Interview Preparation: Why should we hire you?

Photo of one red apple, amongst many green apples - a metaphor for standing out in job interviewsIf there was a top 5 of typical interview questions, this one would definitely secure a spot.

Revolutionary, it’s not… but it’s still part of the standard interview playbook – a favourite of many recruiters, and hiring managers.

So, if you’ve got a job interview lined up, it’s definitely one to expect and prepare for.

And in my personal experience – 11+ years on the HR side of the interview table – it’s a question that many job candidates struggle to answer well. Most people miss the point, and as a result, lose an opportunity to shine.

A typical response? You should hire me because…

  • I’ve got the right qualifications, I’m honest and I’m hard-working.
  • I’ve got a degree in X, and X years of experience in this field.
  • I’m great at what I do, and I can bring my experience to your company.

The problem?

Those answers could apply to every other candidate being interviewed.

Realistically, recruiters won’t waste time interviewing people without the qualifications or experience to do the job; interviewing is hugely labour intensive, not to mention expensive. So if you’re sitting at the table, we already know you made that cut.

In other words, all those interview answers boil down, in effect, to this:

Q:  Why should we hire you?

A:  Because I’m more or less the same as everyone else you’re seeing…

Think about it.

Is that really the message you want to give your interview panel?

Right there, you lost your opportunity to connect with us on a personal level… to show us the unique person you are – the unique value you bring – and really stand out. And standing out is crucial, if you want to succeed at interview.

Interviewers can spend all day, talking to people about the same role – typically running through the same printed hand-out, with the same basic questions. Give us the same, basic answers and you’ll start to blur into everyone else.

But you don’t have to. With a bit of thought, you can be the person who comes to life. Be the breath of fresh air, who brings themselves – and their own, unique value proposition – to the interview.

Get clear: what differentiates you? 

If we were working one-on-one, I’d be spending the session asking questions, and getting a feel for your personal style; listening for your natural strengths and looking for your unique selling points.

In short, I’d be starting to build a picture of your individual, personal brand

Clearly, I can’t do that from a blog post… but what I can do is get you thinking about it for yourself. Consider:

  • What are the key challenges for the manager that’s recruiting? 
  • What specific problems are they trying to address?  
  • What similar situations have you faced – and resolved – in the past? 
  • How did you do that, in your own unique way? 
  • How will that translate into this new role?

Hopefully that’s starting to give you some fresh material; a better idea of your real value, to this panel. Starting with a full understanding of their needs, you can craft a completely individual response… and step into their world with them.

So… why should we hire you?

If you’re looking for a nice, simple, rote answer to the question, you won’t find it here (and if you’re still looking for that, you’re still missing the point).

The question is simply an opener to tell us, clearly and succinctly, all about you – about your unique constellation of knowledge, strengths and abilities, your personality and approach  – and how, knowing our company, our role, and the challenges we’re facing, you can help us succeed.

It’s all about what makes you, you – and you, the person we need. 

Do yourself justice, and bring yourself to your interview! 

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