Why Should We Hire You? That question seems a bit too much like “Tell Us Something that Makes You Unique.” Your qualifications are on your résumé (I assume), but instead of asking clarification questions about your stated experience they seem to try and get some deep or profound answer out of you with an unoriginal question that doesn’t really lend itself well to the deep and profound category. Probably the only worse question is, “Why do you want to work here?”
The Internet is full of conflicting advice on this question. No one really knows for sure what they are looking for with this question, I suspect the person asking doesn’t know either. I know I don’t know, but I am going to give you the best advice I can below. At best, a recruiter who has worked with a company for a long time might be able to give some insight into what they are looking for.
What do they mean when they ask this question? Everyone has their own opinions. An answer that works for one interviewer may not work for a different interviewer. Some interviewers ask it because they think it should, some believe it will provide insight into the job candidate.
I personally believe it is a horrible question to ask because you don’t know what they are looking for in a candidate. The interviewer though, they should know what skills and personality they are looking for. They should have a general idea of what a successful candidate looks like.
I tend to keep most of my programming experience off of my résumé. I have been asked this question once for a job that did not list programming experience as a skill anywhere, nor did it indicate they wanted someone with programming skills. So my answer did not include those skills. I was told I didn’t have enough hands-on programming experience for the job. I have no way of knowing if I did, I was never even informed of what programming language they wanted. Perhaps I could have had an excellent new job and been very successful in that role if we had only increased communication with each other.
If you are asked this question, my advice is to ask a few questions of your own. You want to know what they are looking for in the role. The type of personality and any skills required; you need some clarification on what they are looking for in the next person who will fill the specific role and what they actually want in your answer.
Start by saying something like, “To best answer this question, I would like to know a few things about this job.”
Ask the interviewer these questions in response:
- What skills are most critical for this role?
- What made the last person successful in the role?
- What kind of personality do you feel works best in this role?
For each question, note down the relevance to your own skills and experience.
After learning the answers to the above questions:
- State honestly which skills you have that they are looking for and if you have associated skills bring them up as well
- Example: I don’t have 5 years of PowerBI like you want, but I have 2 years of PowerBI and 4 of Tableau.
- Try to understand what made the last candidate successful and how you can duplicate that success; then explain that to the interviewer
- If the interviewer thinks that an energetic extrovert is what it takes to be successful, and you are more of a laid-back introvert, you have a couple of options
- You can lie and pretend – but you will be caught by your second day on the job
- You can try and convince them of the value of being a laid back introvert
- You can accept that you aren’t going to get the job
I like this method because you don’t need to ramble on hoping to guess which one of your nearly 1,000 skills (both listed and unlisted on your résumé) they are looking for. Do they want a cheesy… I mean deep and profound answer, or do they want an answer that tells them how your skills will fit. It also forces them to do their job and figure out what they actually want in a candidate and explain it to you. This may or may not benefit you in the interview if you approach it honestly. They may describe a candidate that is not you.
If they can’t answer those questions, then it is likely they don’t know what they want. They may just be asking because they think they have to ask this question, or they may just want you to ramble on and help them do their job by saying something they like the sound of.
If the above advice doesn’t work for you, here are a hundred funny responses to the question “Why Should We Hire You?”.
My own opinion, if the hiring manager can’t figure out whether they want to hire you and they need to ask you why they should, you probably don’t really want that job. I think it shows disorganization on the part of the company or the hiring manager. They can’t figure out what they want so they want you to throw some job skills at them, and the best candidate wins from there.
Reality being the way it is, we often have to suck up to get a job, even if we really don’t want that particular job. We all have bills to pay, maybe kids to feed. Any interviewer that says they can tell the difference between a candidate who genuinely wants the job and a candidate that just needs the job is deceiving themselves. This question won’t help them get there, because the best employee might just be horrible at navigating the silly recruiting structure with the silly questions they ask sometimes.