Job Search Tip of the Week #6 (2017)


Defining “Why should we hire you?”

Why should we hire you?
(One of the most commonly proposed interview questions.)
Why • should • we • hire • you? [ Wī / shood / wē / hī(ə)r / yoo? ]

Known synonyms:
  • What can you do for the company?
  • What would you contribute to the company?
  • What do you have to offer the company?
  • Why should you be chosen over other candidates who may have stronger qualifications or more experience?

What is it?
  1. One of the most intimidating of all interview questions, especially when perceived to have been asked abruptly and/or in an abrasive tone.
  2. An opportunity to sell yourself as a valuable asset a company would want to have!
When is it used?

Typically to either open or close the interview.

Who asks it?

People who want to construct or confirm an opinion of your motivations to seek employment and your suitability to the position and organization.

Why is it asked?

See above.

Where can you go wrong when responding to it?
  • Simply saying what you want (e.g., “I need a software engineering job“), gives the impression you’re an egotist, not a team player.
  • Repeating your resume verbatim, which offers your interviewer no new information and conveys a lack of confidence.
  • Giving vague statements that are true of the majority of candidates (e.g., “I’m hardworking and persistent”) or applicable to any company (e.g., “My sales experience makes me a good fit for the position”), which indicates that you failed to thoroughly research the position and company.
  • Listing your achievements instead of applying them to show how your skills and experience would be valuable to the organization (e.g., “At my current company, I am consistently ranked in the top 3 on the help desk support team in terms of the number of cases handled and satisfactorily resolved. I was able to do this by implementing a ticketing system and solutions archive, and would do the same at this startup which based on my research doesn’t have these in place yet.”)
How should you respond to it?

There are a few scenarios that would cause a company to start hiring:

  • The company’s experiencing growth.
  • The company recently laid off or fired someone.
  • An employee voluntarily left the company.
  • The company couldn’y find someone from within to promote and fill the position.

Whatever the case may be, if there’s an open position, the company’s looking for something they don’t yet have. Logically then, as no company and its business requirements are alike, your answer to “Why should we hire you?” should vary across companies and promote what value you’d bring to that specific organization.

Firstly, you should know yourself well. You can do that by:

  • Identifying what interested you about the position and the company.
  • Making a list of your positive attributes.
  • Reminding yourself of the skills, abilities, and experiences that make you a valuable candidate for the position.
  • Asking past and/or current employers and coworkers what your best contribution to the organization was.

Then, conduct thorough research, much more beyond the company’s “About Us” page. You’ll know you’ve done effective research when you can answer these questions (these should sound familiar…): What’s the current status of the company? How is it fairing against its competitors, and in its industry? What does the company hope to achieve in the short- and long-term, and what does it need to attain its goals?

Explain where you can add value to the role and company. Provide concrete examples of your skills, abilities, and experience and relate them to the needs and problems the company has that no one has yet been able to resolve.

Remember: You are the solution. Tailor your experiences and skills to align with the role’s functions and the organization’s goals. Make the company feel that they need you – Give them a vivid picture of where they could be if they hired you!

Blogging Forward,

Did you like what you read? Subscribe to our free e-newsletter Make the Connection, and every month you’ll get even more of the tech news, recruitment trends, and career advice that you love seeing daily on CareerJuice. Sign up now to get your own copy of the next issue!