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How to perfect your “Why should we hire you?” answer

September 30, 2022 - 14 min read

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Why ask, “Why should I hire you?”

The 6 components of a perfect answer

Sample answers to “Why should we hire you?”

Tying it all together

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. And why shouldn’t they be? Whether you’re looking for your next pay raise or you’ve spent the last few months unemployed, the interview process can certainly feel high-stakes.

We’re told since childhood that first impressions matter, and this is one of the biggest first impressions of them all. Over half of interviewers make their decision within the first 5 to 15 minutes of an interview, so it’s important to knock it out of the park.

But, if you’re well-prepared, you’ll have less to worry about. You’re a rockstar, and you know it — you just have to show it.

The whole point of an interview is to find out why an employer should hire you and why you should work for them. That’s why one of the most common interview questions is, “Why should we hire you?”

On the surface, this seems like an intimidating question. But let’s try reframing it: this is the best possible question you could hope for. Why? Because if you have a great answer, it sets you up perfectly for the rest of your interview. It gives you a chance to state clearly what you’re made of and why you really are the best fit for the role.

Responding to this question is something of a balancing act. You want to self-promote and show your competence without seeming arrogant and highlight your skills without bragging. And most importantly, you want to honor your authentic self and your skill set. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper, shall we? Here are some interview tips for the perfect “Why should we hire you?” answer.

Why ask, “Why should I hire you?”

There's more to the “Why should we hire you” interview question than meets the eye. Sure, it may seem simple at first: of course they want to know why they should hire you! That’s why they booked this interview.

But, more than that, they’re on the lookout for other types of information. They want to know that you:

  1. Are prepared for the interview. Your answer should show them you’ve read the job description, studied the organization, and know what skills are required for the role. You should also have those skills already, proving you can hit the ground running from day one. 
  2. Understand the job requirements. You won’t know the tiny details of a job until you’re hired to do it. But you should have a general understanding of what’s required to succeed in that position.
  3. Know how your skills and personality fit the job. You should demonstrate a deep understanding of your skills and why they make you the best fit. And, even if you don’t have all the necessary experience, you should show how your personality will match the company culture.

    Your dedication to your own self-betterment will also prove to them you’re interested in growing in this position. 
  4. Aren’t overqualified. Employers are afraid that if you’re overqualified for a role, you’ll be bored at work and leave quickly. It’s important for you to explain why you’re interested in such a job, especially if it’s entry-level.

If you can tick these boxes for an interviewer, it could seal the deal for you. It shows that you’re focused on the company and have the skills for the job, making you a no-brainer for the role.

Other versions of the question

Sometimes, your interviewer will be less than direct in their approach. They’ll find another way to phrase the question and get the necessary information. Here are some alternate “Why should we hire you” examples: 

  • Why would you be a good fit for this position?
  • Why do you think you’re the best person for the job?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How do your background and work experience make you a good fit for the role?
  • Tell me about yourself.

No matter how they ask the question, your approach is the same. Your interviewer’s main takeaway should be that you’re prepared, competent, and self-aware.

Young-Man-Sitting-In-Cafe-Using-Laptop-why-should-we-hire-you-answer

It’s your time to shine

Remember, this question is your chance to make your sales pitch and show why you’re the best candidate. Assuming they read your resume and cover letter, they already understand what certifications and skills you offer. Now’s your chance to tell a good story about those skills to drive the point home.

As you prepare for your interview, ask yourself: “Why should a company hire me?” Create a bullet-point list of every reason you can think of. Write down your success stories from your previous jobs, technical skills, communication skills, and exemplary personality traits.

Everything about you can help you reach your career aspirations. Talking yourself up can be difficult. It’s too easy to linger on past mistakes or why you’re not worthy of a job. If you’re struggling to feel confident, BetterUp can help.

Our coaches can provide you with an outside perspective on your work history and help you identify skills you didn’t know you had. And, if you’re truly not ready for your dream job, we can help you make a plan and set goals to get there.

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The 6 components of a perfect answer

So what makes a perfect answer? Here are the essential components you should include.

1. Focus on your achievements

It’s one thing to list your skills; it’s another to prove you have them. Employers want people who can deliver, so highlight your track record of bringing the goods. Emphasize your best moments in “Tell me about a time when…” or situational interview questions.

