The question ‘why should we hire you?’ is very common in a job interview – particularly in a sales driven interview where an employer will expect you to sell yourself to them. Even if you don’t get asked it directly, this is what your interviewer is trying to find out. It is therefore extremely important that you spend some time preparing an answer to this particular question, and considering the key reasons why you would be considered top talent for the company.
As well as being one of the most common interview questions, ‘why should we hire you?’ is also one of the most intimidating. However, if you get it right, this question offers you a fantastic opportunity to highlight key reasons why you make a good fit, and really sell yourself by summing up what sets you apart from the competition.
Think of the interview as a sales pitch. Your answer to this question should be a concise and powerful summary of what you can offer your potential employer. It is a relatively open-ended question, so it allows you to tackle it in the way that puts you in the best light possible. If you put in the work before the interview, this could be the question that lands you a job offer.
Why do interviewers ask ‘Why should we hire you?’
Interviewers can find out a lot about you by how you answer this question. Their job is not only to find a candidate who will be good at their job, but also a candidate that the company will be able to retain. Employers can tell very quickly between a salesperson just looking to jump from one job to the next, as opposed to someone who is genuinely searching for a stepping stone in their career.
Those candidates who care enough about the role to do their homework will be able to prove that they know exactly what the job entails and what skills are necessary for it. They will have a great understanding of the company culture, the type of person that would make the best fit for the role, and ideally would share the values of the organisation. The successful candidate will also be able to prove that they have the skills and qualities for the job (even if you are asked ‘sell me this pen’), and will prove to be a real asset to the company. They likely won’t have any issues expressing their interest in the role either.
How to answer ‘Why should we hire you?’
Your answer to this question should reiterate your top selling points in relation to the particular role you are interviewing for. It should contain two or three strong reasons which highlight your capability to do an excellent job, and set you apart from other candidates.
So how do you come up with this concise sales pitch to impress your interviewer? The best thing to do is to come up with a list of your top selling points, and then customise your answer for each job you interview for. For example, if you pick out half a dozen of your key attributes or experiences, you can then cross-reference these with each job description and choose the most relevant for each role.
The real trick with this question is to come up with something that no one else is going to say – it has to be unique. Do you have an extra qualification that goes above and beyond the requirements for the job? Have you had some experience that has given you an insight into the demands of this role?
Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing your answer:
- Keep it concise: your answer should be straight to the point – don’t skirt around it. It might be tempting to go in to intricate detail, but you could just be wasting you interviewer’s time, particularly if they are expecting a quick, relevant answer. A few well-chosen points will be much more powerful and memorable when the hiring manager is making their final decision.
- Stand out from the crowd: The chances are that you’re up against equally qualified candidates, so listing skills and experience isn’t going to get you very far at interview stage. Specific examples of when you put your sales skills into practice, whether it’s client management, problem solving or lead nurturing, you’ll need to provide examples that will strengthen your points.
- Confidence is key: If you sound like you believe you’re the best person for the job, it’s much more likely your interviewer will too. Have faith in your own ability and let this show in what you say – don’t forget too, body language is very useful here.
Once you’ve got your top selling points ready, prepare your answers as bullet points and practice, practice, practice. Always avoid scripting your answers word-for-word as this puts your answer at risk of sounding unnatural. It could also add extra stress if you try and memorise all of your answers. You need to make sure you can be flexible with your answers too, in case the interviewer phrases a question differently or asks something unexpected.
How not to answer
Being too modest: Leave your modesty at the door of all job interviews. No one else is going to tell the interviewer how great you are. If you struggle with this sort of thing, remember that you’re not bragging – your skills and achievements are facts. It might help to let your interviewer know the positive feedback you’ve had from others, if you feel uncomfortable shouting about yourself. Any awards won too etc. will strengthen your case.
Not providing examples: Don’t rattle off a list of skills without backing up your claims. Make sure you inject a bit of personality into your answer.
Rambling on and on: Giving a long and unstructured answer will make you come across as unprepared and indecisive. If your answers are longer than around two minutes, consider cutting any less essential parts. It’s important to remember that a successful interview will flow like a conversation – the interviewer needs a chance to speak too.
‘When I first read the job description, I was excited to see that you are looking for someone with management experience. I have managed a sales team for nearly three years now, as you can see from my CV. However, the real value of this experience is that it has allowed me to really discover my talent for working with people. I have been able to build and maintain useful relationships over the past three years which have been of a real benefit to the team that I manage. For example, I developed a relationship with a supplier that my team was able to take advantage of and it helped them hit their annual targets. I can see that this role will offer similar opportunities.
Why we like this answer: This candidate has identified the management aspect of the job as being particularly important. They have highlighted previous experience in a similar role but have also demonstrated how they have used their people skills to benefit their team in other ways.
‘Even though I am at the start of my career, I have worked hard to prepare myself for a role like this. What sets me apart as the right candidate for this job is the work experience that I completed at X. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there and learned a great deal. They were so impressed with my performance that they offered me a promotion to team leader. During this promotion, I had the opportunity of putting many of the skills required for this role into practice and it confirmed for me that this is the right career for me.’
Why we like this answer: This candidate is confident and the stand-out part of their answer is when they explain that they were offered a paid role after some work experience. This shows that an employer was also confident in their skills. Even if they don’t meet the whole criteria for the role, they have given the impression that they will be able to pick the necessary skills up quickly. It could be improved with some extra detail as to what skills they learned at the internship.
Social and Content Marketing Executive
Jenni is our Social and Content Marketing Executive. She has worked in recruitment since 2016 and regularly shares her expertise with our readers on the Simply Sales Jobs blog. Jenni is our resident CV expert, take a look at one of her role-specific templates and see how you can get yours into shape.
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