A white speech bubble with three question marks in it is lying against a blue background.
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How to answer the ‘Why should we hire you?’ question in an interview

5 May 2021

Crafting an elevator pitch is a great way to show potential employers why they should hire you, writes Hays’ Marc Burrage.

How you answer ‘Why should I hire you?’ could really help you set a positive tone for the rest of a job interview. So, it’s important to understand that the way you respond to this question will have a huge bearing on how you’re able to position yourself as the best person for the job.

You must try to see this question as an opportunity to really sell yourself. A great way to do this is to incorporate the principles of an effective ‘elevator pitch’ into your answer. It summarises who you are, your background and your relevant experience.

It’s called an elevator pitch because you should be able to effectively deliver it in the same amount of time it takes to complete a ride in an elevator, so aim for about 30 to 60 seconds.

Let’s look at how you can prepare your elevator pitch in advance.

1. Consider why you were attracted to the role

What was it about the role and/or the organisation that initially caught your eye? It’s important to make clear your sincere passion for the role and company, including how the opportunity aligns with your passions, career ambitions and goals. Explaining why you are so interested in the role and company is often a great place to start when answering this question.

2. Prepare three skills or experiences to discuss

Write down everything you would like the hiring manager to know about your skills, experiences and accomplishments that are of relevance to this position. This list should include hard skills mentioned in the job description, such as computer programming or foreign language proficiency, as well as transferrable or soft skills, like communication and the ability to work as part of a team.

Then, begin crossing out everything you’ve mentioned that isn’t critical to your core pitch. This should mean that instead of spelling out every skill and experience you have (and probably losing the attention of the interviewer), you end up with three key points that you’re confident will intrigue and engage the interviewer.

3. Try to be concise

Don’t risk disengaging the interviewer with an overly long and poorly structured response. Every word, sentence and reason you use in your answer needs to have a purpose, which is why sticking to just three key points can be so powerful.

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4. Tailor your pitch

Be sure to focus on what you can offer the company. For example, explain how your unique qualities could help the hiring manager solve the problem that this job exists to solve.

5. Don’t memorise too much

Rehearse, but also maintain some spontaneity. You will, of course, need to prepare your answer sufficiently so that you able to confidently explain why the interviewer should hire you.

However, be sure not to over-rehearse your response to such an extent that you come across as robotic when you give it. You will still, after all, wish to come across like a human being in how you communicate with your interviewer.

A sample elevator-pitch style response

Here’s a strong example answer that you might consider modifying for your upcoming interview. There are three separate parts in this response as an example of how to incorporate the ‘power of three’ into your response.

I’ve been impressed with the pioneering and innovative approach that your company has taken over the years. So, when I came across the job advertisement for this role, it really sparked my interest – not only is it aligned to my career goals, but the prospect of working with a market-leading organisation really excites me.

I think there are three key reasons why you should hire me. Firstly, I believe I can provide the team management and coaching skills that you’ve asked for in the job description. I have a proven track record of managing, empowering and developing high-performing teams, and it’s something I enjoy doing.

Secondly, I can bring a strong commercial acumen that delivers proven results to your organisation. An example of that is the fact that my team helped to drive a 25pc boost in sales over just two years through the strategic repositioning of one of our key products.

And thirdly, I consider myself to be skilled in innovative and creative thinking, helping to protect your organisation from the change and disruption that is inevitably around the corner.

By Marc Burrage

Marc Burrage is managing director of Hays Poland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

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