Job interviews are essentially information gathering exercises. Recruiters want to find out as much as they can about their potential new employee and build up a picture of how they might fit within their organisation.
One of the most common questions interview panels ask in order to inform this image is, “Why should we hire you?” While it may at first sight seem innocuous and generic, this question gets to the very heart of why one candidate more than another is right for the job. Here we examine how you can use this opportunity to showcase your suitability.
Do your research
Pre-interview preparation is essential in terms of thinking through answers for all the questions which might come up – this area is no exception. Many candidates initially struggle with the breadth of the ‘why should we hire you’ question and find it difficult to hone in on the important areas of research.
The bottom line is that in order for you to deliver an answer which shows how you might fit into the organisation, you first need to know what that organisation is all about. Find out about their mission, their vision, their values and their future direction. Investigate their recent commercial activities by looking for press announcements and/or new reports. Examine trends within the particular industry and see where they are positioned. Dig into the job description and work out where the specific role fits into the overall organisation and its goals.
By developing a profile of the company and the job you can then begin to mould your skills, experience and expertise story into an image which is line with their expectations.
Don’t be fooled
The most common mistake which candidates make with the ‘why should we hire you question’ is being vague. It may seem like a broad question but do not be lulled into thinking this requires a lengthy, imprecise answer. Use your detailed research to pinpoint what they require and the specific attributes which make you the ideal candidate.
Take time to identify the most important elements of the job role and company background data and select examples from your past which most clearly demonstrate how you can deliver in these areas. Be clear about what you personally can bring to the organisation, using as much concrete evidence as you can from examples of past achievements.
Do use structure
An interview is a time bound process. Using that time most effectively requires structure and discipline. Break down this question into sections and focus on each one for a finite period of time.
Think first about the big picture of what and who they are looking for- your familiarity with the type of company they are and your experience in areas which offer synergies with their own. Move swiftly on to talk about your specific achievements, using relevant examples which dovetail with the overall job criteria.
Using a formula such as the STAR technique which allows you to concisely describe a (s)ituation, the (t)ask, the (a)ction you took and the (r)esult achieved can really help with this.
Above all make sure you include elements which demonstrate your uniqueness. Your examples should show how different you are so that the panel acts to ensure you are not the one that gets away!