Artwork by: Katya Simacheva
One interview question you can always expect is “Why should we hire you?” Answering this the right way can set you apart from the other candidates and get you a step closer to that job offer. Here’s how to tell the employer that you’re the best person for the job.
One of the most popular interview questions in 2023 remains “Why should we hire you?” It can be dressed up in a lot of different ways, but the crux of the question remains the same. The employer wants to know what makes you so different from the other candidates they are interviewing.
Clearly, delivering an answer that elevates you above the competition is critical. Many people struggle with this, because they aren’t sure how best to sell themselves and they don’t want to appear “fake.” But your reputation and what you’re known for in the workplace isn’t a lie or exaggeration and should be something you detail.
Put simply, your professional brand, or career brand, is your answer to the question: Why hire me? In this article, we explore:
Why do interviewees ask “Why should we hire you?”
How to answer “Why hire me?”
Example answers to “Why should we hire you?”
According to an article by SHRM, one of the top reasons candidates don’t perform well in an interview is that they are unprepared and haven’t researched the employer thoroughly. Emphasizing a strong interest in the job, company, and why you want to work there is critical.
If you put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer, you can see why asking this open-ended question is a good way to figure out whether you’ll be a great fit for the job and their company. Essentially, your answer will tell them:
What is unique about you. Hiring managers will want to know what sets you apart from the competition and how you can add value to the role and company.
Whether you have the right skill set, experience and qualifications to perform well. Demonstrating your proven success in areas that are specific to the job opening will be what the employer is looking to hear in your answer.
If you’re a good team player and/or team leader. Employers will be on the look-out for great team players and team builders who can integrate quickly into the team. Leadership will be a big deal if you’re targeting a management position, but also in other situations where you may be required to lead a team or project.
Whether you are passionate about this new job opportunity. Do you project enthusiasm and energy about joining the team? Have you channeled this in other roles? Does your demeanor when answering “Why should we hire you?” reflect this passion?
Answering the question “Why hire me?” is your chance to deliver a compelling elevator pitch about your work experience, skills, qualifications, accomplishments, passion, and purpose.
One related interview question equally tricky to answer is “Why do you want to work for our company?” Make sure your answer includes why their company resonates with you, rather than just describing the company’s status as your reason.
The first stage in the process requires understanding why hiring managers ask the question. When you move to creating your elevator pitch, stay positive and complete some background work to prepare the best possible answer:
Carefully read the job description. Look for keywords that are repeated or emphasized as important skills and experience. You can then factor these into your answer and show the hiring manager your suitability for the role.
Conducting research on the company will help you give a compelling and persuasive answer. Dig a bit deeper than a quick review of company activities. What is their mission, vision, and ethos? What does their company culture look like? This information will enable you to talk about why you would be a good fit for their team.
The all-important facts and figures back up the skills you are putting forward, so make a list of your career highlights and inform the interviewer about them in your elevator pitch. Just make sure they are relevant to the job opening as much as possible.
What is unique about you? What can you bring to the company that the other candidates may not be able to match? Maybe you’re being interviewed for a sales role, but in an earlier career you were a trainer, so you can offer the added benefit of being able to train teams or educate clients. Perhaps you're fluent in another language, which will be really helpful if the business is planning to attract overseas clients. Your unique selling point can help distinguish you from others interviewing for the same position.
Now that you have all the elements of your elevator pitch prepared, you can provide a killer answer when asked "What makes you think you are qualified for this position?” Here are some example answers to give you some inspiration:
This example shows how you can use the job description and company research to address the requirements of the role, backed up with a sprinkle of achievements in your recent employment:
From your explanation of the role and my research, I understand that you’re looking for someone with great client relationship management skills and strong graphic design experience. Across my 10 years in the field of graphic design, I’ve been recognized for my client-centric approach and ability to build positive relationships with diverse clients.
I collaborate with clients to ensure a full understanding of their requirements, including in-depth reviews of their past design elements as well as the types of designs that thrive in their field. I then combine this information to create images that produce remarkable results. This collaborative approach has led to an increase of 35 percent in client retention as well as securing brand new referrals. I’d love to bring these skills and more to (Company Name).
Providing details of achievements and anecdotes is a great way to show the hiring manager that you’re a fit. Unique selling points have also been highlighted to set the applicant apart from other candidates:
I’ve worked hard to hone my nursing skills over the past three years following completion of my nursing degree. This has provided me with excellent knowledge of nursing care methods and emergency care, combined with a patient-centered and team-focused approach. In recognition of my efforts, I was thrilled to win the Way to Shine Award for outstanding patient care last year.
While completing my nursing degree, I volunteered at a local clinic, where I delivered health and wellbeing sessions on a weekly basis. This involved supporting diverse service users, and my fluency in Spanish was a real asset. I’m confident I could apply these skills and experiences to add value to the nursing team at (Hospital Name).
Qualities that are difficult for an employer to find are great to highlight when answering “Why should we hire you?” Consider completing some training to add to your skill set as well as differentiate you from the competition:
I’m also currently completing a UX design course which is providing me with valuable insights into the design of applications, websites, and other digital assets, with a view to ensuring an optimal user experience. I believe this unique blend of skills and experience will enable me to make a positive contribution to the team at (Company Name).
If you’re looking to build your confidence and be interview-ready, check out Career.io’s Interview Preparation tool to be ready for your next career move.
Hiring managers will typically ask the question “Why should we hire you?” in some form during an interview as they are looking to find out what sets you apart from the other candidates.
Be prepared. Research the company and read and re-read the job description. Identify relevant achievements and unique skills that you can highlight in your elevator pitch.
Don’t feel uncomfortable selling your skills and experience. Your career brand is your strong reputation in the workplace, so make sure the hiring manager knows all about it.
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.