Why should we hire you? How to answer a hard interview question

Landing your first interview is exciting. But it’s also nerve-racking. After the initial excitement wears off, you start to panic. You’re wondering how to prepare for your job interview.

Kim Costa |
Categories: Interviewing

And what’s one of the trickiest parts of that interview? It happens when you’re asked that dreaded question, “Why should we hire you?” Read on for tips on how to answer. Yes, even if you’ve never had a job before. You’ll be ready to ace your first job interview. In this post you’ll learn:

  • How to make your non-work experience relevant to the hiring manager

  • What your potential employer is really asking

  • What not to say when answering this interview question 

What the interviewer is really asking

We all understand your fear. “Why should we hire you?” is an intimidating question. It puts you in an awkward position. Suddenly, you’re forced to do a whole sales pitch for yourself

When you get that anxiety-inducing interview question, your mind suddenly goes blank. Self-doubt creeps in. Yeah, I don’t know why you’d hire me. I wouldn’t. I don’t have any experience… 

And then you say something that sounds desperate. You immediately regret opening your mouth. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way! 

You need to know what potential employers are really asking. They don’t want to know why they should hire you. They want you to tell them:

  • What are you bringing to the company that other job seekers aren’t? 

  • If hired, what value could you add to the organization?

  • What unique traits do you have that will improve our brand? 

Once you understand the question, you can prepare yourself with great interview answers.  

Rely on your extra-curricular activities

So you’ve never had a “real” job before. That doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible or unreliable. Your best bet? Rely on your experience with volunteering, school groups and sports teams. 

All those activities improve your communication and time management skills. And guess what? Those are valuable traits to any “real” employer.  

For example, you might say “I’m a motivated worker and a fast learner. During my time volunteering with a local thrift store, I realized how much I enjoy customer service. I loved the retail world in general. I think this position is a great fit. And I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Was the job description a perfect match for your skills? Respond with that in mind. Say “When I came across this job posting, I saw you needed someone with two years of experience and people skills. I realized it was the perfect fit. I’ve been developing those skills by fundraising for my school. Last year alone, I raised $10,000 towards a new auditorium. I can bring that type of motivation and experience into this position.”

Any good hiring manager is looking for the best person to fill an open role. Show them you’re that perfect fit. Want even more sample answers? 

Use the examples below to get your creative juices flowing. What have you done in the past that’s like the job description? What interested you about the job posting? Tailor your answer to include your personal experiences. Relate them to the position you want.  

Sample answer #1

Job Description: Administrative

Hiring Manager’s Desired Quality: Passion

I was a teacher’s assistant during my senior year. I helped my professor with everything from editing her book to running her social media. During my time as a T.A., I improved my writing skills and computer knowledge. That experience showed me how much I love administrative tasks. I know other people might find them boring. I can bring that same passion to this position.

Sample answer #2

Job Description: Sales and Marketing

Hiring Manager’s Desired Quality: Proven track record

I am passionate about animal rights. Every summer, I raised money to help local shelters. With that experience and my social media savvy, I can increase the profitability of this organization, too. 

Sample answer #3

Job Description: Driver

Hiring Manager’s Desired Quality: Punctuality

In my experience as a baseball coach, I was responsible for driving 25 students every weekend. In two years, I logged 8,000 miles. We never missed a game and I never compromised safety. 

I understand how important being on time is, especially when other people are depending on you. I can rely on my years of driving experience to ensure all deliveries arrive safely and on time.

What not to say

When a hiring manager asks, “Why should I hire you?”, it’s important that you don’t oversell yourself. It’s also crucial that you don’t grovel at their feet. You don’t want to remind the manager of your lack of experience. But you don’t want to lie either. 

When some people get the, “Why should we hire you?” interview question, they become cocky. They’ll ramble on about how awesome they are. They’re the hardest workers of all time. They’re creative geniuses. Don’t be one of them.

You also don’t want to be one of the people who go into desperation mode. They end up sabotaging themselves during the hiring process. They’re begging the hiring manager to take a chance. Yikes. Nobody wants to work with a sad, desperate person, let alone hire one.

Stay patient and persistent

Don't give up if you don't get a job offer right away. A job search takes persistence and patience. Potential employers will take notice of your determination and drive. 

Don’t get discouraged. And don’t be afraid to follow-up. Send an email or make a call if you haven’t heard back in a week. The truth is, some companies just have a longer hiring process than others. 

You can find even more job interview tips right here on Snag.

Ready to start interviewing?

You’re in the right spot. Browse the entry-level jobs available on Snag right now. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, a summer job or a full-time gig, we’ve got you covered. We’ll help you find a good match.