5+ Best Answers to "Why Should We Hire You" in an Interview
Why should we hire you? Why are you a good fit for this position? It's an interview question that prompts a sales pitch type response from you, the interviewer. It requires preparation, like knowing details about the company and details about the job description that help you structure your answer. And a simple format for positioning yourself to align with the desired qualities the hiring manager or employer is looking for.
For a job candidate, this common interview question that's asked at the beginning of a face-to-face interview, phone interview, or Zoom interview. Learn to structure the perfect answer to this question.
Why This Interview Question
For an employer, this interview question is considered an ice breaker question. It opens the conversation and can direct the entire interview. It provides the HR manager with a general sense of how the candidate might position themselves. Position themselves as a "perfect fit" or "good fit" for the company's role.
Andrew Broderick, CPA, manager of Schellman & Co. LLC, in Columbus, Ohio says, "If you're not a match with what the potential employer is looking for. Then it's probably a blessing in disguise." To find that out at the interview stage, he said, noting, "There is a good fit for everyone. And you want to find that place that wants you for you."
The purpose of the interview question is two-part. The first is to determine how prepared the candidate is. And the second is to measure the candidate's level of passion for both the company and the position. Jared Brox describes, "passionate employees are engaged employees. They believe in the work they do and that they have a vested interest in the success of their company." As Jared alludes, passion is precisely the reason why this interview question gets prompted to candidates.
For a candidate, this often feels like a "trick question." And one that the candidate might feel like is trying to deceive the candidate. But it's not. It's best to come to the interview with a good answer prepared in advance.
Variations to this interview question include:
- "Why do you want this job?"
- Or "Why should we hire you with no experience?"
- And "Why shouldn't I hire you?"
Preparing to Answer this Interview Question
One of the most important parts of preparing for your job interview is to perform research on the company. Here is what you should know about the company you’re in an interview with:
- Company culture
- Recent company news
- Recent product or service updates
- Job description or job posting details (job requirements, ideal skills, or other)
You can find healthy amounts of information about a company through their website. Or recent press releases through Google. And public information when the business is publicly traded on finviz.com.
In short, try to determine what the hiring managers are looking for. Are they looking for someone to streamline processes? Or address product concerns? What does the "best fit" or best candidate for the role look like?
Why research is important
Knowing this information in advance will help you structure your sales pitch. And effectively answer this question as a job applicant. For example, it’s not important to talk about technical skills if the company is really focused on sales this year. Or if you talk about technical skills. Then maybe they are positioned as sales technology skills. Rather than talking about your ability to operate a computer.
Additionally, you can position your answer to sound as though you’d be a cultural fit for the position. Or to your potential employer. This is because your answer gets structured in a fashion that embraces what the employer values. For example, you can position your resume and qualifications around quantitative skills. And if the company believes heavily in the use of data to make business decisions as part of their culture. Then it seems like a good fit.
Tip: It can be helpful to perform an informational interview with a company you’re truly passionate about. This is where you interview a person working within the business. And ask them career advice style questions. It can be helpful to learn what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Or what the interview process is like through this employed professional.
Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you fully comprehend what the interviewer might be looking for:
- What're the qualities or abilities this job requires?
- What does the company look for as an ideal candidate?
- What're the types of responses I think the interviewer is looking for with this job interview question?
- What skill, past achievement, or previous work experience of mine aligns with the employer?
Professional Qualities to Focus On
Now that you have an idea of what the company is looking for in a perfect candidate. It's time to put effort into positioning yourself as a good fit. For both the requirements of the position (the job role) and the company.
Take time to analyze your abilities. Ask a previous colleague what they feel your best qualities are. Especially if you can’t think of any yourself. Try to find at least one of the following:
- Soft skills or a specific skill that makes you unique.
- Technical skills.
- Industry or work experience.
- Career accomplishments.
- Education (BA, MBA, Doctorate) or certifications.
- Existing working relationships with multiple employees.
These are strengths or qualities that you’ll use to formulate your answer. And as you begin to think about what the job requires. And what the company requires. You can use these strengths to align yourself with the desired outcomes, qualifications, or abilities that the employer is desiring.
Tip: Job candidates should keep their interview answers to no more than 90-seconds. And while you don’t need to recite a script. A great answer to an interview question is one that’s simple to comprehend. And keeps the interviewer’s attention. As a byproduct, this shows keen communication skills that make you a desirable candidate. Practicing your interview answers before your next interview can be impactful. Impactful for the success of your job search. If you feel like you're unprepared for your interview. Then you can seek the advice of a career coach. They can work with you to practice your interviewing skills.
How to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”
If you followed the steps above, you should have a fairly good idea of what the company might be looking for. And what qualities you’d like to present to your recruiter or hiring manager.
Here is what a bad answer to this interview question looks like:
I’m a great fit for this role because it’s looking for a hard worker, which I am. And this is certainly my dream job. I’d love to work here.
This doesn’t sell the candidate. Nor does it make them stand out amongst the other job candidates.
