If there's one question that strikes fear into the hearts of interviewees everywhere, it is: "Why should we hire you?" Unfortunately, this also happens to be the one question which every employer needs an answer to.
Quite often your potential employer will address this question themselves by assessing your overall interview performance against a set of requirements. However, if an interviewer does ask you directly why they should pick you, you need to be able to impress. There are several simple tactics you can employ to ensure you do just that.
Refer to the job description
Read the job description thoroughly. Which skills and experiences are listed? Make a note of three or four of the employer's most prominent 'wants', ones you truly feel you can fulfil, and use these as the backbone of your answer.
Many job descriptions will list 'essential' and 'desirable' requirements. Keep the focus of your answer on demonstrating that you fulfil the 'desirables'; your interviewer will have already established that you meet the essential requirements before inviting you to the interview.
Focus on what you can do for the company, not what they can do for you
This question offers you a chance to pitch yourself as the solution to your employer's problems, so make sure you do this.
It's easy to get side-tracked and talk about why you want to work for the company, but this doesn't answer the question. Responses such as: "You should hire me because I really want this job" or "I've always wanted to work in marketing, so I feel like this is the ideal role for me" don't give your interviewer a reason for hiring you.
Be sure to identify how your own skillset will benefit your potential employer in a way they may not have experienced previously. Show them that by hiring you, they are gaining someone unique and innovative.
Never directly compare yourself to others
One mistake many candidates make when faced with the question: "Why should we hire you?" is to compare themselves to their competitors. It's not difficult to see why – the question does appear to ask you to make a comparison to others, but don't be fooled.
Realistically, you're not going to know the strengths and weaknesses of your peers. You can't claim that you're quicker, better and more intelligent than them – you may not be and the interviewer has the knowledge of other candidates to challenge these assumptions. Therefore, it's safest to steer clear of these 'qualifier' phrases altogether, and concentrate instead on talking about yourself.
Avoid clichéd language
Never say that you should get the job because you're "hard-working", "reliable" or "work well in a team". Anyone can say these things about themselves, and these uninspiring adjectives are usually the minimum traits an employer looks for when hiring a new candidate, rather than something to boast about.
Evidence your answer
As this is a question inviting you to promote yourself, there's a fine line between being perceived as confident or arrogant; providing tangible evidence to back-up each of your points will prevent you from veering dangerously towards the latter.
Claim that you're a "diligent, accomplished and confident candidate with a history of success" and likely you'll find that these empty words will fall on deaf ears. You must provide your interviewer with evidence to verify your skillset.
For instance, if you say that you should be hired because you're analytical you might say: "I think my highly analytical mind-set and ability to crunch numbers quickly makes me a great fit for your company. This is something that I've shown during A, B and C work experiences."
Follow a clear structure
All interview answers should follow a logical structure, and your response to this question should be no different. Rather than launching into a long-winded, meandering reply, keep your pitch simple, short and memorable.
Begin by laying out the points you're about to make. "I think you should hire me because of X, Y and Z". Next, evidence each of your points, as discussed earlier. Round off your answer with a strong and confident 'closer' such as: "Overall I think X, Y, and Z make me a great fit for both your role and your company."
Jenna Allcock is marketing executive at Give A Grad A Go
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