Skip links


The Unspoken Part of the Job-Interview Question, “Why Should We Hire You?”

By LiveCareer / March 24, 2014

Your Complete Guide to Responding to "Why Should We Hire You?"

  This is the third in our series of in-depth articles about common job-interview questions. See earlier questions, “Tell Me About Yourself” and “What Are Your Strengths?”   The unspoken part of this question is: “Why should we hire you [above all the other candidates]?” This is your chance to shine, to truly deliver a sales pitch for yourself. The employer will make a significant investment in hiring and training you, so assure the interviewer that this investment will be justified. For example, you could say: “Like other candidates, I have the ability to do this job. But beyond that ability, I offer an additional quality that makes me the very best person for the job ­– my drive for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting every part of myself into achieving it. Throughout my career, I have consistently strived to become the very best I can become. [Give an example or two.] The success I've attained in my management positions is the result of possessing the qualities you're looking for in an employee.” Then, tell a story that describes an example of applying the relevant qualities in a past job. Finally, be sure to express your strong interest in the position; the employer should hire you because you sincerely want to work there.   Keep in mind the importance of the question and your response. Author Danielle Moser notes: “I tell my clients, even if they don't ask it; they're thinking it. It's the most important interview question you need to answer. If you can't convince yourself you're the best person for the job – you'll never convince them,” says Moser, who is also managing partner at Blended Learning Team, LLC.  Thus, look for an opportunity to present the content you prepared in response to this question in case it's not asked. Interviewers usually give you a chance to ask questions or make a final statement. Use your “why you should hire me” presentation there if the question is not asked.   Structuring the “Why Should We Hire You?” response As with most oral presentations, a standard opening, body, conclusion approach works well:
  1. Succinctly introduce your rationale for being hired.
Candidates often acknowledge in their openers that the employer is interviewing several people, as in this example suggested by Alan Guinn of The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc. Successful interviewees also suggest that offer qualities that stand out above the others:
“I think that there are myriad of reasons you might want to hire me, but I recognize that I'm only one of many candidates that you've interviewed for this position. Let me share a couple of the reasons with you, however.”
  1. Provide in the body of the presentation the information you promised in the beginning.
Follow through with your plan to share reasons the employer should hire you, as in the next part of Guinn's example:
“I've learned a lot about your company during the application and interview process, and I see many parallels with my past experience. As you know, I've worked for several companies that have taught me both life and business lessons applicable to this job. You want to hire someone to develop and drive a national sales organization to greatness. While at [name or company], I developed 10 regions across the USA and Canada. Our North American team built sales more than 200%, and profit more than 67% in less than three years. Our revenues contributed to the growth of company total revenues by 37%, and in year three, we took the company public on the NYSE. Our initial offering was oversold, and we exceeded strike price by more than 25%.”
  1. Reiterate what you've told them in the conclusion.
Summarize the primary reasons for hire, as in this example:
“Because you want someone who can drive your national sales organization to greatness, you need someone like me who can replicate previous results. I hope to be seriously considered for the position, and I await your decision and call.”
  Why do interviewers ask the “Why Should We Hire You?” question?
  • It's often asked toward the end of an interview to give the job-seeker an opportunity to “close the deal” with the employer.
  • The interviewer may seek to assess a candidate's ability to effectively summarize his or her qualifications.
  • The question may be one of several ways an employer checks whether you've “done your homework” – in other words, thoroughly researched the employer's organization.