2. Talk about hard and soft skills

Hard technical skills are important for most roles. But, more often than not, there’s more to a job than simply performing tasks. You’ll have to work with people, solve problems, and make decisions — all of which require soft skills like communication and being a fast learner. They can set you apart from other candidates with similar technical abilities.

3. Highlight culture alignment

Employers aren’t just looking for the right worker; they’re looking for the right person. Companies often have tight-knit teams with members who have worked together for years. They want to know you’ll be a good match and connect well with your new colleagues. Be sure to demonstrate how you form relationships and build rapport in a workplace.

4. Show how your skills fit the job

Don’t assume the recruiter immediately sees how your skills fit the role. Paint a picture for them — especially if you’re from a different field or industry. Make sure to highlight your skills transfer to this new role.

Colleagues-discussing-in-meeting-why-should-we-hire-you-answer

5. Show your excitement

It’s tempting to remain stoic in the name of professionalism. But let’s be real: you applied for the job for a reason. Highlight specific tasks and responsibilities that set this role apart from others you’ve applied to. Talk about why this position gets your motor revving. This shows you’re passionate about the work and care to do high-quality work.

6. Use “I” statements

Hiring managers want to know your exact involvement in your previous team’s achievements. Avoid saying things like “We achieved our goal of X.” Instead, highlight your specific contributions.

Were you the team leader? Did you write all of the marketing material? Did you help keep a project within budget? Giving credit to your colleagues is nice, but don’t sell yourself short in the process.

Sample answers to “Why should we hire you?”

What does a good answer to this question look like? Here are three example answers to this job interview question and why they work.

Example 1: project manager at a software company

“I think I’m the right person for this job because, through my previous work as a computer engineer, I learned to speak the language of software developers. I’ve collaborated closely with developers to design hardware that worked well with their operating system. Our product went on to sell millions of units. 

I think this collaborative approach is what you need in project management. I know how to work with people with expertise different than mine and can bring out the best in their work to build a successful product.”

Why it works: This response highlights one of your previous contributions to your team’s success. You also tied this example to the role’s needs, showing that you understand the new job’s requirements. Your example also illustrates your ability to collaborate — a key soft skill for this job.

Example 2: grant writer at an environmental research company

“I think I’m perfect for this job because I have completed a master’s degree in environmental policy and years of experience as a climate journalist. I’m a strong writer and know how to communicate complicated research to audiences outside of the field.

I once wrote a feature for a local news website about how trees can cool our city. It became one of our best-performing stories that week. 

Communicating complex ideas in clear language is important because many grant evaluators aren’t subject matter experts. They want to know what their money is funding, and I can help them connect the dots.”

Why it works: Here, your response draws attention to your technical abilities (writing), transferable skills from your last job (climate journalism), and expertise (master’s degree in a related field).

You also back up your claims with an example story, showing that you have past experience with the relevant subject matter. In the second part of your answer, you tie it all together by explaining why these skills will be helpful in the role.

Smiling-Female-Florist-Working-why-should-we-hire-you-answer

Example 3: administrative assistant at a seniors’ hospital

“Based on what I know about your organization, your patients, and what we’ve discussed so far, it seems like you need someone great with people, understands what families need, and knows how to handle sensitive information. 

As a previous volunteer at a local nursing home, I often worked with families to learn more about their grandparents to make their stay more comfortable. Once, a family told me they appreciated how much effort I put into learning about their grandma’s needs.”

Why it works: This response demonstrates that you’ve done your homework. You know the hospital deals primarily with older adults, so you highlight your experience with this type of patient and setting.

You also offer an example that shows your interpersonal skills with patients’ families because you’ll be booking appointments for them and interacting with them daily in your new job.

Tying it all together

Crafting the perfect “why should we hire you?” answer takes work. It requires a lot more than simply listing your key qualifications. You’ll have to release your inner student and study the job posting, learn about the company, and understand your own skills and competencies.

Businesswoman-addressing-a-meeting-why-should-we-hire-you-answer

Once you’ve done that, it all comes down to your presentation. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up. As the job seeker, it’s on you to paint a picture for your employer; help them see why you’re the best choice for the role. Pull it all together into a well-organized and thoughtful answer, and they'd be wrong not to give you a job offer.

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Published September 30, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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