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How do you answer when an interviewer asks, “Why should I hire you?”
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Don’t miss this great opportunity to emphasize the value you’ll add to a company.

The question

What will you answer when an interviewer asks you: Why Should I hire you?

My answer


Before the interview, you should make sure you’re totally prepared. When you’re prepared, you’ll know how to answer this question.I don’t usually do this, but I’m copy/pasting an excerpt from my book verbatim because it’s directly relevant to your question.

When an opportunity is on the way, you’ll usually get some kind of heads-up: a message on LinkedIn, an email, a voicemail, or even a text message from a recruiter or hiring manager. Once you get the heads-up, you need to do some prep work before you’re ready to talk.

Basic company research

Start by spending some time on the company’s website, learning about what they do and looking at advertised job openings and job descriptions. Read their blog. Google them to see if there are any recent press releases or articles about them. Check them out on social media.

So what do you need to know? You need to know what the company does to make money, who their customers are, how big they are, where they’re located, basic information like that. If you were to bump into this company at a dinner party and chat for about 10 minutes, this is the stuff you would learn.

You may have just thought, “Duh. Of course I would check out their site,” and that’s a good sign for you. But you would be surprised how rarely job candidates actually do this, and how much of an impression it can make on an interviewer.

Know which job you’re applying for

Read the job description a few times to make sure you get it well enough to answer some basic questions about it and, more importantly, to ask some basic questions about it.

Look into other jobs the company is trying to fill

You also need to have a sense of what sorts of jobs they’re trying to fill. You can get a good sense of where the company is focused by looking at their “Jobs” or “Careers” page. Are they hiring a lot of sales reps? Engineers? HR folks? Consultants? Managers? If you see any trends like this, take a minute to think about what that tells you about the company itself. Don’t read too much into this, but you may be able to identify a need the company has so that you can position yourself in a way that could help the company address that need.

Here’s an example:

You notice the company is hiring a lot of sales reps in the western half of the country. That could mean a number of things, but it probably means they’re trying to expand geographically and looking to increase top-line revenue. They want to get more customers out west.

Think about how your skillset can help a company like that. If your skillset lends itself well to sales and revenue growth, then you can play that up. If your skillset is in an unrelated area, think about how you can contribute in a way that takes pressure off the company in your area of expertise so they can focus on growing. “I can help you grow” can be just as valuable as “I can help make this other part of the business more autonomous so you can continue focusing more resources on growth.”

While you’re at it, take note of any other jobs you might be good for, just in case this one doesn’t work out. That way you’ll have some backup opportunities in mind if you need them.

“Why do you want to work here?”

Some companies will just come right out with it, so you should be prepared to answer this question. Fortunately, you’ve spent time reviewing their website and looking at their job openings, so you know what they do and how you can contribute.

Mention things you like about the company in general, and then talk specifically about how your skillset would be a good fit for the company’s mission. This is also a good opportunity to mention some good things you might have heard about the company from friends or acquaintances.

So that’s how to prepare to answer this question. That excerpt is from the “How to ace your next interview” chapter of my book. You can get that chapter for free here: How to ace your next interview.

I dig more into how to answer your specific question (phrased as “Why are you a valuable candidate for this job?”) in a chapter called “How to negotiate your new salary”. You can get that chapter for free here: How to negotiate your new salary.

1. Why are you a valuable candidate for this job?

This is extremely subjective, but you’ve spent enough time researching and discussing this particular job that you should be able to identify what your most valuable attributes are as they relate to the job and the company. Think about them and then write them down.

Start by thinking about what needs this company hopes to meet by filling this particular job. Identifying their needs is key because you can tailor your own pitch to specifically address those needs. The research you did in the preparation phase of your interview process will come in handy as you prepare to negotiate your new salary.

Here are some needs the company may be trying to satisfy:

  • They are growing and need help
  • They need a specific skillset that they are currently deficient in
  • They need more bandwidth—more hands to help distribute the work
  • They recently lost expertise or had a position vacated that they need filled to continue operations

Once you have identified the company’s needs, you should think about your particular positive attributes that could help address the company’s needs you have identified.

Each person and each job is unique, but here are some things you might write down:

  • Applicable experience—maybe you have prior work experience that will make it easy for you to contribute quickly, with little training or ramp-up time.
  • Availability—if you can start quickly and contribute quickly, this may help the company if they’re in a pinch and need someone now.
  • Coachable and trainable—if you pick things up quickly, it may help the company to know that you can contribute immediately.

Finally, put these together so you can relate your positive attributes to specific needs the company has. Here are a couple examples of some attribute-for-need combinations:

  • “You’re building a team of salespeople and solutions architects to grow into the medical manufacturing vertical, and I have five years of experience in sales in that vertical. I can help you grow more efficiently and focus on the right things from the beginning.”
  • “You’re transitioning your application to an Ember front-end, and I’ve been using Ember for client projects for two years. I can save your team a lot of time because I can come in and start writing code right away.”

Notice that a lot of urgency is built into these attribute-for-need combinations. This is because most companies see recruiting and hiring as a big expense. A large portion of that expense is new-hire training and onboarding—it takes a lot of time and money to train new people to become productive. You’re letting them know that you’re valuable because you have this particular skillset and you can contribute right away and minimize the onboarding and training expenses required for you to be productive.

Both of these excerpts are from my book Fearless Salary Negotiation. The first excerpt is taken from the chapter called “How to ace your next interview”—you can get it for free here: How to ace your next interview. The second excerpt is from the chapter called “How to negotiate your new salary”—you can get it for free here: How to negotiate your new salary. Or you can get the full book on Amazon: Fearless Salary Negotiation: Get it here. Good luck!