Employers ask a variety of questions during an interview to determine if you are a good culture fit for the company, if you can be successful in the role and how you might contribute to their short- and long-term business goals.
One question you might be asked by employers is, “Why should we hire you?” While it might seem like a tough interview question, there are a few steps you can take to prepare a thoughtful, impressive response.
Why do employers ask, “Why should we hire you?”
Employers might ask this question to learn a few different things about you. First, they want to know what differentiates you from other candidates they might be interviewing. In other words, what would they gain by hiring you specifically over other interviewees? They might also ask this question to see how you handle difficult situations because this question has the potential to stump candidates. It can be challenging to explain why you’re the best person for a job in a humble, thoughtful way.
This question allows you to pitch why you would be an asset to the company—answering it well will increase your chances of moving forward in the hiring process. One thing to remember as you’re discussing your fitness for the company with employers is that the idea of “culture fit” can sometimes be used as a way to eliminate and discriminate against candidates, however unknowingly, who don’t think, act or look like existing employees. A better alternative concept you might consider speaking to is “culture add,” or your ability to bring fresh and additive ideas and feedback to the team. Culture adds make the company stronger by diversifying the experiences and perspectives of its workforce.
How to answer “Why should we hire you?”
Although this question may seem vague and intimidating to answer, it can actually be quite simple by preparing a confident response ahead of time.
Take time to plan an answer to this question before your interview. This question can be asked at any stage of the interview process—from pre-screen to final round interviews. When preparing, you might consider the following steps to craft a response:
To answer, “Why should we hire you?” you should:
- Study the job posting.
- Research the company.
- Tie your background to the job posting.
- Quantify your accomplishments.
Go above and beyond.
1. Study the job posting
To understand the specific skills, qualities and experience employers are looking for in an ideal candidate, review the job posting. Pay special attention to the job description and key sections like “Requirements,” “Experience” and “Education.” Find commonalities between what the employer is looking for and the skills, experiences and qualities you have to offer.
Spending time studying the company’s mission, goals and recent announcements can help you to answer this question. You should use this information to explain how you are connected to their values and how you might help them accomplish key business goals.
3. Tie your background to the job posting
Explain how your experience, skills and attributes make you the best fit for the job as it pertains to the company and position for which you’re applying. You should address each of the requirements listed in the job posting, as well as any additional qualities that make you a great fit.
4. Quantify your accomplishments
When possible, support your accomplishments with numerical results. For example, if you’re applying for a job as an accountant at a company that is looking for someone to streamline processes, you might explain that at your previous company, you implemented a new process for expense accounts that reduced time-to-reimbursement by 25%.
5. Go above and beyond
Think of any relevant qualities or experiences that set you apart from other candidates. For example, if you held a previous professional or volunteer position that gives you a unique perspective beneficial to the job you’re applying for, that might be something that distinguishes you.
Example “Why should we hire you?” answers
Use the examples below as a guide when preparing your answer.
Example 1: Office administrator
“You should hire me for my passion and proven abilities in organization for office efficiency. I pride myself on my time-management, coordination and interpersonal skills. In my previous role as an administrative assistant, I came up with a plan to reorganize the office supply closet by category. We placed fewer orders and saved 30% on office supplies year over year. I’m excited to bring my skills to this role.”
Why this is a good example: This is a great response for an office administrator position as the candidate has highlighted a few key qualifications that are consistent with the job position, while also bringing up a key accomplishment that was valuable to her last place of work.
Example 2: Kitchen manager
“My experience accurately managing inventory intake and skills in creating effective, streamlined schedules make me uniquely qualified to succeed in this kitchen manager position. I understand that you require a highly organized candidate with acute attention to detail. In my previous job, I successfully handled schedules for 20 employees and reduced food waste by 15%. I’m excited about the prospect of bringing my organizational skills to your restaurant.
Why this is a good example: In this example, the job seeker does a great job of showcasing his enthusiasm for the role by highlighting the specific qualifications that will help them to excel and by mentioning his excitement for the opportunity.
Example 3: Social worker
“You should hire me for this position because of my proven ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships with several clients. I am passionate about providing care to those in need in my community, which keeps me motivated and excited about doing my best work. I understand you need a candidate who can be consistently available for events in clients’ lives. I have a 100% attendance rate for weekly case proceedings and meetings for my clients. In addition, I can bring leadership experience to your team, having trained over 20 new hires to become familiar with day-to-day operations and to feel comfortable in their new roles.”
Why this is a good example: This example is thorough and thoughtful. The job seeker shows that they understand the requirements of the position. They’ve included a quantifiable accomplishment and gone above and beyond by talking about their leadership experience.
Example 4: Recent college graduate
"As I recently graduated with a bachelor's in Communications, I can bring modern email marketing practices to your company. My internship as an email marketer for a digital software start-up equipped me with the experience of creating impactful content in a fast-paced environment. I was able to contribute to an email campaign that improved engagement rate by 8%. This experience, in addition to the knowledge I gained in school about creating and promoting successful messages in traditional and digital realms, makes me confident that I would be a valuable asset to your email marketing team."
Here are some additional examples to build your response off:
- You have a passion for the work and proven abilities.
- You have differentiated experience in this field.
- You have exceptional drive and determination to succeed.
- You have unique skills that separate you from other candidates.
- You are able to elevate their team's current capabilities.
- You have a deep belief in the company mission.
You feel a sense of connection to the company and team culture.
Common mistakes to avoid
When it comes to answering a question such as, “Why should we hire you?” there are a few practices you should avoid:
Memorizing your answer. While preparation is highly encouraged, you do not want to memorize your answer word for word. Doing this can cause you to come off as robotic or inauthentic during the interview.
Coming across as arrogant or overly confident. Confidence is important in your response, but it is equally important to remain humble. If it comes across to employers that you are being overly boastful it may raise some concerns about how you’d be as an employee.
Speaking for too long. Keep your response concise—two minutes or less is ideal. If your response goes any longer than two minutes you risk losing the attention of the interviewer.