Why should we hire you?
It’s a classic question you will face during your internship search and as you look for your first entry-level job. Every hire is an investment for a company—so you need to convince employers that you’re worth it. This means letting your interviewers know that you can do the job, that you won’t leave prematurely and that you’ll be a good fit for the company. Put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes: part of their job involves hiring someone, and the person they hire will be a direct reflection of how well they’re able to do that job. Make their job easier by clearly outlining the reasons they should hire you from the get-go.
Since you know a variation of this question will come up in most interviews, there’s absolutely no reason for you to wing it on the spot. Here’s how to prepare so you ace it every time:
1. Review the Job
Read the job posting carefully and thoroughly (and maybe even two or three times over) to get intimate with the qualities and experiences the ideal candidate should bring to the table. Then, research the company to understand its underpinning goals, values and history. Perhaps you’ve applied at a startup; this likely means that they value innovation in a fast-paced environment. If you’re gunning for a role at an environmentally-friendly company, look into their stance on certain environmental issues like waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Are you applying for a role that requires strong research skills? Use this information to your benefit: This will allow you to provide an answer that doesn’t just explain why you’re right for the job, but also why you’ll be a good fit for the company too.
2. Review Your Skills
The best way to sell yourself? Knowing your own experience inside and out. While you think you might already have this part down, having written your resume is merely a primer. Sit down before the interview and make a list of all your skills, strengths, accomplishments (including awards and distinctions), classes, extra credit work or industry knowledge that’s relevant to the position. Any past experiences in which you faced a challenge, along with the actions you took to address it and any positive results that followed, should be noted as well.
3. Cut It Down
Once you have your list of relevant competencies written down, pick out the top three or four you feel are the most pertinent for the job. Try to include a selection of skills, experiences, accolades or industry intelligence in order to have a variety of reasons that you’re the best person for the job. Highlight specific experiences and elaborate on why they’re applicable to the potential role. Anyone can say they’re organized, driven and passionate, but having the examples to back up your claims will set you apart. Make sure your final answer is concise and to the point (limit your answer to one or two minutes in length) while highlighting your most compelling assets.
Don’t be too modest! Sure, it can be hard to talk about yourself, but this is your time to sell your skills. Practicing your answer in advance can also help, especially to ensure you remain within an appropriate time limit and keep your points concise. Don’t memorize a script—you want your answer to be natural—but take the time to talk through it, and practice using examples to illustrate what you’ll bring to the table. Not only will this help you feel more confident on the day of the interview, it will also help you speak to your strengths in an eloquent, straightforward manner, which will impress your interviewers.
Ready to put your skills to use? Start applying for jobs for college students today!