The Best Way to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?” – Easy Tips & Strategies

For most people, the most daunting question they can get asked in an interview is “why should we hire you?”

“I have to come across as humble. But not too humble. I still need to share my strengths. But I can’t sound like a show-off either. How do I strike that balance? How do I toot my own horn without crossing the line into pompousness?”

Do you find yourself stuck in that struggle too?

Allow me to help.

In this article, we will try to answer the following questions:

  • Why do interviewers ask, “why should we hire you?”
  • What’s the best answer to “why should we hire you?”
  • How long should you take to answer, “why should we hire you?”
  • How should you prepare to answer, “why should we hire you?”
  • Why do people fail to answer, “why should we hire you?”

Before we dive in, it is important for you to understand that the recruiter may mold this question in many different forms like:

  • What makes you the best fit for this job?
  • Why should I prefer you over other candidates?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What are your key strengths?

By understanding the rationale behind these questions, you can give a better answer. One that meets the recruiter or hiring managers need.

Quick side note: Did you know you can create the perfect first impression before your interview process even starts with an ideal resume? Use my quick, two-page salary doubling resume cheat sheet to help optimize your resume:


"Why should we hire you" - Change the way you think

You have to begin by looking at the question in a different light. The interviewer doesn’t want you to praise yourself. They’re not looking for a list of self-descriptors or a boastful speech.

They are interested in the "how" of your successes.

"Prove to us that you’ll be a valuable member of the team."

So, let’s start with understanding why the interviewer is asking such a question:

Why do interviewers ask, "why should we hire you?"

The average hiring manager or recruiter has to screen hundreds of resumes and interview applicants. As you can imagine, it becomes painfully difficult to shortlist the best candidate. This is doubly true when they have many highly qualified individuals to choose from.

So, asking a question like "why should we hire you" indirectly encourages candidates to provide their unique value proposition. This in turn helps recruiters pick the best person for their company.

In other words, this question is an opportunity for candidates to stand out from the crowd.

While all the candidates may possess more or less the same technical knowledge required for the job, this question tests a candidate’s "added value" component. i.e. "What special skills do you bring to the table?" And that’s what makes all the difference in a competitive environment.

It is through this answer that a candidate can show that they have the company required skills, a track record of success, and will be a strong cultural fit for the position.

How long should my response be?

Whatever your response is, keep it short and crisp. Take no longer than 2 minutes to answer it. Don’t bore the recruiter with a lengthy, rambling answer. You will come across as disorganized if you fail to present a structured answer.

Nevertheless, the length of your answer depends on:

  • When was the question asked in the interview?
  • How many interviews have you had so far?

If asked at the beginning of the interview, give a little more detailed explanation. This is because you haven’t yet built a rapport with the interviewer. Introduce yourself subtly. Then answer the question. Focus on showcasing the skills the employer wants from their ideal candidate.

If the question is asked near the end of the interview, you can keep your answer brief. At that point, you’ve made an impression on the interviewer. You can focus on sharing the "highlights" instead of giving a short summary of your candidacy.

If it is your first or second interview, it is best to stay within the 2-minute limit. The recruiter has many people to interview; you should respect their time by being precise in your answer. If you have progressed past that point (third interview or higher), you have room to give a detailed explanation.

How do I prepare to answer "why should we hire you?"

To prepare a strong answer, you need to follow 3 steps.

Step 1: Study the job listing

Study the job listings to understand what qualities and skills the employer is looking for. Match those requirements with your skillset. Select 3-5 overlapping skills as the primary skills you want to showcase in the interview.

Next, select one story or accomplishment for each of the shortlisted skills. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which problems did you face during that project?
  • What actions did you take?
  • What was the end result?

Now write down your answers.

Step 2: Understand the organizational culture

Develop a thorough understanding of the company’s organizational culture. Check the company’s "About Us" page online. Examine their LinkedIn page.  Your research should also focus on finding information about the target department and position you’re aiming for.

Your goal is to build a clear understanding of the cultural and behavioral values the employer wants in an average employee.

Write down the employer’s values. Try to think of a success story or two where you clearly demonstrated these values.

Step 3: Structure your answer

Bring your research together into a cohesive answer.

Select which skills and stories you want to share with the recruiter as proof for why you would be a good fit for the company. Try to pair the main cultural values of the company with your biggest strengths.

To ease this process, develop a script or list down your answer in bullet form. Practice your answer by recording yourself or using Text-To-Speech. Study your phrasing and adjust accordingly.

Let’s look at an example.