  • Even beyond simply having researched information about the hiring organization, many employers want you to paint a picture for them of how you would fit in. “As a hiring manager,” Moser says, “I ask it because I want to know they've thought about why they'd be a good match for my needs. I'm not interested in hiring someone simply because they want a job. I want to hire the person for whom my role matches interests and strengths. If I hire THAT person, they're more likely to be engaged, more likely to be productive, more likely to be retained. And, to be crass about it, it means I get more for my money (i.e., their salary) from THAT person, than someone who ‘could' do the job, but doesn't really care if they do or not.”
  What is the WRONG way to respond to “Why Should We Hire You?”?
  • With a generic response, such as, “because I'll work hard and do a good job” or “because I'm the best candidate,” and doing so without offering any evidence of your claim.
  • With a me-first response such as, “Because I really need the job …” Your response should always be employer-centric.
  Tips for a successful “Why Should We Hire You?” response
  • Think about specifically how will you make a difference to the employer's mission, advises Hank Boyer, president and CEO of Boyer Management Group. Boyer gives this example:
The employer touts its delivery of world-class patient care (a way it differentiates itself from its competitors). “An effective response,” Boyer notes, “would be to discuss how by you doing your job there with excellence will make patients want to share their positive experience with family and friends because it will be your mission to make their stay both positive and memorable. You must enable the interviewer to imagine you performing the role and being a poster child for the employer's mission.”
  • As with the "Tell me about yourself" request, “Why Should We Hire You?” can be your opening for your Unique Selling Proposition or USP, a common term in marketing, sales, and advertising. Your USP is your capsule description of what makes you uniquely qualified for this job. What can you bring to this job that no one else can?
  • Get insider information that will enable you to target the response in a way no other candidate will. Moser describes a time early in her career when she networked with someone who had recently worked in the department with which Moser was interviewing at a large company. The network contact told her the incumbent in the targeted job was horrible at follow-through, which drove the boss crazy. During Moser's interview, she highlighted her ability to deliver high-quality products and services to internal clients because of her strong follow-up skills. “The boss never knew that I had an inside track,” Moser says, “and I came across like the answer to their prayers.”
  More Sample Responses The evolution of my career demonstrates that I can make an immediate and positive contribution in this position. Through hard work and diligence, my professional career has been a bit of a rag-to-riches story. When I first started working full-time after college, I took an entry-level job as a file clerk at a major insurance company. From the beginning, I was motivated to be much more. I worked my way up through the ranks into the positions of claims data-entry operator, claims examiner, and then underwriter. When I left this company, I went on to become a retirement plan administrator, then onto benefits specialist. Ultimately, I became an assistant finance director in charge of group benefits and workers' comp for the City of Scarsdale. My progressive learning process was not based on theory picked up in a classroom; I gained knowledge through actually researching and performing essential job-related functions. Primarily, I am a fast learner, and if hired, I intend to minimize your training and hiring costs, because I have always been motivated to learn, even if it means personally investing my time and resources as part of the process.
My abilities in so many areas – sales, marketing, promotions, and management – will be invaluable for your company including my experience working with people with diverse backgrounds and at different levels, my background working with various clients, my work overseeing sales teams, my eye for detail, the fact that I strive to do the best job possible at all times. I'm also reliable, loyal, and trustworthy ... and if you hire me, you will have a team player who will add to the integrity and quality of your sales force for years to come. As an example of the kind of results I get that would justify your hiring me: Sales were down in the electronics department of the retail store at which I worked as an assistant manager. The perception was that our products were inferior to a competitor. I took the initiative to create excitement at the store level to increase sales. I attained buy-in from my manager so that I could run a contest. I collected sales data from the store on our products and used that information to back the need for this contest. My manager loved the idea. He thought it was exciting and loved the fact that I provided him with details on how I planned to track the sales process. In the end, I increased sales for that month by 100 percent, which was phenomenal.  
Authored by Dr. Katharine Hansen

