How to tackle the dreaded question "Why should we hire you?" in your next interview
Dealing with one of the most complex questions of any interview
"Why should we hire you?"
This is another of those questions everyone interviewing hates. It spread from traditional jobs into the tech world, and even software developers have to deal with it.
But you can turn this into a huge win, and this article shows you how.
Why is this question asked?
Like any of those pretty cliché questions regularly asked in interviews, interviewers try to determine whether you are a good fit. Your hard skills might have been assessed already or will be soon, but this one is about your character.
Even before the term EQ (emotional intelligence) became popular, there was more to employees than only the skills they brought with them. People are human. They have a character. And they need to get along with other people.
What interviewers try to assess here is how good you can sell yourself. And even more, they want to find out HOW you sell yourself. Interestingly, it can tell you a lot about someone else when you listen to how they talk about themselves. Is the candidate super arrogant? Are they introverts? Don't they find the words to describe themselves? Do they only speak in superlatives? Yea, you are somehow being profiled when you are asked to answer this question.
With the answers you give, experienced HR managers can create a rough profile of you. They see whether you fit into the company culturally and how well you would fit into certain teams. It also tells a lot about how interested in the company itself you actually are. If you only talk about how awesome you are but never even mention how awesome your work would be for the company and how much you would like to contribute, you make a bad impression.
How to deal with this question
If you want to make the most out of this question, you should do these two things:
- Prepare yourself before the interview
- Listen to the interview(s) closely, up to the point this question is asked
Prepare yourself before the interview
Your goal is most likely to get this job or see whether it is really something for you. No matter what your motivation is, prepare yourself as if you really wanted to get this job. If you find out that you actually want this job during the interview, you might be unprepared for a question like this and thus not come up with a great answer. No one likes missed chances. Especially not if they could have been avoided.
What you should do:
- Write down what you really look for in a job
- Double-check the job ad and see how good of a fit you are
- Check the company's background: What do they do? What do they tell about themselves?
- Look for company reviews on the internet, both from customers and employees
- Use a table or another form of notation to compare who you are with what the company is
- Craft an honest story that references the most important points where you and the company match
This might seem much now, but let's go over it:
You should first make clear for yourself what you are really looking for.
- What would make you go to work every day?
- What would keep you motivated?
- What does a job have to offer you, so you are happy?
Then see what the company states it is looking for. This is usually the job ad. Keep in mind that those are never perfect and should not be taken as the whole truth. But they are a good indicator.
Next, look up what the company really stands for.
- How do they represent themselves?
- What image do they present, and what do they do for society?
- What are their values?
You want to make sure that your values align with theirs. Marketing is one thing, but the truth usually lies deeper. A company can write anything they want on their website and in press releases. But what do customers and employees say when they review the company? Is there more you can learn about them?
The next step is a little more difficult. You should somehow try to find out how well the company and you align. Do you match their criteria, and do they match yours? A table, like a pro/contra list, can help. But perhaps there is something that works better for you. Just make sure you have something written somewhere, black on white, so you don't try to cheat yourself.
With all this information at hand, you can craft a story about why exactly YOU are a good fit for the company and why they should hire exactly YOU. This story should answer: What do you bring to the table that helps them, and what can they do for you? Feel free to write multiple sentences already. This helps you learn the core of it up to the point that you could also answer this question freely during the interview. If bullet points serve you better, that's also fine.
Listen to the interview(s) closely, up to the point this question is asked
Interviews usually bring up a lot of additional information you didn't know about previously. Perhaps you couldn't find it online, or it simply wasn't there. I can only recommend you take notes during an interview. This way, you have all this information at hand when you need it. Perhaps the interviewer tells you about an employee education program that they didn't list on their website. Or perhaps they tell you about their engagement in local communities, or even better, a new field they want to get their feet wet in.
If something is interesting for you in it, definitely use it to your advantage. As soon as the question of why they should hire you comes up, you can use exactly this as one of the reasons they should hire you. You can sell them your honest interest in a certain topic as a reason to hire you. Why? Because it shows your ambition.
"I can give you several reasons why you should hire me. First of all, I tick many boxes regarding hard skills as I have some extended experience. For the rest, I can assure you that I will quickly catch up with these. I've already shown that I am a fast and avid learner in the past, and I plan that this won't be any different at your company. The next reason is that I deeply care for the cloud. Most of my personal work is based on it. I would love to bring my expertise in this field into the company and see whether I can help you advance there further. I would even go so far as to say that I am very motivated to become a core contributor to this field in your company within the next two years. Another reason is your engagement with your local community. I also regularly engage in my local community and think that our values align perfectly here. Perhaps I could help with my expertise and could equally learn from yours. During our interview, you mentioned that you currently try to rebuild your education program. As a content creator on the internet, I would really love to help with my expertise. I think I can contribute a lot to this area. And lastly, I believe that we have had an awesome interview so far and seem to align quite well. For me, we seem like we fit well culturally, and I'd love to be able to thrive in the one that you carefully built."
This is only an example, but it should give an interviewer nearly anything they could ask for.
- It gives them not one but multiple reasons to hire you
- It shows your ambition
- It showcases your interest to contribute
- It states you listened to the interview
Keep one thing in mind: Your answer doesn't need to be perfect. But it should tick many of the boxes interviewers are looking for. Sell yourself as the best hire and make sure they understand that you think they are the best company for you right now.
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