It’s fair to say that when you are interviewing, the hiring manager is trying to determine if you are a good fit for the position.
But being a good fit alone won’t cut it.
After all, plenty of other applicants will also be good fits!
They need to determine how you rank up against the other candidates.
Sometimes the hiring manager asks for some help in making a decision about how you would measure up against other applicants.
How do they get your opinion on this matter?
They actually ask during the interview.
The question might sound something like this:
- Why should we hire you over other candidates?
- Why do you feel you are the best person for this position?
- What unique things would you bring to this job?
- How are you the right fit for this opening?
Out of all the interview questions that you might be asked, one along these lines is arguably the most important.
"Why should we hire you over other candidates?" is not an easy question to answer by any means.
One of the problems with this question is that 99% of the time, you have no idea who the other candidates are!
How are you to compare yourself to people you don’t know?!
The reason behind the question
First of all, why are they even asking you this question?
The recruiter or hiring manager basically wants to know this:
Can you confidently explain why you are a good fit for the position?
Yes, it's that straightforward.
This is good news!
With a little preparation (and your best “pump up jam”), you should be able to kill this question!
(Check out this article for more on job interview prep, Preparing For A Job Interview – What To Bring, What To Wear, & More.)
Keep it short and sweet
I am sure you can come up with a long list explaining why you are a superior candidate who will outshine the competition.
But you don't have time for a doctoral thesis here.
In fact, it is much more effective to pick a few points and elaborate on each.
This will ensure that you leave a lasting impression.
Additionally, the hiring manager will not feel overwhelmed and forget all of your good points.
Make a list of your best qualities and achievements.
These should focus on the following areas:
- Your experience in the industry
- Your skills (both technical and "soft" skills)
- Specific accomplishments
- Relevant awards you have received
- Specific training in the field
By doing this, you should be able to narrow the list down easily.
Try to quantify your accomplishments when possible.
Having numbers and percentages will go a long way towards making a great argument for you as a candidate.
Just remember that confidence is key here.
No matter what you say in the interview, say it with the utmost confidence.
You don’t need to know about your competition to be confident you are the best one for the job.
Own it, and that will take you a long way!
How do you build up your confidence?
In short, take time to practice your response to the interview question, "Why should we hire you over other candidates?"
Be specific for each interview
It is very important that you create a specific pitch for each company that you are applying for.
If you don’t, believe us when we say that the other candidates will, which might cause you to be passed up.
How can you get ahead in this when crafting your response?
- Use the job requirements/qualifications section of the job post
- This can help you narrow your chosen points of focus
- Choose which relevant qualities and experiences you should elaborate on
- Think of experiences you have that may be useful to the company
The skills and qualities you come up with might go beyond the job qualifications, and that's okay.
Also, try to describe the future you see with the company.
Explaining how your skill set will help you advance can be very helpful.
That does not mean you say something like, “Once hired, I’m heading straight to the top!”
If you are strategic with your approach, you will be able to present a well-worded pitch that is both memorable and informative.
To help you craft a response, ask yourself these questions:
- What points in the job description are the most important skills to have?
- What areas do I have the most relevant and impressive skills?
- Which qualities should I highlight?
- What would set me apart from other candidates?
Practice what you "preach"
This probably goes without saying, but don’t spew a bunch of irrelevant information that you cannot back up.
The recruiter will pick up on it if you go off the deep end with your answer.
Stick to what you know and the strong points of your experience.
As long as you take the time to prepare, you'll be on the right track!
However, although preparation is very important, you do not want to answer this question like you are reading it from a script.
Memorize the most important points.
That way, you can elaborate effectively while delivering your response.
Putting all this information together, let's look at an example of a solid answer to this interview question.
Recruiter: “Why should we hire you over other candidates?”
Candidate: "Having spent time considering the job description, I am confident that I have both experience and skills in the areas of expertise that you are seeking.
I believe this production management role would fit perfectly with my background leading similar projects over the past 12 years.
I also noted the need for superior public relations skills. I genuinely enjoy working with people, and have developed positive relationships with employees and managers across every level of the industry.
Finally, having a career in this industry is my passion, and I am highly motivated to perform quality work."
Let us help
The most important goal is to separate yourself from the other candidates by making your answer memorable and staying confident.
Need some extra help in any aspect of your job search?
Let our professional assistance give you the help you need to land your dream job.