Before you answer this question, check your body language. This could be over a Zoom interview, video interview, in-person interview, or other. Be sure you are:
- In a comfortable seated position.
- You are making direct eye contact with your interviewer.
- Your hands are either folded or you are not showing discomfort.
- Your answer takes no longer than 90-seconds to recite.
Following these steps will ensure that your answer comes across with confidence, clarity, and professionalism.
When you answer this interview question, structure your interview answer like so:
- Reiterate to the interviewer what you feel the company, and the job requires.
- Explain a key skill, previous experience, or a specific example of a past accomplishment. Or a series of certifications that both align with those expectations. And make you a unique candidate.
- End your answer by saying if your assumptions are incorrect, to have your interviewer correct them on the spot.
By answering in this format, you will have created a sales pitch style answer. An answer that your interviewer can both relate to and gets impressed by.
Consider using an elevator pitch format when answering the hiring manager
Before creating your pitch, it’s important to note what’s required in speaking a winning elevator pitch. Here are some tips to help you.
Don’t speak too fast: Don’t worry about the timing of your pitch. Worry about the word count. If you speak too quickly, it can sound as though you lack confidence in your delivery.
Have confident body language: Don’t fold your arms or stand crooked. Make eye contact and say your pitch.
Make sure your pitch makes sense: Tell your pitch to a few friends and family members and then ask them what they thought. Ensure they understand your background, what you do, and what you can provide from your pitch.
Avoid lengthy elevator pitches: The worst thing you can do is to make a long-winded elevator pitch. The perfect elevator pitch should be short and impactful. Keep it under 60-seconds, or you risk losing the listener's attention. Remember, this is an introduction to who you are, not your only chance to have a conversation.
What to say in your elevator pitch
Here are a few things to consider mentioning when creating your own elevator pitch.
Your successes: It’s always easier to talk about goals or have an ask for the listener when they have a reason to listen. Mention successes that you’ve had in your career. Or with a particular job as a way of leading to your ask. For example, as a small business owner pitching a potential investor, mention your business's performance.
Leave out the details: If you spent four years in college, you could say you're a recent graduate. You don’t need to go into detail about your education history. Especially if it’s not important.
Know your listener: The first half of your pitch should be something you repeat with frequency. And should describe who you are. And why you’re talking. The second part of your pitch should be tailored and targeted to the person you’re speaking with. For example, as a marketing professional. Speaking to a potential customer about SEO. You should mention your recent SEO examples or a reference to recent changes in algorithms.
Describe who you are through experiences: It’s not important to say what your name is. And where you grew up. Focus on what you’ve accomplished. And let that speak to who you are or what you can provide. Even when reciting a personal elevator pitch, it should focus on personal accomplishments for the setting rather than your personal life story.
Have an ask: An ask can be simply presenting yourself. Or looking for career advice. Something that tells the listener what it is that they can do to help. Asks don’t need to come in the form of a question, either. Present what you need or want from the listener.
Consider mentioning desirable skills and experience (or traits)
Skills and experience go a long way in showing you're the best person for the job. Employers want to know you're a good fit for the job. Across the board, in every job, these are some desirable traits and competencies to mention in the interview answer:
- Analytical skills
- Adaptability skills
- Coordination skills
- Leadership skills
- Verbal communication skills
- Presentation skills
When utilizing a key skill in the interview answer, be sure to refer to an experience that alludes to leadership qualities. Rather than explicitly saying, "You should hire me because of my leadership skills." That's far too literal. And provides a generic answer to the question. By referring to a previous experience, the answer can refer to each qualification and skill using storytelling. Rather than addressing the employer's needs too directly.
Wondering how to find the appropriate skills to mention? There are two methods for determining the appropriate skills to mention. The first method is to read through the job description (job advertisement). Note any qualification or duty that may refer to a particular skill. The other method is to use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website and search for the job title. Beneath the job title will be a section called "how to get this job." It will contain skills, certifications, and other requirements that can help write and recite a good answer to this interview question.
Each example answer below is using a job title or internship interview as an example scenario.
Engineer or Programmer
"In my early research on Apple, Inc., it appears this internship opportunity is one that requires a heavy amount of experience in data analysis. And quantitative analysis. And producing high-quality work. On top of that, fitting in with the Apple culture means exploring innovations collaboratively. During my school tenure, my final research project was to develop a series of Instagram accounts. Accounts that had a high chance of going viral. We did that by analyzing previous data sets of video views and engagement metrics. I want to bring that same style of creative thinking and analysis to this opportunity. Is my assumption correct on what the internship role requires? If not, please let me know, and I can modify my answer."
Internship Position (New Graduate)
"In my early research on Apple, Inc., it appears this internship opportunity is one that requires a heavy amount of experience in data analysis and quantitative analysis. On top of that, fitting in with the Apple culture means exploring innovations collaboratively. During my school tenure, my final research project was to develop a series of Instagram accounts. Accounts that had a high chance of going viral. We did that by analyzing previous data sets of video views and engagement metrics. I want to bring that same style of creative thinking and analysis to this opportunity. Is my assumption correct on what the internship role requires? If not, please let me know, and I can modify my answer."
