Interview Question: Why Should I Hire You?

Interview Question: Why Should I Hire You?
By the Frog CareerAgent Team

A lot of people dread this question at job interviews. So much, in fact, that it made the Forbes list of 10 toughest questions at job interviews. I wanted to find out how frequently recruiters actually ask this question, and what they really wanted to know, in hopes of uncovering the best way to answer. So I asked six professional recruiters what they think. Curiously, none of them actually asked this question…

Not directly anyway. Overall they perceived the question as too aggressive, likely to put the candidate on their guard. Since interviews are conducted not only in order to ascertain what the candidate’s skill set is, but also to determine their culture-fit within an organization, candidates need to be relaxed in order for their personality to shine through. Defensive candidates are also more likely to acquiesce instead of giving honest answers. It is the hallmark of a good interviewer to put the candidate at ease and solicit honest answers.

So what will recruiters ask, then? At the end of the day they still need an answer to this question in order to differentiate candidates from each other. They will attempt to cushion the question in various ways, such as:

  • “What makes you suitable for this role?”
  • “If I was to present you to my client, what would you want me to say to them?”
  • “What makes you unique over other candidates?”
  • “What is your point of difference?”
  • “What makes you stand out?”
  • “Why do you think you’re the best candidate for the job?”

Before we look at how to answer these questions, let’s consider when recruiters will ask them. Firstly, none of the six recruiters I interviewed would ask this question over the phone, but only at a face to face meeting. The reason for this is that the initial phone interview is partly for the purpose of giving the candidate more information about the role. After all, it seems unreasonable to be able to answer the question if candidates don’t yet know anything about the role or the company.

Only one of the six recruiters will ask this question at the beginning of the interview. However, she will take extra care in the initial phone interview to explain the role and suggest company websites to visit for more information. Her reason for asking this at the beginning of the interview is to ascertain what relevant experience the candidate has for the role. This allows her to tailor the rest of the interview as well as offer some coaching for a possible second interview.

Another one of the six recruiters will ask this question toward to the middle of the interview. She will begin with questions about strengths and lead into how the candidate can apply those strengths to the specific role.

The other four recruiters all asked this question at the end of the interview as a ‘wrap-up’ question. The reason is that throughout the interview they will explain the role, the style of the managers, and the company culture. In other words, they will drop enough information during the interview for the candidate to relate their strengths to the role.

They are not trying to catch candidates out; rather, they genuinely want to know the answer.

So now to the crux of issue: What makes a good answer?

What doesn’t make a good answer is:

  • “Because I need a job”
  • “Because I need the money”

These two responses are big red flags to a recruiter. They want to know that there are specific elements of the role that you’re interested in. These answers show that the role is just a means to an end, opposed to a growth opportunity and a chance to add value to company operations. These types of answers indicate that it’s all about what you can get, rather than what you can offer.

Good answers begin with the attitude with which they are answered with. All six recruiters simply just want to know that the candidate is keen and enthusiastic about the opportunity. Using body language, tone of voice, and positive facial expression will go very far in convincing the recruiter to give you a chance. They also want to know that you have enough self-confidence to sell yourself, and that you have enough self-awareness to comment on what you can deliver to an employer.

As to the actual content of the answer, these were the common themes the recruiters were looking for:

  • I like the company
  • I am qualified
  • I am experienced
  • My strengths suit the position description
  • The position suits my lifestyle (important for shift work)
  • I look forward to opportunities for career development

That’s it! They want to know that you like the role, and that you are able to perform it. And if you think about it that way, the question seem less frightening if you look at it from the recruiter’s point of view. It is important to remember that they don’t want to catch you out, or trip you up. If they do, they’re probably not very good interviewers.

Find some more general advice here


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