“Why should we hire you” is one of the most common interview questions out there – don’t let it catch you off guard. Even if the question isn’t asked in these words, it’s very likely that some iteration of it will be asked. After all, this question boils down to the essence of why you’re interviewing in the first place. The interview is an exercise for the company in seeing why they should (or shouldn’t!) hire you.
This question is a way for the interviewer to see how you think about yourself fitting into the company, and what skills and experiences you will bring to the table. Show the interviewer you’re prepared by creating a strategy for answering this question:
1. Make your answer company-specific
Understanding the ins and outs of the company’s business will help give you a better sense of how you will fit in. On top of the business side, research the company’s values and reviews of company culture, and think about how those values dovetail with your own personal ones. Displaying a deep knowledge of the company, their history, and their current initiatives will show that you’ve taken the time to think about how you’re going to fit in. But don’t dwell too much on the attributes of the company – remember to market yourself.
[Related: 7 Interview Questions You Should Never Ask]
2. Highlight what makes you unique from other applicants
Do you speak Chinese, code in Python, or have relevant research experience? Are you an expert in a certain field that could be useful for the job? These are just examples, but try think of attributes that are both (a) unique to yourself and (b) directly related to the job you’re applying for. Highlight these skills or experiences in order to help your interviewer see that they could be missing out by not hiring someone who has skills like yours. Shy away, however, from just doling out a laundry list of credentials – make your pitch relevant to the company and what you’d be doing on the job.
3. Show them what you’ll do in the future
While dwelling on past experiences is indeed important, also make sure to talk about how you’ll fit into the company in the future. One way to do this is to talk about a certain problem that the company has been having that you would be equipped to fix. Another way is to talk about a certain initiative or project that you can see yourself helping with. The bottom line is to help your interviewer visualize you as a future employee.
4. Practice your answer beforehand
Prepare yourself for this question by thinking about it beforehand and writing down what you’re going to say. Also, go a step further and rehearse. “Actually say the words out loud. It’s not good enough to think about how you’ll roughly answer,” says Karen Dillon, former editor of the Harvard Business Review. Even if they don’t ask you this particular question, parts of what you’ve prepared will undoubtedly come in handy. And if they do ask you the question – you’ve already set yourself ahead of the pack with your stellar preparation skills!