If you are looking for a golden opportunity to convince a hiring manager that you're the right candidate for the job, be ready to shine when asked the popular interview question, "Why should we hire you?"
"The reason employers ask this question is to see how well you know both yourself and your competition," says Ron Auerbach, author of "Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success."
"Interviewers are testing your abilities to do research, self-evaluate, draw comparisons and state a case for one choice over another. Employers are looking to see how well you know the qualities, personality, traits, and characteristics this job or kind of work involves."
Never just wing it in answering this question. Instead, construct your case beforehand (and practice delivering it!) with these tips:
Focus on specifics
A single answer to this question won't suffice for every interview. Elements may be similar, but nailing the response involves selling yourself as the one to hire for this specific role.
"Make no mistake, recruiters and those doing the hiring can sense a one-size-fits-all answer from a mile away," says Elizabeth Koraca, executive coach and career strategist. "They want to know that you're prepared — that you've done your homework on the company and the position.
You want to make sure you've done your research on the job they're trying to fill and know exactly why you'd be a perfect candidate for hire.
Your answers should have thought and strategy in terms of your skills, experience, and how specific things that you've accomplished translate into what they're looking for."
Koraca suggests thinking about key questions such as, "What is most impressive about you?" and "What experiences do you have that you can leverage in this specific moment, for this specific job?" Then, instead of presenting the interviewer with a laundry list of achievements, you can tailor your response to be "concise, clear, to the point, and filled with the most valuable and pertinent information about yourself."
And since employers seek individuals who are a good fit with their office, research workplace culture, too. "See what the feel is there and if it's an environment you'd prosper in. If so, make that clear to them," says Koraca.
Figure out why you're better
Auerbach notes that the keyword in the question, "Why should we hire you?" is you. Thus, it's extremely important to show why you, not one of your competitors for the position, should be the chosen one.
To assist in this process, he suggests taking a piece of paper and drawing a line down the middle. On one side, list your strengths, experiences and education. On the other side, list what the typical applicant for this job or kind of work would have to their credit. This exercise creates a handy chart to help you see where you excel and where you fall short, and it can be a guide to helping you formulate an answer.
For instance, maybe the average applicant holds an associate degree, but you've earned your bachelor's. That higher-level education is something to draw attention to in order to stand out in a good way.
Or, perhaps the position involves excellence at customer service. All applicants likely possess good communication skills and problem-solving ability, but maybe your history includes more years of experience perfecting these skills, or past success in the employer's exact industry.
Remember: What gives you an edge may give you a job! Come prepared with a thoughtful response, and deliver it with confidence to seal the deal.
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