What Does an Employer Really Mean When Asking "Why Should We Hire You?"
“Why should we hire you?” is a question frequently asked in job interviews, but what’s really behind the question, and how should you respond to it? The unspoken part of this question is: “Why should we hire you [above all the other candidates]?” This is your chance to shine, to truly deliver a sales pitch for yourself. The employer will make a significant investment in hiring and training you, so assure the interviewer that this investment will be justified. For example, you could say:
“Like other candidates, I have the ability to do this job. But beyond that ability, I offer an additional quality that makes me the very best person for the job – my drive for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting every part of myself into achieving it. Throughout my career, I have consistently strived to become the very best I can become. [Give an example or two.] The success I’ve attained in my clinical-research positions is the result of possessing the qualities you’re looking for in an employee.”
Finish your response by expressing your strong interest in the position; the employer should hire you because you sincerely want to work there.
Keep in mind the importance of the question and your response. Even if the question is not explicitly asked, hiring managers still want the answer to it. Thus, look for an opportunity to present the content you prepared in response to this question in case it’s not asked. Interviewers usually give you a chance to ask questions or make a final statement. Use your “why you should hire me” presentation there if the question is not asked.
Structuring the “Why Should We Hire You?” response
As with most oral presentations, a standard opening, body, conclusion approach works well:
- Succinctly open by introducing your rationale for being hired. Candidates often acknowledge in their openers that the employer is interviewing several people, as in this example
“I know I’m an excellent and well-qualified candidate, but I recognize that I’m only one of many candidates interviewing for this position. Let me share a couple of the reasons you’ll be happy you hired me."
- Provide in the body of the presentation the information you promised in the beginning. Follow through with your plan to share reasons the employer should hire you:
“The evolution of my career demonstrates that I can make an immediate and positive contribution in this position. Through hard work and diligence, my professional career has been a bit of a rag-to-riches story. When I first started working full-time after college, I took an entry-level job as a company associate intern at a major pharmaceutical company. From the beginning, I was motivated to be much more. I worked my way up through the ranks into the positions of sales representative, area sales representative, and then senior sales executive.
My progressive learning process was not based on theory picked up in a classroom; I gained knowledge through actually researching and performing essential job-related functions. Primarily, I am a fast learner, and if hired, I intend to minimize your training and hiring costs, because I have always been motivated to learn, even if it means personally investing my time and resources as part of the process.”
- Reiterate what you’ve told them in the conclusion. Summarize the primary reasons for hire, as in this example:
“Because you want someone who can drive your national sales organization to greatness, you need someone like me who can hit the ground running and replicate previous results. I hope to be seriously considered for the position, and I await your decision and call.”
Employers’ motivation for asking
- It’s often asked toward the end of an interview to give the job seeker an opportunity to “close the deal” with the employer.
- The interviewer may seek to assess a candidate’s ability to effectively summarize his or her qualifications.
- The question may be one of several ways an employer checks whether you’ve “done your homework” – in other words, thoroughly researched the employer’s organization.
- Even beyond simply having researched information about the hiring organization, many employers want you to paint a picture for them of how you would fit in. They want to know if you’ve thought about why you’d be a good match for their needs.
What is the WRONG way to respond to “Why Should We Hire You?”?
- With a generic response, such as, “because I’ll work hard and do a good job” or “because I’m the best candidate,” without offering any evidence of your claim.
- With a me-first response such as, “Because I really need the job ...” Your response should always be employer-centric.
Tips for a successful “Why Should We Hire You?” response
Think about how you will make a difference to the employer’s mission. For example, your research reveals that the employer touts its delivery of world-class patient care as a way it differentiates itself from its competitors). Your response must enable the interviewer to envision you performing the role and contribute to this mission.
The “Why Should We Hire You?” can be your opening for your Unique Selling Proposition or USP, a common term in marketing, sales, and advertising. Your USP is your capsule description of what makes you uniquely qualified for this job. What can you bring to this job that no one else can?