Think back to the last important interview you had. Did you hear a question like: Why are you a good fit for this position? How can you add value to the company if we hire you? What makes you the most qualified candidate? Perhaps you got the routine “Why Should We Hire You?” You are not alone. This question plagues interviewees because unlike objective questions, this one requires a more nuanced answer that demonstrates to employers how you will be an asset to their company. What does your answer sound like?
It starts the same way as every collegiate sporting event: with a gameplan.
The Employer’s Objective
Employers ask this question for a number of reasons, to understand the purpose of the ‘Why Should We Hire You’ question can make all the difference for your next interview. While it does challenge one’s poise and confidence, it also forces the interviewee to think. The question aims to collect additional information about that candidate, and how they will offer value to the company. What will you tell potential employers when they ask you this question? The person-organization fit strategy, the introspective strategy and the beyond the resume strategy are three strong ways to answer.
The Person-Organization Fit Strategy
Part of Apple’s statement of core values reads “we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.” Do these qualities appeal to you? Then answer with the person-organization fit strategy. This approach responds based upon personal values. Person-Organization fit theory suggests that employers have a propensity to hire individuals that match the values of their company. An organization’s culture contributes significantly to employee satisfaction, loyalty, job performance and turnover rates. Employers desire their new hires to match the philosophy of their organization because a strong value alignment influences the attitudes of employees and improves their productivity. When company culture matches an individual’s values then a new employee will enter the company with a positive mindset.
The Introspective Strategy
Do you have an innate ability to think outwardly, or to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think like them? This question challenges interviewees to think introspectively about what they can offer the company. Rene Marcotte, a Vice President at Collaborative Consulting, said he asks the “Why Should We Hire You” question to see if the interviewee “understands the job, if they have researched the position and the company and if they are able to think outwardly beyond themselves.” Marcotte emphasized the response to the question and how it needs to detail the value the individual will provide to the company. Emma Hartman, Boston College Alumna said, “before going into the interview, you want to find out what the company values, their mission, and things they do ‘behind the scenes.'” Understanding the company and the role they are looking to fill is essential, and then emphasizing how you can help them is the introspective strategy.
Beyond the Resume Strategy
Strong communication, a positive attitude and good self-management skills are all attributes that employers want to see in candidates, but are not directly written on the resume. This third approach recognizes that everyone who has reached the interview stage of the hiring process has what it takes to fill the position—at least on paper. By focusing on non-resume attributes such as intrapersonal skills, teamwork abilities or the resolve to overcome adversity, the interviewee further distinguishes themselves. Marcotte said that he intentionally leaves this question open-ended to give individuals the “opportunity to talk or tell a story.” Through storytelling, qualities beyond their application shine. Hartman said that if she has the opportunity she uses this question to emphasize the “value and perspective that she adds that other candidates do not offer.”
Employers often avoid candidates that make one of the three big mistakes. The egotistical response—five minutes of personal boasting that tells the interviewer nothing more about you. Avoid mentioning all the Fortnite wins you and your squad have. A modest answer also doesn’t do you any favors. Downplaying the value you can bring to the company does nothing for you except make that potential employer wrap-up your interview early. Lastly, being unprepared for the question or panicking when you answer can hurt your interview. This shows an employer that you did not do your research ahead of time, and that you were unenthusiastic about the opportunity to work for their company.
Say It, Believe It, Achieve It
Prepared with these three strong approaches to the “Why Should We Hire You Question” you now have the ability to go out and get that job. Whether you are a college lineman at Notre Dame, an exchange student from Korea or simply the average American college student, preparing a well-practiced and professional answer will give you an advantage over the competition. While this question is only a small part of the interview process, your response will get you one step closer to landing that job.