8 Skills That Will Help You Land the Job

By Giana / January 25, 2017

You found a job post that suits you perfectly. You can check off each of the required credentials, the location is perfect, and you recognize and respect the company and its brand. You’re ready to apply, but do you have the skills you need to land the job? If current technical skills match up to the daily tasks and responsibilities of this role, how do you convey that message clearly to set yourself apart from your competition? If you possess the following eight skills in addition to your professional experience, your odds of landing the job will increase exponentially. 1. Take Action Some people see something they want and go for it, while others waste time procrastinating or overthinking next steps until they are overwhelmed. Don’t be that person. When it’s time to act, act. Pay attention to the details, but don’t sweat the details to the point of paralysis. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; be afraid of inaction, missed deadlines, and missed opportunities. 2. Employ Empathy Empathy is the special skill that allows us to see the world from another person’s point of view. During a job search, empathy can be a very powerful tool. Read between the lines of the job post and apply your empathy. What are the employer’s needs? What kind of cultural match are they looking for? Having the ability to see the position through the eyes of the recruiter – and write your resume and cover letter to address their needs – is a special skill that will get you far. 3. Work on Your Writing Skills Before you meet your potential employers in person during an interview, you’ll first need to get their attention using your written words. You may not be a brilliant poet or world-changing speech writer, but can still make a concise and compelling case for yourself by answering two questions: What are the skills you possess that will allow you to handle this job? And what can you offer the employer that no other candidate can offer? Clearly state these responses in your resume and cover letter. Edit your work and have a friend proofread the final result for clarity and typos. 4. Perfect Your Phone Skills Can you bring employers over to your side during a ten-minute phone chat? You certainly can if you can perfect the art of the telephone interview. Prepare and practice your elevator pitch. Keep your voice measured and calm, but also engaged and energetic. Stand up while you speak, and smile. Both of these things can be heard in your voice. 5. Hone Your Listening Skills Don’t make your employer share the same details and information multiple times. To avoid asking the same questions over and over, write it down all relevant information. This includes the proper names of the people you interview with, names of clients, and all company divisions. 6. Market Yourself During a job search, you are the product and products need to be marketed in order to sell. Do you know how to pitch your accomplishments and abilities in a way that’s truthful, but not boastful? Do you now how to form a personal connection with your audience, which in this case is the hiring manager? Do you know how to grab attention in a positive way, and embed yourself in your employer’s memory after your interaction ends? Your marketing skills are important during your job search so don’t be shy. 7. Dress for Success Your interview outfit should demonstrate your respect for the opportunity so never arrive looking sloppy or disheveled. It should be clear that you considered your audience and your venue when choosing your outfit. Your clothes should be appropriate for the office culture. If you are unsure of how to dress, read company reviews online or ask the hiring manager. 8. Don’t Forget the Follow Up When you start something, finish it. After your interview, call or send a message within a day to thank the interviewers for their time. A well-written thank you note is a great way to reiterate your interest and engagement and leave a good impression with the hiring manager. During your job search process, check in with LiveCareer and use the tools on the site to keep your search—and the growth of your long-term career—on track.

How to Ace Your Retail Interview

By Giana / November 28, 2016

You have what it takes to succeed in the people-focused world of retail. But are you ready to make this clear during your interview?

The retail industry has been a mainstay of the national employment landscape for a long time, and during the fall and winter months, retail hiring typically spikes. This year, the spike is predicted to rise higher than it has in more than a decade. Which is to say, if you have the right skills for a retail position, managers may be rolling out a red carpet for you.

Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunities available to you? Do you have your polished resume in hand, along with your winning attitude and customer-friendly smile? Most important, are you ready to ace your retail interview? Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on the payroll in no time.

Review your candidacy through the eyes of a busy retail manager.

Your interviewer will be looking for a candidate who can show up on time and quickly learn the ropes of the job. But mainly, she’ll be looking for someone who can appeal to her customers. So can you do that? Make sure you step into your session with your customer in mind, not just your interviewer. Be neat, approachable, confident, and interested in solving whatever problems your customer/interviewer might send your way.

Make things easy.

When you speak, keep your words and your message as clear as possible. Don’t confuse your interviewer. If you can only work on Wednesdays, say so upfront. If you know some things about the job already, but will need training in other areas, be clear about this. If you can work a register or POS system, say so. If you can’t, answer honestly when asked. This won’t necessarily be a deal breaker, but your manager will need to know what resources you already have and what resources you’re going to need.

Show interest and signs of life.

