment to gather your thoughts. The hiring manager will appreciate that you’re thinking about the question. Based on what you’ve learned so far, decide which are the manager’s most important criteria. Ideally, you’ve taken notes during the interview for this purpose so this part should come naturally. At all cost, do not give a rushed answer even if the answers are fresh in your mind; you may just come off as a nerd and lose favor with the hiring manager. Take your time and respond only when you think you have summoned the full attention of the interviewer.

Formulate an answer that covers those important criteria. Your response should take no longer than a couple of minutes, so it’s unlikely that you can cover every reason you have in hand, but that’s OK. Your answer should be concise and to the point.

As mentioned above, interject a little passion into your answer. Not nervous excitement, or hyperactive emotion; just a very obvious confidence in the answer you will provide such that you have no hesitation in relating it. Speak clearly and calmly.

Finally, follow up your answer with a question to confirm its effectiveness – “Do you have any doubts that I am the best candidate for the job?” “Can I clarify anything about my skills, experience or motivation to work for your company?”

Now, Shut Up

It is an old cliché in the Sales profession that “the first one to speak loses.” He asked the question, you answered, and then followed up with a leading question that seeks to clarify your standing among the candidates. Let him answer! If he raises no issues with your candidacy, ask for the job, and shut up again. If you’ve done your job well, he’ll answer, and you’ll like what he says.

The above approach was very good. However, if you want to take this even a step further then I strongly suggest you demonstrate your skills and experience with a simple one page powerpoint slide like the one below from The Career Mastery;

If you click on the above picture, it will take you to a page where you can actually download the PPT template. Hope you benefit from it.

See you next month with even greater tips!