How do you successfully answer the “Why should we hire you?” question?

The recruiter smiles and nods. Everything is going great, and your confidence is swelling when you're asked: “Why should we hire you?” 

Your heart beats faster, and you stumble over your words as you try to think of an intelligent, strong answer to make a lasting impact, all while wishing you'd taken the time to consider how to answer “Why should we hire you?” before you were sitting in the hot seat. 

Answering questions during an interview is tough and makes the best of us sweaty in the palms, but the kicker is when a recruiter asks why they should hire you. You might also hear different interviewers ask this question in a number of ways, such as:

Well ... why should you be hired? When answering any version of this question, you want to make sure you sell yourself. This answer is your spotlight, your solo during the concert, and your opportunity to really show the company why you are a great fit. 

So, how should you answer this popular interview question? In this post, we cover:

  • Why employers ask this question

  • Tips on how to answer “Why should we hire you?” to help you strengthen your response

  • How to answer “Why should we hire you?” sample responses 

  • What not to say or do when considering how to answer “Why should we hire you?”

Why do employers even ask this interview question?

Recruiters craft interview questions in a way that will help them gain a deeper understanding of you and your abilities. Each question is carefully designed to reveal a skill or quality desired by the company. When asking, “Why should we hire you?” recruiters want you to pull it all together. Tell them exactly what value you will bring to the company, and how you will bring success and growth. In other words, hit them up with your elevator pitch, carefully tailored for the role at hand. 

To break it down, the interviewers want to know:

  • Your qualifications and skills. When you're able to highlight that you have the qualifications and skills the employer is seeking in a job candidate, it's one step forward to effectively answering the question. 

  • Your work experience and accomplishments. Providing examples of quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the new job tends to speak wonders to the interviewer. 

  • What motivates you. When you talk about your passions and why you're excited to land the position in conjunction with how you can add value,  it can help highlight that you're a well-rounded candidate – you not only have the qualifications and experience, but also have the ability to support a positive work environment and fit well within a team. 

  • What sets you apart. Employers want to know your perspective about what differentiates you from the other job candidates they're considering for the position. 

What are the benefits of answering the question well?

When answering “Why should we hire you?” you have the opportunity to truly sell yourself and pitch why you'd be a valuable addition to the company. How you answer this question can leave a lasting impression on the hiring team to determine if you will or will not continue to the next step in the application process. As such, when you take the time to craft and provide a solid answer, the more likely you are to move forward to the next stage of interviews or receiving an offer. 

Tips on how to answer “Why should we hire you?”

It takes some thoughtful consideration to ensure you respond to interview questions effectively and in a way that allows you to pack the most punch in a short amount of time. Here are several tips to support you in crafting a response, as well as how to share your response with the best possible outcome during the interview when answering, “Why should we hire you?” 

Explain why you're a good fit for the job and company

Employers want to hear how you are qualified for the position, why you would be a good fit for the company, and how you will assist in development and growth. Consider questions like:

  • What skills do you have and what are specific examples of past work achievements that are applicable and highlight why you're a good fit for the company? 

  • How do you align with the organization's culture and mission?

Be honest

Applying honesty and accuracy is the way to navigate your answer. Don't sugarcoat your answer or exaggerate your abilities. Recruiters want to hear the truth. Also, similar to not wanting to get caught in a lie during the interview, you don't want to get caught in a lie stated during your interview after you get hired - getting caught in a lie could result in termination. 

Be confident, not cocky

Though trying to sell yourself without sounding arrogant might seem difficult, it is possible. Aim to be focused and direct by highlighting how you possess the key qualifications the company values to succeed on the job and that you'll make a great fit for the company culture. In other words, highlight your skills and accomplishments and tie them into the company's desired qualifications without being one of those people. You know the kind — the self-praisers who talk so highly of themselves that no one wants to be around them. 

With that said, when responding to this question, avoid saying things like, “Because I'm awesome!” or “Because I'm better than the other applicants.” Not only are these responses arrogant; they provide no evidence to back up your claims. Confidence is ideal and can be an attractive quality, but too much is a definite no-no.  

Create a list of your best qualifications and achievements

The best way to prepare a response to this interview question is to make a list of the top qualifications necessary for the positions you're pursuing. For example, if you're targeting roles in management, your list may include skills in leadership, team development, and relationship building. Your list will vary depending on your career goals and position level, but you should be able to draft a basic overview of the necessary traits for the types of jobs you're interested in.

Then, go back and take note of how you possess each of the required skills on your list. It's one thing to say you're a great leader, but it's much better when you can provide proof of your leadership skills. For instance, you may have completed a leadership course, received an award at work for your leadership skills, or earned a promotion because of your abilities. Better yet, you may be able to point to an accomplishment your team achieved under your leadership, such as exceeding their sales quota or becoming the top-performing region.

Customize your interview answer based on the job requirements

After you have a basic response regarding your accomplishments and qualifications: 

  1. Review the company profile to tie everything in with the job description.

  2. Look over the job description you originally applied to. The job description will have a minimum qualifications area, as well as a preferred qualifications section.

