This is a critical question because it will show your success, self-confidence, and preparation. Employers take this question very seriously, and you should, too.
The question of, "Why should we hire you?" can take a variety of forms such as, "Why do you think you will be successful in this position?" Like "Why do you want to work here?" and "Tell me about yourself," this question is the employer's inviation to sell yourself as the answer to their needs.
In this answer, do double-time by selling yourself and by demonstrating your knowledge of the company. Thus, start by doing your homework on the company before the interview, even if it is "only" a telephone interview. That will likely include visiting their website, Googling their name, and performing an advanced search on LinkedIn long before you ever find yourself in the interview!
[Related: Pre-Interview Preparation.]
An answer that focuses on the benefits to you is a bad answer. So, answers like:
As important as those reasons are to you, they are not the reasons the employer will hire you. Frankly, nice as they might be, they really don't care about the benefits to you if they hire you.
Your answer to this question should focus on them, not on you! You are the seller in this situation, not the buyer. So, you need to focus on the benefits (more than one!) to the buyer.
Remember that the goal here is to entice this employer to offer you this job.
[Related: 30 Bad Answers to Job Interview Questions.]
Embrace that this question as an opportunity to emphasize your value and to demonstrate your knowledge as they work together to show how well you could do the job.
For example, someone applying for a position as an administrative assistant might say:
"I have been using Word, Excel, and Outlook since 2001 to maintain both financial and administrative records, create and distribute internal reports for management to monitor employee activity and asset usage which was received by 4 senior managers including the CEO and COO, and create and distribute the internal organizational newsletter which was sent to over 200 staff members twice a month.
"The financial reports were created and maintained using Excel, and both newsletters were written using Microsoft Word, using templates that I developed, and distributed using Outlook.
"I have taken several workshops on Microsoft Office products, and have worked with the newest version and previous versions, going back to the 1997 version. So, I am very comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite of products."
Or, in a more traditional situation, here’s what you might prepare to say as a new graduate of a medical transcription training program applying for a job with a cardiology practice:
"I believe that I will be successful in this position because I have 900 hours of hands-on training in medical transcription in a classroom environment at the XYZ Institute.
(Get out your portfolio, and open it to a print out of a sample of your work). "Here you can see several examples of medical records, dictation, and reports I have produced in MS Word.
"I have also excelled in my terminology courses, gaining a strong base in numerous disciplines.
"However, I have always been interested in Cardiology and made it a personal goal to focus on that area. Because of that, I read the Journal of Cardiology to stay up-to-date with changes in the field, names of new pharmaceuticals, and other innovations.
"I have an excellent basis in the discipline to transcribe the records of your Cardiologists with ease. Also, I recently joined the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists and am already taking steps to pursue certification."
When I share answers like this, most people react by saying, "That’s so good; I couldn’t do that." But, that’s not true - crafting answers like this is just getting to know yourself in advance.
[MORE: Smart Answers to Interview Questions.]
You need to plan to answer questions about why you are qualified and know how to sell yourself above the other applicants. Realize that you may have the same skillset, but much of job interview success revolves around who does the best job at communicating it in the interview!
So, spend some time doing the following:
By making getting hired your job and putting in the time to prepare, you can successfully and confidently answer an employer when they ask, "Why should we hire you?" Go get ‘em!
For more about handling behavioral interviews, panel interviews, and telephone interviews, as well as preparing for job interviews, see the article list on the right.
Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, Resumes for Dummies,and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Google+ and Twitter at @careerhero.