The coronavirus pandemic has many people rethinking their work life. More than half, 58%, of workers say it’s caused them to rethink their careers, according to a July 2021 MagnifyMoney survey of 1,039 people.
If you have a job interview coming up, you’ll want to be prepared for some of the most likely questions, including “What are your weaknesses?” and “What are your strengths?” Another popular one is “Why should we hire you?”
“Oftentimes this question is kept towards either the very beginning of the interview or most likely at the very end, kind of like a summary question,” says Brie Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs. Here’s how to answer it.
Give an ‘extended version of your elevator pitch’
“You probably already thought this [question] through when you were first applying for the job,” says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume. As you customized both your resume and cover letter for the position, you started to make the case for why this company would be wise to hire you.
In an interview, this question is a way to “deliver what we call an extended version of your elevator pitch,” says Augustine. That is, it’s another opportunity to lay out why you’re right for the role and to expand further than was possible in your application materials.
Consider the top skills and requirements listed in the job description and come up with some specific examples from your work background that show you possess and maybe even excel at them. The STAR method ― situation, task, action, results ― can help you tease out those details. “The emphasis is definitely on your qualifications: why you fit the bill, the value you can bring to the table,” says Augustine. “But it also doesn’t hurt to throw a little bit in there about why are you genuinely excited about this role.”
Anticipating future challenges shows ‘more initiative’
Beyond the straightforward explanation of why you fit the parameters of the role, this question is an opportunity to showcase your ability to succeed in it.
“What companies appreciate is when you did some research,” says Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, entrepreneur and author of “Choose Possibility.” “Not just on what specifically the job is today” but “what their challenges might be” in the future.
If the role is similar to experience you’ve had in the past, think about the challenges that have come up for you and whether or not this particular role could involve those as well. Then consider what you did to solve those problems and how you could be ready if they arise. You could even explore the kinds of challenges a person in the role might encounter and come up with game plans to discuss in the interview.
“I think that’s showing a little bit more initiative,” says Singh Cassidy.
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