Example Set 1: Construction Project Managers

Suppose you have to choose between two construction project managers. You’re looking for a person who is technically qualified, experienced in conflict resolution, and building relationships.

Looking at their resume, they are both equally qualified. In their interview, you asked them both: "why should I hire you?"

Below are their answers:

Candidate 1: "I have a lot of experience delivering projects. In my last job, I delivered 5 construction projects utilizing waterfall methodology. Nowadays, Agile methodology is preferred over waterfall because of its capability to produce urgent project deliverables. Nevertheless, I have had successful experiences in promising outcomes using waterfall. I had to do this on my last project that was worth $3M in total. I would like to leverage that experience in my next job and help deliver quality outcomes for your company."

It’s clear to see that this candidate has strong technical capabilities. They know what they’re talking about and can drive results.

But what kind of a project manager are they? Are they the kind of leader who will bridge gaps between teams and employees to drive success? Or do they not prioritize relationship building during projects?

It’s hard to tell from this answer.

Candidate 2: "You should hire me because I’ve got a track record of success. In the last 5 years, I’ve delivered 5 construction projects of varying worth. They all had different implementation challenges that I successfully overcame by leveraging my team’s strengths and by building strong vendor relationships.

On one project, a vendor unexpectedly pulled out of our contract and we had to scramble to find enough materials to keep the project going. But because I’d maintained good relationships with our key vendors, we were able to secure materials within 48 hours. My team also volunteered to work some overtime to help unload the materials and get them ready for the next day. That’s the kind of work environment I enjoy building because each project is a collaboration.”

This second candidate is sharing a story that demonstrates a lot more valued skills than the first candidate. They are clearly skilled in project management, vendor management, team management, leadership, deadline adherence, negotiations, and relationship building.

This candidate has given you a clearer picture of themselves.

Keeping in mind the initial company requirements (technical skills, conflict resolution, and relationship building), which candidate would you be more interested in calling back for a second interview? Who did the better job of answering the question?

The second one, right?

Next, let’s look at some other examples.

Example Set 2: Common Jobs

Sales Executive: "I realize that this job requires the candidate to have a deep understanding of customer requirements and the ability to identify new sales territories. As an Advertising major, I have studied customer psychology in detail and can use this to develop insights that will ensure a strong customer-product fit. As a Sales rep in XYZ company, I improved sales from $70K to $100K/month by customizing the product according to the customer requirements of each territory.”

Project Management: "This job requires the candidate to effectively manage cross-functional teams and build long-lasting relations with clients and vendors. Not only do I have 5-year experience in procurement management, but I also expedited the execution of three pending construction projects by resolving miscommunication issues and getting vendors on-board at my previous company. It boosted the company’s operational efficiency by 70%."

Healthcare Manager: "This position demands an all-rounder candidate who can balance managerial duties with healthcare expertise. My main focus has been on elevating patient care through employee training. At my last job, I championed a new training program for nurses and doctors that directly resulted in a 10-point improvement in patient satisfaction scores for our department. I led some of these training sessions myself and taught front-line healthcare providers how they can better manage sensitive situations. Hospital management was so pleased with our result that they asked me to expand the program to other departments."

Can you identify the common framework behind these answers?

Your answer should:

  • Start with a convincing statement showing you understand the job requirements
  • Give proof that you have those qualities
  • Pepper in numbers for additional proof.

But what if I am an inexperienced fresh graduate?

Say you’re a fresh graduate and the job you’re applying for requires powerful leadership capabilities. You might look at this and wonder, exasperated, "Where am I supposed to find an example for that?"

I’m here to reassure you that there are a few areas to look into.

If you do not have professional leadership experience, look to your daily life, volunteer activities, or university experiences.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Did you lead a team to the successful delivery of a research project or an assignment?
  • Did you step-up and take points on a project when others were reluctant to coordinate tasks?
  • Have you supervised a group of people on a community service project?
  • Were you tasked by the club leader to teach a group of students how to use the lab equipment?

If you carefully look around you, you will find examples of times where you stepped up to lead a group of people. Then, you will be able to prepare a strong answer to "why should we hire you?"

Is it okay to mention that I’m passionate about this field?

If you have a genuine passion for your field, you can demonstrate that in your answer. Explaining why you’re passionate about what you do is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

However, remember that it isn’t enough to tell the hiring manager, "I’m passionate about what I do." You’ll have to back this statement up with proof. Explain to the hiring manager how you leverage your passion into results for the company.

If you stick to the advice shared above, nothing can stop you from acing that interview and landing your dream job. Lastly, here are the worst interview mistakes people make and ways to avoid them.

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