By: S. David Ross, Associate Director
Ah, the dreaded interview question – “Why should we hire you over everyone else we are interviewing today?” I have asked this question during many mock interviews and students have been very curious to hear more about how to approach this question. While there is not a universal answer that will impress all interviewers, consider the following as you contemplate how to answer the question:
- How you express your answer can be as important as what you say. Think about what makes someone believable – how a person expresses a point can be very influential. If someone has strong eye contact, speaks eloquently and delivers a coherent response, that projects confidence – a trait that recruiters consider when making hiring decisions. Conversely, if someone has poor communication skills, seems hesitant or nervous, any valid points may be taken with a grain of salt. If you are not confident in yourself and your abilities, why would a recruiter want to take a risk on hiring you?
- Avoid using general, trite adjectives. These will vary depending on the position you are interviewing for, but saying that you have strong communication skills, pay attention to detail are a team player and a hard worker will not differentiate you from other applicants. I would suggest thinking carefully and critically about the position you are interviewing for and what makes that position different from other opportunities. For example, if your position involves working with clients, think about your skills and attributes that may be an asset for that particular aspect of the job – perhaps you have an engaging personality that helps you build rapport and earn trust. In essence, the more detailed you can be about your reasons as they relate to the position you are interviewing for, the better.
- Avoid lengthy answers and tangents. The potential danger with this interview question is not knowing when to end your answer and elaborating too much. When I have asked this question during a mock interview, I have seen interviewees start off focused then go off on a tangent and ultimately deliver a very long-winded response. Attention spans are short so remain focused in your reply.
- Summarize with examples. Depending on the points you want to make, think about creating a succinct reply supported with specific experiences or examples to make your claims more credible. It’s one thing to say you have the requisite skills to be successful but another to provide evidence to substantiate your statement.
If you approach the “why should we hire you over everyone else we are interviewing today” question with these ideas in mind, you can create a strong answer to a challenging question.