  3. From there, write out a list of all the matching qualifications you have and draft a simple, yet impactful response. 

Tie in how you align with the company's values

To gain some points with the interview and make your answer even stronger, tie in how some of the values from the company's mission and vision statements tie into yours. You can do this by reviewing the about us, or mission page, on the company's website and highlighting where your values align with the company's. This approach not only shows how well you might fit within the company culture, but also indicates you took the time to research the company before the interview.

Use plenty of data

Quantifying the results you help an organization achieve can really support you in standing out from other job candidates. If you led the team in sales, by what percentage? If you launched a major project for the company, how much was the project, what were the results, and how many team members did you lead? If you helped to increase customer satisfaction ratings, how did you do it, and what percentage of an increase was experienced?

When you provide interviewers with data to back your achievements, it helps them better visualize your ability to succeed in the future if you should land the position. 

Identify what sets you apart

Another important element to consider when pondering how to answer “Why should we hire you?” is the type of value you bring to the table compared to other job candidates. Questions to help you with this component might be:

  • How are you unique in comparison? 

  • What's something different that you bring to the table? 

  • What qualities do you have that support you in standing out? 

  • In what areas have you received high marks on past performance reviews and feedback by managers and peers?

Use enthusiasm

If you sound like you don't care or are apathetic when you respond to the question of why the employer should hire you, do you think they'll be excited or trust you're a good candidate? Probably not. The employer wants to know you're excited to work for them without hesitation, so let that show when you answer this question - use an upbeat tone with a dash of enthusiasm to avoid seeming uninterested. At the same time, you don't want to go over the top or to the extreme, as it could come across as being inauthentic or desperate.

How to answer “Why should we hire you?” sample responses

Below are a few examples of how to craft your response to the interview question, “Why should we hire you?”:

  1. “I believe I should be hired because, after researching your company, I really feel I would be a great fit. Not only do we share the same values, but I possess several of the qualifications mentioned in the job description. I have the education, experience, and have accomplished [x, y, and z]. I really feel I could help your company to grow and develop by bringing my years of experience and expertise in the industry to the table.”

  2. “I believe my accomplishments speak for themselves. I've led and developed teams and grew revenues, which the job description stated is desired. Not only am I a great fit in terms of experience and education, but I have used your [product or service] and believe in it. I would love to be a part of the changes your company brings to the industry.”

  3. “I believe I would be a great fit, because I've researched your company values and mission, and I believe in the same values. I also love this industry and really want to leave my mark with a company going places, and I feel your company is going places based on what I've read. I have the education and skills you desire and the drive to accomplish significant goals.”

How to answer “Why should we hire you?”: what NOT to say

Now that you know ways to effectively answer the “Why should we hire you?” question, let's take a look at some of the things you should not do or say. 

  • Going on for too long.As with any interview question, it's best to keep your answer focused and concise - aim for no more than a couple of minutes to avoid rambling or losing the interviewer's attention.

  • Talking about money. Though money is an important aspect of employment, hiring managers want to know that you're motivated by more than just money. As such, avoid talking about salary or providing an answer like “to get a decent salary and make money” when answering “Why should we hire you?” 

  • Being indifferent. If you don't know why an employer should hire you, they won't have much confidence in you as a candidate, and they'll wonder why you applied for the job in the first place. Therefore, answering with “I don't know” is not an acceptable response if you want to move forward in the interview process. It will appear like you don't have much confidence in your abilities or lack self-awareness. 

  • Mentioning benefits and perks. Similar to not discussing money, it's best to avoid speaking about the company's benefits and perks when answering this question. Though having benefits and perks is an important aspect of employment for most, it's not a reason employers would hire you. 

  • Acting overly confident. This was touched on a bit previously, though it's worth mentioning again. Avoid being overly confident or arrogant during your interview when answering any interview question. When you're arrogant or cocky, it's often a red flag that indicates you might not work well in a team environment and that you have an inflated sense of self.

  • Coming across as desperate. Coming across with desperation will not win you any pointers during an interview. Though the interviewer might feel for you if you respond with an answer like “because I really need a job right now,” it's not a reason for them to hire you.

  • Exaggerating. Another item that was touched on previously, it's important to be honest in your responses. Though embellishing your results might be tempting, avoid doing this. When you do, the interviewer will often be able to tell that you're not being authentic. Bear in mind that you landed the interview based on the qualifications you presented with your job marketing tools, like your resume, so trust that. There's no need to exaggerate your qualifications or experience in any way. 

  • Providing a generic response. The goal is to make a positive impression, not confuse the interviewer or make them question your motivation and goals by giving a generic answer. Your response needs to be specific to you and align with the job description and what the organization is seeking. For example, “I've been told this type of position would be good for me, and I have some experience in the area, so I decided to give it a go” is very weak and provides very little valuable information to the employer. 

How to answer “Why should we hire you?”: final thoughts

Figuring out how to answer “Why should we hire you?” during a job interview isn't as scary as it seems. Do your research, draft an initial response, edit your draft based on the specific job description, and practice delivering your answer to this interview question. Go into interviews feeling confident, but not too confident. Know why you are a great fit and don't be afraid to tell a recruiter why you think so.

Need to practice for your next job interview? Learn more about our interview coaching services!

This article was originally written by Felicia Tatum and was updated by Ronda Suder.

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