In my last blog How to Stand Out in an Interview: Part One, I wrote about some of the ways to answer the interview question, “Why are you the best candidate for this job.” In Part Two I’ll explain how to really make your answer stand out.
Give them what they want
Hiring managers want to know why you’re the right person for their organization. Give them what they want!
- Prepare: Have a list of your accomplishments ready, so you can reference them easily when asked about your qualifications. Focus on concrete and specific examples that show how you’ve successfully done relevant work in previous roles and projects. This is important because experienced hiring managers and HR folks understand that past behaviour is one of the best predictors of future behaviour.
- Research the company: Use your time before the interview to learn more about the organization’s history, culture, mission, and goals—not just its products or services. This will help you frame your answers like an insider and this can help set you apart from other candidates who have a more superficial understanding of what it’s like working at the company or organization.
- Practice answering “why should we hire you?” questions with friends or family until they come out smoothly enough that they don’t seem rehearsed or contrived (I appreciate that this can feel hard!). If possible, record yourself practicing these answers so that you can listen back later and identify areas where you can improve before appearing in front of a hiring manager or an interview panel face-to-face.
During the interview, be ready to talk about the skills you’ve developed and link it back to the job
Talk about the skills you’ve developed during the course of your career. Show that you’re a self-starter and that you have the ability to work independently. Show that you’re an effective communicator.
Talk about specific instances where your skills were used in your previous roles and how they helped the company or team.
Talk about the continuous education courses/training that you have taken, the self-learning that you’ve done through reading, listening to podcasts, online courses, shadowing and learning from others.
Your Secret Weapon
To really stand out, consider explaining how your goals would result in success for the organization and also (secondarily) for yourself. Think about what you want, but also think about what would be best for the organization and its future, too. For example, if a company is looking to expand into new markets or introduce new products or services, put your focus on these areas when defining your career path and show how your goals align with theirs.
When an employer asks, “Why should we hire you?” they’re essentially asking why they should count on you to help them achieve their goals. Secondarily, they may also wonder why they should invest their time and resources into helping you grow as a professional — so make sure that every goal you articulate is achievable – and also linked to their success! It’s okay if some of them are challenging; as long as they’re measurable and realistic, then go ahead and include them on your list of goals that show off what kind of employee (and professional) you could be at this organization.
A Final Note: Proofread!
If your interview includes a written component, proofread your response carefully, and ask a trusted friend or experienced hiring manager/HR person to review it as well.
Sometimes, especially when you’re getting deeper into a hiring process, you need to submit written responses to questions or a written version of a presentation or deck. It’s important to make sure that you are answering the questions that are asked. You can do this by taking time to read over your response and making sure that it makes sense, sounds natural and is relevant to the role being discussed. It’s also important to respect any word or character limits and use any font that has been specified. In addition, ask them if there’s anything else they would like more information about — this will help ensure that everything is covered in detail so as not to leave any questions unanswered.
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