Strategies to answer “why should we hire you”
Let’s face it. If you are going to a job interview, you only get a short time to make a great first impression. In the first five minutes or less, the interviewer or team will quickly develop a sense of whether you believe that you should get the job. They will consider how you carry yourself, smile, talk, use confident body language, lean forward, and seem comfortable in their presence. They will pay attention to more of what you have to say if you can be calm, personable, and present your qualifications in a matter-of-fact way. If you are selling yourself as the right candidate, then the words you actually say won’t be that important.
Here are three honest and thoughtful ways you can respond to this common interview question:
1. I have many years of direct experience performing this exact job.
If you have worked in an exact position, share confidently how you’ve performed the essential duties. It should be easy to provide examples of how you’ve succeeded in the past, especially when answering problem-based questions. There will also be other kinds of questions dealing with the organisational culture. After asking a couple of questions, be sure to explain why their particular workplace culture and team assignment will be best for you at this stage of your career.
2. I have some past experience related to this job.
The interviewer may not see how your work history relates to this position, especially if it was not in your current or previous job. Reference the point at which you did this kind of work and how those skills are still evident in what you do now.
3. I am a career changer with specific skills that will help me quickly learn this job.
This response requires you to show that you read the job description, have analysed your own qualifications, and understand why you should be hired. Focus on addressing two or three specific skills well, explaining how you honed them and why they are needed here. Don’t list multiple skills and expect the interviewer to take your word for it.
Remember, you are trying to sell yourself, but you aren’t. On the one hand, you want your interviewer to feel a connection with you. Therefore, be outgoing if you can and keep the conversation flowing even when the interviewer doesn’t. It’s your job to help this “boss” or colleague feel at ease and to imagine working with you.
The other piece is representing yourself as an authentic professional who can integrate well into the new culture. If you overrepresent what you can do, your shortcomings would quickly become apparent to the boss. If you underrepresent what you can do, you might not get the job.
The best job applicants walk into a room and put their interviewer at ease. Any conversation that occurs has a natural dynamic, the two parties learn something about each other, and there is no anxiety. As a jobseeker, you can also be assertive, choosing not to go into detail about the things you don’t want to. You can also end the interview early if it’s not a good fit. If you can pull that off, you’ll be a strong candidate for the job.