A tough job interview question

guest column Emmanuel Zvada

The question, why should we hire you, is a loaded one and with it you can get the job depending on how best you tackle it.

Every company has a certain type of person in mind when interviewing and as a result they normally select the person who best exemplifies the specific qualities they are looking for.

Employers ask this question to learn and know what differentiates you from other candidates as well as to see if you are the best fit for them. To sell yourself properly, you first have to know what they want to buy and offer them exactly that. In other words, you have to identify their needs and adjust to them in your response.

What do the interviewers want to hear from you?

Employers ask many diverse questions during an interview; the reason being they only have a limited time to assess whether or not you might be a good fit for the role or not. When it comes to why they should hire you, interviewers will be asking you directly to come up with points of differentiation in your background.

In fact, they are giving you the opportunity to sell yourself accordingly, and this will be the perfect opportunity for you to pitch yourself one last time to your potential employer and reinforce the idea that you are the perfect candidate.

Normally, when the panellist asks the question why they should we hire you, they want to hear that you could help their company prosper, and they want to hear that you actually care about their business much more than you care about yourself.

Moreso, they also have a desire to know your motivation to work hard as well as trying to understand the value you can bring to their team.

If you present yourself in a way that will make them see value in you, then it obviously means chances are high that you will be the best candidate in that interview.

When responding, always remember to answer each interview question behaviourally, whether it is a behavioural question or not.

The coolest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience while you are responding, and inaddition to that, you can as well focus on your education, work experience, skills, aptitudes and abilities which differentiate you from your competition as it can enhance your chances of being selected.

Whatever you say in responding to this question needs to be backed with examples that show how you are the best person for the position. In all your responses, you should be geared towards meeting the employer’s needs, not your personal needs.

In actual fact, in answering “why should we hire you?” you have the opportunity to provide a solution to any potential problems that the company you are applying to might be facing.

Tie your background to the job posting

It is advisable that you tie your bacground to the job posting. Obviously, this is done when you have studied the job posting before the interview session.

To understand the specific skills, qualities and experience employers are looking for in an ideal candidate, you are supposed to review the job posting and understand it.

You should pay special attention to the job description as well as key requirements, experience and education. After that, find how best your skills, experiences and qualities fit to what the employer is looking for.

Quantify your accomplishments.

You can quantify accomplishments by measuring your company against other companies or measuring your position in the company against that of your co-workers.

Making your experience measurable is a sure way to get ahead, and quantifying your accomplishments tends to catch people’s eyes, including recruiters during interviews.

When possible, support your accomplishments with numerical results. For example, if you are applying for a job as an accountant at a company that is looking for someone to streamline processes, you might explain that at your previous company, you implemented a new process that reduced time and saved such amounts.

When you quantify your accomplishments, you make it easy for a prospective employer to see the kind and value of work you can do for their organisation.

Explain what you have that others don’t.

The trick here is to set yourself apart, and you can do this by answering this question by highlighting a unique trait that you have that will contribute positively to the position.

Explain how your unique experience, skills and attributes make you the best fit for the job as it pertains to the company and position for which you are applying.

You should address each of the requirements listed in the job posting, as well as any additional qualities that make you a great fit.

Point out that you have a lot of related experiences, especially if your previous work experience is the same as the one you are applying for.

You could emphasise that you are already trained to do the job, at the same time enumerating the appropriate skills you possess that may be needed for the position.

State your current achievements

If your interviewer asks you this question, consider yourself lucky. The reason for that is, it is the perfect opportunity to talk about your most impressive experience.

Unfortunately, most candidates waste this wonderful opportunity because they are not even prepared and as a result they end up bragging about themselves, which is not even necessary.

You may mention about a company problem you have previously solved, or a programme you have launched which increased the company’s profit. You may also mention some huge projects that you were appointed to do and how you contributed to its success.

Give testimonials and supportive referrals.

Generating customer referrals is one of the most powerful tool which can enable you to earn favourable scores. You may say your former boss has always commended you as a hardworking, smart employee. You may also state that your colleagues and co-workers found you easy to get along with.

Human resources managers are aware of the benefits of leveraging employee referral programmes to cost-effectively recruit, speed the time to hire and secure top talent to fill hard-to-fill positions.

In fact, there are many ways of giving referrals that can make you land the job if they are called to give a testimony about you.

What to avoid saying when answering

Never talk too much during an interview as the interviewer may think that you are arrogant and can, therefore, misjudge your attitude. Most candidates normally say that “I can be an asset to your company”.

This sounds good, but it is so common and vague as it will leave questions. You should also avoid saying “you should hire me because I am the best”.

This might just annoy the interviewers. You may be the most qualified for the post, but it is not the proper way of saying it to the interviewers, especially when you do not know the qualifications of other prospective employees.

The interview question “Why should we hire you?” is a question that is always asked.

To answer it better, think smart, and respond in a way which sells you to the prospective employer. Your response will give the interviewer the basis on whether to hire you or not.

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