UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

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Why should you hire me? Let me count the ways ...

3/8/2010

“Why should I hire you?” is a question many candidates are asked in job interviews. It also is a question many candidates struggle with. They don’t want to appear arrogant, yet they want to convey self-confidence. They want to show that they definitely can do the job, but they don’t want to appear to be putting down other candidates.

What if the interviewer doesn’t ask the question at all? Does that mean he/she is not really interested in hiring you? The best way to prepare for an interview is remember that whether your interviewer asks you this question or not, it definitely is on his/her mind. If you are in the final round of an interview process, your interviewer certainly is wondering “Who has the best skills?”, “Who will fit in best with my team or the company?” and “I need to get this decision right; which one should I hire?” Here are a few suggestions that can help you prepare.

Network, network, network! From the moment you apply for the position (if not before), search for people in the company with whom you can network. Utilize these conversations to learn more about the company’s culture, structure and place in the market. This information you gain can complement the research you have conducted from the company’s website, industry publications and newspaper articles. Ask these people for permission to use their names or reference your conversations in your upcoming interview.

Emphasize specific aspects of the company that especially interested you. Conveying how much you know about the company’s culture and organization and how you see yourself fitting in can help you convince your interviewer that you belong with this company. Mentioning their names can increase the chances of their being contacted by the interviewer for additional information about you.

Demonstrate how you can add value in the job for which you are interviewing. You definitely should emphasize your past accomplishments in an interview, but don’t stop there. Pont out that many of the skills you utilized and developed that led to these accomplishments are very transferable to THIS job.

In your initial interviews, ask questions that allow you to learn more about major priorities of the job or major initiatives facing the company. In later interviews, be prepared to offer an outline of what you might do in the first thirty days on the job. Include what your priorities might be, how you would assess the short and long term needs, and/or how you would go about building an effective team.

If you honestly feel that this is the perfect job for you or that you would love to work for this company, don’t be subtle. The key work in this sentence is “honestly”. Many interviewers can tell stories of how candidates have tried to convince them that this is the perfect job for them only to turn down the offer for a competing company or a completely different job. If your enthusiasm is not genuine, most people will see through it.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, it’s hard to convince someone else of something when you are not convinced yourself. Use your follow-up emails and/or notes to reiterate your strong interest in the job and company and WHY you are the right person for the job.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. Please contact me at john_worth@unc.edu if you have any questions or would like to arrange an appointment.