Play along we me here; you’re sailing along in the interview and feeling pretty confident about your chances so far. Then, nearing the end of the process you’re asked by one of the people on the panel, “Why should we hire you?”
Now this question can take various forms. It could be they say, “Why are you the right person for the job?” or “What makes you the perfect candidate over the others?” However they phrase it to you, this is opportunity knocking, and your chance to either wow them or leave them wondering how you got through the screening in the first place.
This is your chance to shine Sunshine. If the job is one you really want, you’ll be doing an imaginary fist pump at this point and your brain will silently scream, “Yes!” because you’ve been looking for a chance to tell them exactly how much you want this job and communicating genuine enthusiasm for the position will come naturally to you. Why? Because you really want this job and the fit with your skills, interests and qualifications is matched with the personal suitability.
If on the other hand, you hear them ask, “Why should we hire you?” and you’re doubtful that you are in fact the best person for the job because it’s not your dream position, you’re brain might not scream, “Yes!” but rather, “Good question..”
Okay so let’s look at the possibilities. First and foremost you want your body language to communicate some real excitement for the work you’ll be doing. You’ll want this enthusiasm for the work to be transmitted in your posture, your voice and your content.
Move your behind to the front 1/3 of the chair you’re seated in. You don’t want to be on the verge of falling off or getting in the personal space of the interviewer, but you do want to engage and look assertive as you deliver your answer.
Plant your feet solidly on the floor, smile and make solid eye contact; not the “I’m boring into the rear of your skull, mind-probing, wide-eyed crazy look, just good solid eye contact. The smile is important because you should be thinking happy thoughts as you relate why you should be hired. Your ever-so-close to getting this job you really want, and the excitement of just thinking about that should come across in a radiant smile. You want this job and it makes you happy just imagining it. What employer doesn’t want happy workers?
Okay, so you’re seated properly, your leaning forward slightly and you’re smiling. You’ve taken care of the non-verbal body language that is going to support the words coming out of your mouth. Great. Now remember one thing before you get to this point; the question, “Why should we hire you?” is not the same as the question, “Why do you want this job?” The first question is about how the company would benefit and the second question is more about why you personally would benefit. This process has never been about what you want but about fitting an employer’s needs so they are stronger overall with you than without you.
The research you do before ever getting to the interview will help you here. Know why the position was created if you can. Are they expanding or downsizing, are you there to fill a short-term need like a pregnancy leave or will you be in for the long-term on a permanent basis? Are they looking for someone to come in, work hard and go home or are they looking for a problem-solver who can turn things around? If you can identify the above, you’ll know the way to strategically answer this question and tackle it from the right point of view.
The second thing you should think about is that you can’t possibly know who you are up against; well most of the time anyhow. So comparing yourself to what you imagine to be your competition isn’t a good move. You don’t have the knowledge the interviewer(s) do so you don’t want to bring competitors into the conversation when this is your time. Focus on what makes you great.
Be authentic in your response. Here’s why I’m the perfect fit for you at this time. This ladies and gentleman, is not the time to remember what mom said when she told you, “Nobody likes a person who talks about how great they are.” Forget that advice. This is precisely the time for you to not brag but rather MARKET yourself as the best option to choose to meet the needs of the employer.
Break your answer into these pieces: Your education and experience, your personal suitability and what makes you unique. No one after all has had the same path to get to this point. So what have you done or accomplished that stands out, that gives you a unique perspective, that you could draw on in this position which would help you do the job better.
The absolute worse thing you can do is not think about this question until you are asked it in an interview and then count on your good looks and charm to wing it off the cuff. It may sound fabulous to you, but it probably comes across as spontaneous and like you’re thinking about it for the first time. Not good.
So, why do you want this job?