Of course you probably don’t have an abiding passion for selling things in a store and your work doesn’t define your entire personality. But when it comes to “passion”, meet your employer halfway and rise to the occasion. Show that you truly care about rolling up your sleeves, helping others the way you would want to be helped, and doing your part for the team. Sit up straight, speak with energy, and be fully present. Even the smallest signs of personal investment can go a long way.

Reliability matters.

Hiring is expensive and risky, especially on a very tight deadline (which the holidays represent). Mitigate this risk and reassure your employer that you have no intention of coming in late, leaving them in a lurch, walking away before your shift is over, or otherwise not showing up when and where you’re needed.

Be nice.

Recognize that your employer may be very busy. So if she asks you a question that you’ve already answered on your resume, or asks you the same question twice during your session, roll with it. Be graceful and patient. Again, demonstrate the demeanor that you’ll present to your customers. If you don’t understand a question, politely ask the employer to repeat it. If you hear something about the job that you don’t like, ask politely for confirmation.

For more on how to get what you need during your retail interview, while also impressing your potential employer, explore the job search resources at LiveCareer.

Don’t Get Spooked by the Interviewer!

By Giana / October 27, 2016

On Halloween, we celebrate scary things, but nothing is scarier than an awkward job interview! Well, maybe a few things… But job interviews are no joke! Here are a few tips that can take the terror out of five tricky interview questions.

Halloween is just around the corner, and while we take delight in scaring ourselves with fake spiders and creepy tales of horror, many of us are also feeling serious heebie-jeebies (or at least anxiety) based on something comparatively mundane: the job search process. Specifically, interviews. While supernatural ghosts and goblins haunt our dreams, our waking hours are often haunted by something much more grounded in reality, and therefore much scarier: the prospect of having an everyday conversation with a total stranger who holds power over our professional and financial destiny. Eep.

There’s no doubt that interviews can be frightening. But a few simple considerations can take the terror out of these five tricky questions and help nervous job seekers move forward with confidence.

Why should we hire you?

When you hear this question, your thoughts may move toward the things you want. For example, you may think you should be hired because you’ve worked hard to get where you are, or because you have bills to pay, or because this job can help you advance your career. These things may be true, but when you answer, focus on how your presence in the workplace can help your employers reach their goals and get the things THEY want. So…what do they want? Give this matter some thought before your interview session begins.

Why do you want to work here?

Note, this question is not asking “Why are you looking for work?” but is instead asking, “Why are you looking for work HERE?” In other words, what do you find appealing about this company or organization that you haven’t found anywhere else? How does this specific job or company match your personality, your training, your special skills, your long term goals, or your job search needs? When you answer this, think about all the ways your plans align with the company’s plans, and shine a light on these details.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Of course you don’t know what the future will hold; nobody does. But thankfully, this isn’t a pop quiz and you aren’t applying for the job of a fortune teller. You’re simply being asked to describe your long term goals and demonstrate that you have the capacity to plan, dream, and think ahead. You aren’t living from one day and one paycheck to the next, and you recognize a future that lies beyond this moment and this specific open position. Be honest about your vision.

Describe your greatest weakness.

Nobody likes to talk about their weaknesses and shortcomings during an interview (and this question carries a trick element that borders on rudeness; many interviewers avoid it for this reason). But if you’re faced with this curveball, don’t panic. Simply describe one area or skill set in which you’ve had to work hard and learn tough lessons. For example, if you don’t love public speaking, describe how you’ve practiced and grown in this area during recent years.

What’s the story with your current (or most recent) job?

If you have a current job, why are you leaving? If you aren’t currently working, what happened to your last gig? Did you leave voluntarily? If so, why? Tough questions about past (or present) work situations can throw interviewees off balance; after all, perfectly content and thriving workers aren’t usually beating the pavement for jobs. But if you keep your answers positive and short, you’ll move quickly past this question and present yourself as an ambitious person in search of new opportunities.

For more on how to get past your fears and anxieties and move on to the next stage of your job search, explore the resume resources available at LiveCareer.