One interview question you should prepare for is, “Why should we hire you?”

But let’s talk about statistics first.

I am going to state the obvious here:

It’s not every day that you get called for an interview.

The job market is highly competitive, especially in certain fields of expertise.

  • If you have made it to the interview stage, you’re among a small percentage.
  • Some statistics tell us that 98% of job applicants don’t get an interview.

So, if you get a callback, consider yourself special.

And when you do get that call inviting you for an interview, it’s important that you know how to answer some basic interview questions.

“Why should we hire you?” is a very straightforward and direct question.

So, don’t be afraid to dish it back in the same manner.

At the same time, you want to avoid two primary things when answering.

  1. Avoid being too cocky
  2. Avoid being too modest

Before we delve into what this looks like, let’s talk about motive.

What does the employer really want to know by asking this question?

The Reason Behind the Question

Let’s face it, the whole interview is to answer this single question.

Your prospective employer wants to know why they should hire you among numerous job applicants.

So, when they ask, “Why should we hire you?” think of your response as the culmination of the previous answers you have given throughout the interview.

The employer wants to know:

  • Are you the best candidate for the position?
  • Why are you the perfect fit for the job?
  • What unique qualities would you bring with you? 

Whether they ask the question in those exact words, these are the questions you should prepare for.

Personally ask yourself the above questions.

Think about them so you are ready to give clear and candid reasons as to why you are the ideal candidate.

Remember that employers take a risk every time they hire a new employee.

  • It costs time and money to train a new employee.
  • If the new hire doesn’t pan out, that’s a loss for the company.
  • As such, you want to convince them that hiring you is a good decision, not a bad one.

Okay, now let’s return to the two things you want to avoid when you are asked this question.

Avoid Being Too Cocky

There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness.

If you are going to talk about how great you are, make sure you have proven metrics to back it up!

Let’s look at an example of how not to answer.

Bad response:

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Why should we hire you?

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Cocky employee:

Why should you hire me? I’ll tell you why… I am the best in the world at what I do. I have never met another person who can do their job as well as me. Even my last manager did not have the skills that I have. I could have easily done their job. So, if you want the very best, hire me!

Okay, you might laugh out loud when reading the above example.

After all, it is pretty extreme, but you might be surprised at just how overconfident some people are in their responses.

Avoid Being Too Modest

At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find people who are too modest.

They come across as afraid to let you know how talented they really are.

Again, let’s consider an example.

Bad response:

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Tell me why we should hire you.

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Modest employee:

Well, I feel that I am pretty good at my job. I try really hard and I think that you will be happy with your decision if you hire me.

The above response lacks confidence.

Being “pretty good” is probably not good enough in the mind of the interviewer.

The phrases “I feel” and “I think” also demonstrate a lack of conviction.

Example of a “Just Right” Answer

Clearly, the two above responses show the problem with going too far in either the direction of overconfidence or lack of confidence.

Instead, strive for a happy medium.

The recruiter is seeking simple confidence augmented by enthusiasm.

Oh, and specific details help, as in the following example.

Good response:

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Why should we hire you?

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Confident employee:

I believe you should hire me because I am a very fast learner and I know how to get the job done. I graduated with a four-year college degree in just over three years. In addition, I worked all throughout college, giving me years of experience. If you are looking to hire a recent grad, I can assure you that I am a motivated candidate who puts my all into every opportunity.

The above answer offers specific examples.

  • Graduated early with a four-year degree
  • Worked through the college years

It also gives a few qualities.

  • Motivated
  • Quick learner
  • Gets the job done

Tips To Answer This Question

1. Make a list of relevant information

  • Education and/or certification
  • Experience in the industry
  • Skills and training relevant to the position
  • Awards received

2. Organize the information in order of importance

  • Focus on a few key details
  • Avoid outlining a dozen accomplishments or strengths
  • Choose three or four memorable qualities/accomplishments/quantitative experiences

3. Practice your response

  • Don’t memorize a speech
  • This will come across as false
  • Leave room for impromptu changes/additions

Key Takeaways

It’s pretty obvious to see how the third response is better than the others.

At the same time, the above response is clearly from a recent graduate.

If you are an experienced executive or an established employee, you should mention specific, relevant details.

  • Highlight your experience
  • Offer quantitative data, if possible
  • Add information about the unique qualities you bring to the table

In short, being overly modest never got anyone anywhere (and neither has acting obnoxiously cocky).

Whatever personality type you are, try to find a happy balance when answering this question.

The goal here is to reassure the employer that you are a great fit for the position, without doubting yourself or sounding arrogant.

If you can do this, you are sure to answer, “Why should we hire you?” with great success!