“Why should we hire you?” – 6 signs of a strong answer

By Robert Half 28 October 2019

When carrying out a job interview, there’s an endless number of employer interview questions you could ask a candidate.

One that is crucial but sometimes overlooked is “why should we hire you?”

But why is this a question you need to ask and what should you be listening out for in a candidate’s answer?

Why ask: "Why should we hire you?"

It’s likely that you’ve already done thorough resume checks before the interview stage, so any candidate is a potential recruitment option.

But being qualified is not enough. In such a competitive job market, asking “why should we hire you?” can help establish what sets one candidate apart from another.

Hiring someone is a big decision and involves a certain element of risk. You need to ensure they are the right fit for the job.

By asking “why should we hire you?”, you are asking the candidate to present themselves and their skills to you. This way, you can find out far more than what’s on their resume, and get a real sense of whether they will fit well inside your business.

6 signs of a strong answer

“Why should we hire you?” is a simple enough question, but there is no single right answer. It’s therefore important to listen carefully to the answers a candidate offers.

Here are six key points you should listen out for, to help establish a candidate’s suitability for the job:

1. Clear points

Ideally, an interviewee will answer “why should we hire you?” clearly and concisely. They should summarise their reasons for wanting this particular job in three or four points. Their answer should demonstrate that they have read the job description, are clear on what the job entails and understand the company’s needs. You also want someone who has genuinely taken time to consider why they want the job and have prepared an answer, rather than making up a vague response on the spot.

2. Evidence

If a candidate says they have certain skills and experiences, have they backed these claims up with evidence? Listen for anecdotes, or follow up with additional questions, to find out how they have demonstrated their skills and experiences previously.

3. Confidence

You want to hire someone who is comfortable talking with others, but not timid, or arrogant. Look for signs of their confidence levels during the interview. For example, does the candidate talk clearly and concisely? And do they make eye contact when they talk or stare down at the table? Keep in mind that interviews can be nerve-wracking, so people may act slightly differently to how they would usually.

4. Enthusiasm

You want to hire someone who shows genuine interest in working for your business and embracing the role on offer. They should show a clear knowledge of the business and the specific role, without reeling off information from your company’s ‘about’ page. When they talk, listen to how they talk too. Do they sound enthusiastic, motivated and driven when they’re talking, or are they just memorising a pre-prepared script? Skills can be taught and experience can be gained, but enthusiasm for the role is something really valuable.

5. Personality

You want someone with a good personality, not a candidate who speaks robotically, or who you struggle to make a rapport with. When talking with them, try to establish whether they would fit well within your current team. Do what you can to make candidates feel at ease, which may help their true personality shine through.

6. Uniqueness

Listen out for something that is unique, that sets them apart from other candidates you have interviewed. Do they have any skills that could provide you with extra value, or unique hobbies and experiences that could be beneficial to their role?

Asking “why should we hire you?”, isn’t the only employer interview question you should ask, but it will certainly help to give you an instant view of a candidate’s suitability for the role.

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