Job Interview Tips Professional Development

6 Dos and Don’ts for Answering “Why Should I Hire You?”

Written by Kate Lopaze

In an interview, few questions can throw off a candidate’s poise like the simple, “Why should I hire you?” After all, it seems redundant. What have you been talking about this entire time, if not the reasons why the company should hire you?! But while it may seem like a filler question, it’s one you should definitely pay close attention to answering.

Here are 6 things to keep in mind as you prep for your interview.

DON’T panic

The question isn’t a trap designed to trip you up and take you down. It’s a legitimate question that asks you to demonstrate why this job, specifically, is a great fit for you. Take a deep breath if you need to, and make sure you keep up the same tone you’ve been using throughout the interview.

DO understand why the question is asked

The interviewer isn’t being lazy, or outsourcing the hiring decision to you; she or he is trying to find out if you can answer well and coherently after the conversational balance shifts a bit. After all, you’ve likely been fielding questions about yourself. This question asks you to jump perspectives and see yourself from someone else’s view.

DON’T take too long to answer

Hemming and hawing makes you look indecisive—or worse, like you’re scrambling for reasons the company should hire you. You may merely be trying to phrase the answer in a sophisticated way, but any gap between question and answer looks bad. Have an answer ready to go before you even set foot in the interview. It’ll make you look confident and able to think on your feet—two qualities tested by this kind of question.

DO research ahead of time

What does this position/company need? And how can you fill that need? Articulating that is the key to answering this question. Ahead of time, familiarize yourself with the job description—but don’t stop there. Look up the company in general, particularly their mission statement. It’s a win if you can casually answer the question with something along the lines of, “I know that ABC Widgets is looking for someone to take their marketing in new directions that fit with ABC’s commitment to sustainable widgeting, and my 8 years of hands-on widget experience show that I have the connections and creativity to get this done.”

DON’T rehash the entire interview up to this point

This is not a question where you need to go into a detailed list of your education, your previous jobs, and your 4th grade award for neatest desk and how it foreshadowed your awesome organizational skills. The interviewer was there. (Well, not in 4th grade, but for the earlier part of the interview.) He or she doesn’t need a recap, but rather a reassurance. Think highlights, not blow-by-blow: focus on one or two points that make you especially well-suited to the position.

DO be confident

Like every other interview question, the interviewer wants to see that you feel comfortable fielding questions about your qualifications and your vision for the job.

You know they should hire you…now it’s time to make sure they know why.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.