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Why should I hire you?

Kareen Cox
Career writer

Have you ever gone into an interview feeling confident and well-prepared, until the interviewer asks the all-important question, "Why should we hire you?" Have you actually been left speechless by this question?
Don't worry, you're not alone.

In preparing for interviews, most persons tend to overlook this question, thinking that they can just "think up something." But what most persons fail to realise, is that this question gives you the golden opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer.

You should use this question to highlight exactly how your skills and talents can meet and exceed the requirements of the position, and contribute to the overall success of the organisation. The more details you give, the stronger your answer will be. This is not a time to talk about what you want. It is a time to summarise your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique and therefore a viable fit for the position.

According to the experts, the following are some answers that aren't good enough:

"Because I need a job." -- This answer is about you -- "they" want to know what you can do for "them."

"I am a hard worker." -- This is a really trite answer -- almost anyone can say he or she is a hard worker.

"I saw your ad and could do the job." -- This answer lacks passion and purpose.

Alternately, the following are a few good examples of how to answer the question:

"I have great people skills and I love the challenge of a new job. I am responsible, punctual, a great people person, and I love dealing with the public."

"Because I have what it takes to fill the requirements of this job, for example I solve customer problems using my excellent customer service skills."

"I have ten years experience doing all the work involved in this position. I'm qualified to the required level, and have a very good knowledge base. The quality of my work is described as above performance standards by my current employers. I have additional skills which will also add value to your organisation. In fact, I have excellent transferable skills which make me flexible and adaptable.

It is good to draw on past experiences to justify why you would be an asset to a particular company. Highlight achievement in terms of outcomes and results, example, I improved sales by 50%, or developed and implemented a particular system to address a problem, etc. Whatever response is given, remember that it must be authentic and supported by the necessary competencies and evidence.

Many employers consider "Why should we hire you?" to be the most important question asked in an interview.

First and foremost they are trying to find out if you are really confident in yourself and your ability to successfully perform the job duties.
Your answer might demonstrate your actual interest in the position if you show that you did the research on the company, its products, technology, and job requirements. It is essential to remember that being unprepared to answer the question can automatically disqualify you from being considered for the position.

Preparing this statement ahead of the interview will give you the edge over your fellow applicants who may be unprepared for this question. This will be your chance to let the interviewers know that you are the solution to their problem.

*Kareen Cox is the Resources Co-ordinator in the Career Development Services Department, HEART Trust/NTA. Email, or
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