How to Handle Difficult Interview Questions #5

Why should we hire you?

You pray for them to ask this question, it is your home run question. This is the question that will allow you to show how much research you’ve done, how your skill set matches their needs, demonstrate your understanding of their problems, and your understanding of their problems that you can solve.

Most people aren’t used to selling themselves so this answer might be uncomfortable for some to answer. But this is no time for modesty. If you don’t toot your own horn, they won’t know what you can do for them so it is up to you to sell yourself.
Like most answers in an interview, you will want to focus on their needs rather than your needs. Prior to the interview research, research and more research. You need to know the company inside-out, you should be as knowledgeable about the company as the average employee. You need to know their products, services, successes, failures, future plans, history, market advantages/disadvantages, competitors, absolutely everything you can find about them.
How do you research a company?
  • You need to devour every piece of written material you can find. Google the company, read every result. Identify the key leaders: have they written articles, blogs or been quoted in the press.  Read competitor’s websites and published news.
  • Talk to current and ex-employees and talk to competitor’s employees, use LinkedIn to find these contacts. Ask specific questions that will give you a broad understanding of the culture. Don’t let one bad review spoil the reputation of the company, but do take notice if you get several negatives.
Formulate your answer
  • Carefully read the job posting, identify the 3 – 5 key skills they are seeking.
  • Begin by writing your PAR stories (Problem, Action, and Results) about accomplishments for each of the skills they are seeking. Detail these stories with plenty of numbers – how much did you improve, how much did you save, etc.
  • Find a pain point, what is an issue they are struggling with?  How can you solve that issue or how does your experience relate to that issue?  Use your PAR stories to illustrate your fit. Help them see you as a valuable team member.
Final thoughts
This answer can’t be a one size fits all kind of answer, you should tailor it to the specific job and company. And have several prepared, you never know what direction the interview will take once it has started, so you should be flexible and use the stories that match the needs now that you have been able to use more discovery questions.
This answer can be the most critical answer you give, use this answer to shine and prove you are the right selection.
This is the fifth installment in a series devoted to answering the difficult interview questions.
Below are links to the first four:

Rick ChristensenRick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.