You’re sitting in an office opposite the hiring manager. You’re all dressed up and talking through your strengths and weaknesses, trying to make yourself look proficient and humble at the same time.
As you’re wrapping up, the hiring manager asks one last question: why should we hire you?
This scenario can continue in one of these two ways: you can fumble for an answer, not quite sure what to say and come off as unsure of yourself or ill-prepared. Or, you can use some of these strategies to tell the hiring manager exactly what they need to hear to put you in the “yes” pile when looking over their candidates.
What does this question mean?
When a hiring manager asks that big question, what they really want to know is why you are a better candidate compared to the other interviewees.
From their perspective, there may be five or 10 potential hires of similar education and strengths. They want a reason to hire you, so this is the opportunity to concisely and truthfully explain how your skills will benefit their company and help them achieve their goals.
It should be noted that, whether they ask the question or not, you’d want to already angle the whole interview process in a way that demonstrates why you are a good candidate. However, it’s helpful to summarise or emphasise certain points, not launch into a long speech about your career and skillset.
Winning answers to “why should we hire you”
There is a formula you adapt to when answering this question, based on the specifics of your interview or the position you’re eyeing for:
1. Give results-driven examples
Rather than listing off your competencies, choose one or two salient examples of where your skills helped to achieve positive results in previous roles. You can then link these examples to the position you’re interviewing for.
This way, you can show the hiring manager that you have historically performed well and can do so in the future.
2. Emphasise interpersonal skills
Sometimes a job offer can come down to whether someone is willing to operate within a team. If you’re a strong candidate but don’t get along with coworkers, this can disrupt the workflow and productivity of the company.
Try to identify with the workplace culture and describe how you will fit into it. Is the team very professional or more relaxed?
The nature of the job will also determine how important the culture is – even if you’re not working closely with others, having a positive attitude to workplace communication may be the tipping point to get your application through.
3. Make your boss make money
Most positions you will apply for are for-profit, and even not-for-profit organisations need to make ends meet.
When the hiring manager asks why they should hire you, answer with a proposal or example of how you can increase profits for the company, make your boss’ life easier, or both.
Study the company’s social media, news articles, websites and public material to understand their progression over time and their goals for the future. Use this to inform your answer and discuss how you can help them achieve their goals.
4. Be enthusiastic, not just capable
Similar to workplace culture, you want to demonstrate that you are enthusiastic about the job, not just capable of performing tasks. Enthusiastic employees often go the extra mile, perform tasks to a higher standard, and contribute to a better workplace culture because they genuinely care about the goals of the company.
Your enthusiasm will mostly come through in your tone, though be careful not to get over-excited or come across as inauthentic.
Maintain an amiable and honest interest in the job, and discuss the responsibilities of the role that you’re excited to get into.
5. Be honest
This should go without saying, but it’s poor form to lie in a job interview.
When employers ask “why should we hire you”, above all, they want an honest answer, not deceptive rhetoric designed to land a position. If you lie about your skills, performance, or enthusiasm, these will all be picked up once you start working for the company and reflect poorly on your personal and professional integrity.
Starting on the right foot will mean you and your hiring manager are both satisfied with the decision and will hopefully open the doors to career progression within the company.