Why should we hire you? How to answer hard interview questions

How to answer the toughest interview questions

After spending days, or even weeks or months, searching for jobs and filling out job applications, you’ve finally landed your first interview. It’s exciting, but can also be nerve-wracking. In most cases, your first step should be beginning to prepare for the job interview. 

One of the most important parts of interview prep includes thinking through answers to some of the tough, and even dreaded, interview questions—especially Why should we hire you? No worries, we’ve got you covered. We’ll break down this question to show you:

What is the interviewer asking?

The question “Why should we hire you?” is one of the most common interview questions. It’s also one of the most intimidating, requiring you to sell yourself and qualifications to the hiring manager. You may also be asked “Why do you think you are the best fit for this position?” or “Why are you the best candidate?” Essentially, they’re all asking the same thing. 

When preparing an answer to this question, think about what the employer is really asking. They don’t actually want to know why they should hire you. They want you to tell them:

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

  • If hired, what value you’ll add to the organization

  • What unique traits you have that will be a good fit with their brand 

They might also ask you just to see how confident you are in what you offer to the organization, and how comfortable you are answering questions under pressure. If you don’t think they should hire you, they probably won’t think so either. 

How to answer “Why should we hire you?”

When employers ask this question, you know they’re looking for you to sell yourself, explain your value and show that you’re bringing something different to the role. Part of your interview prep should include researching the role and the company so you can show you understand what the job entails.

Take what you have in your background and and explain why that, plus the experience you do have, makes you a good fit. Also consider what sets you apart from other candidates and why you’ll perform well in this role. 

When you’re answering the question, be specific. Provide examples of your skills, experience and motivations. By offering details, you’re better selling yourself as being qualified for the role. 

Be sure to share how excited you are for the job, and that you’re motivated to perform well and exceed expectations. Share that you’ll fit in with the team and culture of the organization, as well as deliver results. Even if you’re not a great fit or don’t have some of the required qualifications, answering confidently and ensuring them you’ll be able to learn quickly can benefit you. 

Make your non-work experience relevant

You should take time to explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job. Even if this would be your first job, it doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible, unreliable or unqualified. If this is your circumstance, you should rely on your extra-curricular activities, like volunteering, school groups and sports teams.

Focus on skills you’ve learned, like communication, leadership and time management. You can also share examples of taking initiative and solving problems. These can be incredibly valuable traits to an employer. Consider which of your skills match the job description and respond with that in mind. 

How not to answer “Why should we hire you?”

When a hiring manager asks you this question, it’s important you don’t panic or overthink your answer. It’s also important to avoid:

  • Overselling yourself. Don’t go on and on about how you’re a perfect worker, amazing person and the best in the world for the job. While you want to be confident, don’t be cocky.

  • Begging for the job. This can come off as desperation, and you’ll likely end up sabotaging yourself.

  • Reminding the hiring manager of your lack of experience. By preparing for the interview, you should already have an idea of how to turn your lack of experience into great answers. However, reminding the hiring manager of your lack of experience can remind them there are likely other candidates who are more qualified.

  • Lying. Never lie on your resume or in an interview. This can hurt you both during the interview process and down the road.

Other hard questions in an interview

In addition to “Why should we hire you?”, there are other common interview questions you should prepare for. While this is not an exhaustive list, it should get you started brainstorming answers to interview questions. 

Tell me about yourself. 

When answering, don’t simply rattle off your resume or personal history. Instead, give a three- to five-sentence explanation that shares why you’re the best fit for the job. While you can reference your current role, give some background on how you got to where you are and why you want the job. 

Why did you apply for this position? 

They may also ask “Why do you want to work for this company?”. If you didn’t carefully read the job description before applying, or research the company prior to the interview, your lack of preparation may hurt you. Employers are looking for candidates who know what they want in a position and company, and they want to know whether you thoughtfully applied for this job. 

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

Again, don’t be cocky or oversell yourself here. Think about a few specific qualities or examples that are both relevant to the position and share who you are as a person and employee. Don’t be afraid to tell a story here to help explain your point. Understand what they’re looking for in this role and share examples of you succeeding with those traits. 

No one wants to admit they have weaknesses, but an employer asks this to help gauge your self-awareness and look for any red flags as to why they shouldn’t hire you. While you don’t want to make yourself sound bad, you should prepare at least one or two weaknesses to share. Then, always have an example of something you’re doing to improve that weakness. For example, perhaps you have a fear of public speaking, but you’ve been volunteering to run large meetings to become more comfortable. 

What motivates you?

Think about what you’re passionate about. What gets you excited? What made you really want to work for this company or have this role? Be sure your answer is relevant to either the job or company you’re interviewing with. You can tell a story or provide examples, but no matter what, be enthusiastic.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

You can be honest here, but there are a few things an interviewer is looking for when they ask this question: What are your career expectations? Are you ambitious and goal-oriented? Are your expectations realistic? Does this job align with your goals and career growth? 

Think about how this position and/or company can help you reach your career goals and grow personally and professionally. You may not know exactly where you’ll be in the future, and that’s okay, but be sure to demonstrate how this role will help get you there. 

Be patient and persistent

If you interview and don’t get a job offer right away, don’t give up. Job searching takes patience and persistence, and it even takes practice. However, potential employers will take notice of your determination, drive and passion for the role you’re applying for. 

Even if you don’t hear from the hiring manager right away, don’t be afraid to follow up. Send an email or make a phone call if you don’t hear back from them within a week (or the time frame they shared with you at the interview). Some companies have a longer hiring process than others, so it always helps to show your dedication to the role by following up. 

Ready to interview?

You’re prepared and in the right spot. Whether you’re looking for a part-time or a full-time job, Snagajob has you covered and can help you find a good match. Start your search or browse positions available now.

Andrea Barger |
Andrea (she/her) is our head of PR at Snagajob, where she’s focused on telling the world how we help hourly workers and employers. Her first hourly job was as a lifeguard.