By Alison Doyle

The Balance —

When a hiring manager asks you, “Why should we hire you?” she is really asking, “What makes you the best fit for this position?” Your answer to this question should be a concise “sales pitch” that explains what you have to offer the employer.

Remember that employers hire workers to solve a problem, whether it’s boosting sales or streamlining processes or building a brand. Your goal when making your pitch is to show that you’re the best person to solve that problem.

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The better you do that, the better your chances of landing the job.

How to Prepare to Answer Interview Questions About Why You Should Be Hired

When you’re getting ready for the interview, take a moment to review the job description. Make a list of the requirement for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then, make a list of the qualities you have that fit these requirements.

For each quality, think of a specific time that you used that trait to achieve something at work. For example, if you list that you are a “team player,” think of a time in which your ability to work well on a team resulted in a successfully completed project.

Don’t forget to think beyond the job description and consider which of your skills and accomplishments  make you a better candidate than the competition. For example, maybe you have an additional certification that makes you more knowledgeable about the company’s product than the typical salesperson.

When you’re honing your pitch, remember to be positive and to reiterate your interest in the company and the position.

Keep It Concise

You want your answer to be brief – no more than a minute or two long.

Therefore, select one or two specific qualities from the list you created to emphasize in your “sales pitch.” Begin by explaining what you believe the employer is looking for, and how you fulfill that need.

Be prepared to adapt to new information, if the interviewer indicates that another quality or skill is more valuable to the organization.

Focus on Your Uniqueness

The interviewer wants to know how you stand out among the other applicants.

Therefore, focus on one or two qualities you possess that are different from what other interviewees might offer, or are more difficult to find in candidates generally. For example, if you are very experienced with a certain skill that the job requires, say so. This is your chance to tell the interviewer why you would be an invaluable employee.

6 Examples of the Best Answers

  1. “I think that my experience in the (widget) industry and my ability to work autonomously make me a good match for this position.”
  2. “I have the savvy, experience, and superior communication ability to be an asset to your company.”
  3. “Your company provides many services that I have had experience with, in a variety of capacities. [Offer a few specific examples.] I believe that my familiarity with the industry would make me a good fit for this position.”
  4. “You have explained that you are looking for a sales executive who is able to effectively manage over a dozen employees. In my 15 years of experience as a sales manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my leadership abilities and strategies for achieving profit gains to this position.”
  5. “I have top-notch administrative skills and I believe I’d be an asset for the office. My skill set seems to be a perfect match for what you’re looking for. In addition, I enjoy working with people, and would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your team.”
  6. “You describe in the job listing that you are looking for a special education assistant teacher with an abundance of patience and compassion. Having served as a tutor at a summer school for dyslexic children for the past two years, I have developed my ability to be extremely patient while still achieving academic gains with my students. My experience teaching phonics to children ages 6 to 18 has taught me strategies for working with children of all ages and abilities, always with a smile. My previous employer often placed me with the students with the most severe learning disabilities because of my history of success. I will bring not only experience, but patience and creative problem-solving, to this position.”

Why Are You the Best Candidate?

A related question is “Why should we hire you instead of the other applicants?” When answering this question, remember that the hiring manager is looking to solve a problem. Explain how you would do that better than anyone else, and you’ll make a positive impression.

Another related question is “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” Be prepared to answer that as well. Avoid falling into the trap of humble-bragging about your best traits (“You shouldn’t hire me if you don’t want someone who crushes her numbers, each and every quarter!”) Instead, answer honestly and thoughtfully. For example, you might mention a quality that’s a bonus in some jobs but not in others, e.g. “You shouldn’t hire me if an extrovert would be a bad fit for your team. I value teamwork and relationships, and do my best work in a collaborative environment.”

Asked well, this question can provide you with information about the corporate culture that will help you decide if you want the job – which is just as important as persuading the hiring manager that you’re the best person for the role.