Job searching requires patience, practice, and finesse. From the moment where the hiring manager asks "tell me about yourself" to the moment where they ask "why should I hire you?", it requires you to say the right things to sell yourself. As an employer, I have screened and interviewed hundreds of potential employees. As a past interviewee, I have interviewed successfully and unsuccessfully for many different positions. Today, I want to help you be able to win in the job interview process to get your dream job.
Let's face it - the job interview process is all about answering this question: Why should I hire you over other qualified applicants?
If you've gotten past the résumé-review process, congratulations! The hiring manager is at minimum interested in you. Now, your job is to convince the interviewer why you are the perfect candidate based on skill sets, soft skills, and culture fit.
Every interview questions and answers factors into the final hiring decision. They are trying to figure out:
- What value can you bring to our company?
- Why are you a good fit for this job based on your skill sets?
- How are you different from the other applicants?
- How do your background and experience fit this role?
Why are you the perfect candidate that they're looking for?
If you believe you'd found a great company that you want to be a part of, be prepared to provide a list of the top reasons why you are the best fit for this position. Do your research on the company. Write down all the ways you are able to provide value to this company, along with all the historical track record to back it up. In short, you should always be ready to provide bullet points for why potential employers should choose you over everyone else.
What Are Hiring Managers Looking For?
To break this down in simple terms, the employer is looking for a person that:
- Fits in the culture and values of the company
- Adds value to the company
- Solves massive problems for the organization
Returns at minimum a 2x return on the salary + cost investment
Every hire adds risk to the company. Put yourself in the employers’ shoes: you need to commit a sum of time, money, and training for every employee you onboard. It's not cheap to hire employees. Every employee adds additional burn to the company's finite resources.
If the candidate performs well in their role, they will be adding massive value to the company's bottom line. If the candidate doesn't live up to their potential, the company and the candidate both suffer from the mismatch.
Your goal as the interviewee is to help your hiring manager see your upside for the company. Help them see you less as a liability. Make their job easier by hitting these following points:
- You are fully committed to the vision and mission of the company.
- You are in it for more than just the paycheck (especially if it's a startup)
- You will blend seamlessly into the team and add to the culture
- You have the blend of skills and experience to make you the best choice
- Hiring you will help accelerate the company's goals
You are going to remove problems and headaches off your employer's plate.
Tips for Answering "Why Should I Hire You?"
When planning for your answer to this question, make sure you are able to summarize the top three reasons of how you are the perfect candidate for the company based on the job's requirements. The key is to be able to concisely state strong and memorable reasons for why you are the best person for this job.
This is your opportunity to talk about your most impressive accomplishments and selling points. Make sure these bullet points are relevant to the organization you are interviewing with. Make sure you showcase the following:
- Your technical skills
- Your soft skills
- Your key accomplishments
- Experience in performing in similar jobs
- Awards for excellence in the field
Education and certifications
When you bring up concrete examples of accomplishments, this can help the employer see your upside potential. Aim to be a person that is providing outsized value. A powerful track record helps you become an enticing potential employee for any company. If you don't have any relevant experience, start committing long and hard unpaid hours to your own projects (or someone else's) to learn the right skills that set you apart.
Structure Your Interview Sales Pitch
When you are preparing for a job interview, research the company and learn what the job description entails. Look at your résumé and cover letters to create a career narrative based on your career path(s). Prepare to answer the following questions:
- From the employer's perspective, what are the most important qualities they are looking for in this job listing?
- What behavioral interview questions will they ask based on the values of this company?
- How can you explain why your background helps me win in this specific role?
- What are your key accomplishments in my career that are relevant to this role?
How can you differentiate from typical job seekers?
Create an interview checklist to make sure you are prepared. Practice for answering interview questions, whether in a phone interview format or in-person. Make sure you are so practiced that you are able to recall your answers with minimal effort.
Keep all your answers concise. You shouldn't be reading off a script. But you should be able to stay on-point and demonstrate your value. Focus on the qualities that set you apart and why you are the best person for the job.
Don't be a robot. Practice enough so you can recall your key accomplishments without the pressure of specific wording. Know your bullet points. Study them. Say it comfortably. It should always cover the main points you want to make.
Always aim to project enthusiasm and confidence to make a strong impression. Having the right attitude makes a huge difference against your competition. True passion is hard to fake. If you are aligned well with the company you are interviewing with, this shouldn't be too difficult.
Sample Answers For "Why Should We Hire You"
Here are some of the sample answers to help you give the "hire you" answer. Use these answers as interview tips to structure your own answer.
Example Answer for Product Manager:
"I have guided the product team of designers and software engineers towards creating a new product vertical that generates over $1M in new monthly revenue for the previous company I worked at. I'm confident that I can help create big results at your company. It's not just my track record of success, but my ability to create positive relationships with the designers, engineers, vendors, and unions. I love what your company is doing in your industry to move the needle forward. I am committed to driving high-quality work to help you win."
Why This Answer Works
The product manager interviewee was able to hit on their accomplishments while explaining how they have the technical and soft skills to help drive value.
This answer does a great job of helping potential employers see their upside. There is specificity. They gave concrete examples. They showed enthusiasm for the industry and the role. They projected confidence in their ability to deliver.
There is nothing wrong with passion, confidence, and the ability to execute on your position.
Example Answer for Software Engineer:
I felt like this job was created for me. I have the 4 years of programming experience you're looking for. I created a string of successful products at my previous startup that is used by tens of thousands of people. I am familiar with reporting to the senior managers and to the C-suite. I am well suited for building high visibility projects. I have experience in your tech stack and I can contribute value on day one. I love what you are doing in your industry. I am really excited about the prospect of getting started.
Why This Answer Works
The interviewee ties their experience and how it is relevant to the current role. They have products in the market that are used at scale. They are not uncomfortable with reporting to managers and c-suite. They also know the technology that is used by the company. This helps the hiring managers see that this person can contribute value early with little hand-holding.
Example Answer For College Grad Applying to Job on a Movie Production
I've always been comfortable around cameras. I've been paid for recording weddings, commercials, and indie films since I was 15. I understand all the stages of production, and I've most recently interned at America's Got Talent, where I learned how a big-time production runs. I have a reputation for getting my work done. People rely on me to deliver high-quality work with a positive attitude. I love working in the entertainment industry, and I am excited to learn in every way possible.
Why This Answer Work
The recent grad is able to convey their willingness to get their hands dirty. They show that they have a track record of getting things done. They've also had experience working in a bigger production. This helps de-risk the applicant. This kind of positive, can-do attitude helps instill a lot of confidence in their ability.
The key to landing a job is to have successful interviews with prospective employers. It doesn't take a career expert to know that you need to be highly prepared for every interview. Learn to apply to jobs that get you excited. Be prepared to answer the tough interview questions. Do your research on the companies you want to work for. Learn to ask thoughtful follow-up questions. By being the most prepared person in any situation, you will be able to succeed in the roles you perform. Build on your success. Be someone who's willing to get their hands dirty. If you follow these bits of advice, you will land the right job for you. Good luck, and prepare well!