The question comes up in nearly every interview. It might be phrased in any number of ways, but every interviewer is going to ask, in some form: Why should we hire you?
The most important thing to remember when answering this question: Your answer should focus on how you can benefit the company and what you can offer your potential employer.
There are plenty of right ways to answer this question, but there are even more ways you can get it wrong. We’ll walk you through all of them.
5 good ways to answer why should we hire you?
1. Because I have something you won’t find in other candidates
The company should hire you because you have a unique skill they need. Think beyond the basic job description—you and the other candidates likely tick all those boxes. You’ll need to bring a skill they didn’t even know they needed.
Read more:How to Answer: What Makes You Unique?
2. Because I bring something unique to company culture
Hiring managers and recruiters want to make sure you’re a good fit for their company and team culture.
Be clear and honest about how you would contribute to the office climate:
You should hire me because I see at this company a culture of excellence. I won’t work anywhere that I feel doesn’t have the same standards I do. I’m positive, forward-thinking, and at my last job, I led my team from disappointment to success.
3. Because I can solve a problem you have
You can really pique a hiring manager’s interest by solving a problem for them. It’s one fewer thing for them to worry about and something they can get excited about. If you can solve a problem for someone at the company, you likely have won a champion in the hiring process.
You said your customer acquisition engine has stalled and your cost per lead is too high. You should hire me because I can solve this problem—I’ve done it before. At my last job, I lowered CPL by 42 percent in eight months.
4. Because I believe in your company mission
Companies that are highly mission-focused want to hire teams that back that mission too. Explain why that mission matters to you and provide examples of how that mission has motivated you beyond your professional life.
You should hire me because I too believe that all children should have access to high-quality education. I spend my free time working with at-risk youth to ensure they don’t fall behind on their schoolwork. I’ve done this for three years, and I understand the causes and unique problems these kids face.
5. Because I’m hungry to learn
Let’s say you’re interviewing for a position that’s a step up from your current job, you should show your employer why you’re ready to take on more responsibility.
You should hire me because I’ve been a product manager for four years with excellent success, and I’m hungry to take on more responsibility and grow in my career. I see so much potential for this role, and I would love the opportunity to step in as a manager and teach junior team members what I’ve learned and watch them grow too.
7 things you should never say
And then there are some things, though they may be true, you should never say in response to this question.
1. Because I need the job
This will do nothing to excite the hiring manager. It doesn’t illustrate any passion for the position or company—it doesn’t even express interest. It may be true, but it's not the whole story.
2. Because I want to move
You’re looking to make a move to a new city, but you have the have the job to make the move possible. This isn’t a great reason to hire someone because it can make the company feel like they’re just filling a temporary purpose—to get you to your destination.
While you should be honest about your intention to move, you shouldn't use this as the reason why you want to work there.
3. Because I hate my current job
Badmouthing a past or current employer in a job interview is bad form. Saying you want a new job just to escape your old might be true, but the interviewer doesn’t need to know that.
4. Because I want to make more money
Don’t we all? Let’s be honest. For many people, this is the reason they’d like a new job. But if you use pay as the reason why they should hire you, the company could see you as a flight risk—the moment someone else offers you more money, you’re gone just as quickly as you came.
5. Because I can grow your business by 1,000 percent
Don’t answer by promising something you can’t deliver. Be realistic—you’ll have to make good on your word later.
6. Because I am [insert fluffy words not backed up by anything concrete]
Just about anyone in a job interview can say things like, you should hire me because I’m a team player! I’m hardworking and creative. So is everyone else.
If you’re going to talk about “soft” skills and attributes, then be ready to back them up with anecdotes or metrics.
7. Because your company would look great on my resume
They are probably well aware of this—and it’s not a reason to hire a candidate. Remember to make your answer about what you can give them, not what you hope to get from the company.