"In my early research on St. Johns Hospital, I noticed that patient care is more than simply a marketing tactic. There are tools, systems, and processes to make patients feel comfortable and the latest technology that separates the hospital from other institutions. Besides having my NLEX and RN certifications, I’m adept at operating new technologies and am keen to learn new systems quickly. As the hospital evolves, I will adapt and ensure patient care is heavily considered part of the HIPAA. And any standard process issued by the hospital administrator. I think my years of experience in the field should bode well in this environment."
"It's a passion of mine to develop a brand with a large customer base with a significant amount of brand loyalty attached to it. I see this brand as being one that customers come back to time and time again. I believe it has something to do with the overall customer experience. And how the associates work together. And the level of knowledge each associate has about the products and services. I'm very knowledgeable about these same products and services. With the right training that I believe is offered in this role, I'm hoping to gain experience as a retail associate. Experience that will allow me to learn what makes a loyal customer. And I believe that will add to my career path. And teach me invaluable skills that can be applied to multiple types of jobs. Especially if I choose to change my career path later in life."
"I've been a customer for several years. In this position, I've noticed how well the store is managed. The customer is always in mind. Whether it's rearranging the store displays or working as a team, I've noticed that it's about delivering a wonderful customer experience. I've also noticed that the lines when checking out and processing sales move quickly. Seeing how the store operates tells me that training is a big part of what this company can offer. And the type of training that I'll receive will benefit me going into my career. I believe my math skills, previous POS (point-of-sale system) knowledge, and knowledge of the products will be valuable to this store. I want to think with the proper training, I can be an exceptional cashier that the store is proud of."
"I have an extreme passion for coffee. Coffee has been in my life from an early age. It inspires me. The smell, the way it can be roasted, the drinks that can be made with it. I've always had a great experience when it comes to integrating coffee into my life. If I'm having a bad day, I often go and get a coffee. It brightens me up and makes me feel good. Coffee is more than a product to me. It's a lifestyle. And I understand that the lifestyle is offered to customers inside this coffee shop—the music that's played, the beverages that are offered. Everything here is very well thought through. And I'd like to be able to provide that same feeling to customers. The one that I received as a customer myself."
Common Answer Mistakes
Common interview answer mistakes to avoid.
Not having a prepared answer
This seems obvious but is true. Not having a prepared answer with the right type of answer strategy is the best mistake to make. A job seeker should spend time considering "what makes them unique" and then consider how they might approach the answer.
Providing references to core competencies that might be available to the potential employer can be beneficial for the hiring manager. Beneficial in determining the appropriate next steps in the interview process and getting one step closer to making a job offer.
What are core competencies?
A core competency is a concept in management theory introduced by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel. It is defined as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.” And therefore, it is the foundation of a companies’ competitiveness.
Charleen Maher, Ph.D., describes the importance of core competencies. As “competencies have long been used as a framework to help focus employees’ behavior on things that matter most to an organization. And help drive success. They can provide a common way to harmonize, select, and develop talent. The benefits are clear for employees and managers, and ultimately, the organization.”
Not using prior job experience
Many job seekers are worried that no prior work experience will make this interview question difficult to answer. These job seekers have the opportunity to reference any previous job experience. For example, this interview question does not need a relevant job title to refer to for it to be accurate.
A job seeker looking to be hired for an internship position can still refer to the prior retail experience. Retail experience can provide customer experience skills, customer service skills, and more. Presuming the applicant is looking to start an internship at a software business. Then customer service and customer support can still be an important factor in why the candidate is ideal for the business.
Consider utilizing any prior work experience, even if the job titles vary.
Job Seeker FAQ's
Job seeker questions and answers.
Is this a behavioral interview question?
No. Behavioral interview questions often start with "Tell me about a time." While this interview question can prompt the sharing of previous job experiences, it doesn't have to. The candidate can position themselves as a knowledgeable applicant using passions, personal projects, or other factors. They should display why they may be an ideal candidate for the open position.
What if "Why shouldn't I hire you?" is asked?
This might sound like an alternative interview question, it's the same. It's another way of asking the same interview question. The best way to answer this is by using the same answer methods described in this guide. But add a statement to the end of the answer. Say, "that's why you shouldn't hire me."
Another method of answering is by describing an oxymoron. The candidate would say, "You shouldn't hire me if you don't want a passionate employee. An employee who is knowledgeable about the products and services offered here." The reality is that the interviewer is being coy and is looking for a unique approach to the answer.
What if there is no prior work experience? How is this interview question answered?
Much like the barista, retail, and cashier position examples. Use personal life passions as a way of describing why the hiring manager or store manager should be interested in hiring the candidate. Knowing the products or services is a great example. Or having previous experience visiting a retail location and seeing how "well it operates" is another fine example.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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