HOW TO ELEVATE YOUR ANSWER TO: “WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU?”
HOW TO ELEVATE YOUR ANSWER TO: “WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU?”
Marc Burrage Marc Burrage Managing Director, Hays Poland
With it often being one of the first questions asked in a job interview, how you answer, “Why should I hire you?” could really help you set a positive tone for the rest of the meeting, whilst engaging the interviewer in what you have to say from the outset. So, it’s important to understand that the way you respond to this interview question will have a huge bearing on the extent to which you’re able to position yourself as the best person for the job in the eyes of the interviewer.
In this blog, I’ll share my advice on how you can prepare a succinct, sharp and impactful response to this question, prior to your interview. After all, by blurting out an incoherent and unstructured response, you risk disengaging the interviewer from the start, which you may struggle to come back from.
It’s time to perfect your ‘elevator pitch’
As I eluded to in the introduction, you must try to see this question as an opportunity to really sell yourself, focusing the interviewer on all the reasons why you are the right person for this role. A great way to do this is to incorporate the principles of an effective ‘elevator pitch’ into your answer.
An ‘elevator pitch’ in the context of a job interview, is a short summary, summarising who you are, your background and your relevant experience. It’s called an ‘elevator’ pitch because you should be able to effectively deliver it in the same time it takes to complete a ride in an elevator – so aim for about 30-60 seconds long.
Preparing an ‘elevator pitch’ style response ahead of time can be hugely valuable in ensuring you’re able to explain clearly, with confidence and conviction, why you are the best person for the job.
Tap into the ‘power of three’ to persuade and convince your interviewer
A good formula for an effective ‘elevator pitch’ style response to this interview question is listing three strong and compelling reasons why the employer should hire you. Yes, of course, the employer will want to hear more than just three reasons evidencing your suitability for the role, but by summarising three, strong and impactful key points at the start of the meeting, this leaves the door open for you to elaborate further throughout the interview and may also spark follow-up questions from the interviewer.
The ‘power of three’ in communication has been found to be extremely effective in engaging with an audience, and commanding their full attention:
- Persuade and influence your interviewer: Interestingly, research has pointed in the past to the power of threes in persuasion and influence. In fact, a study in 2013 by two marketing and behavioural science professors found that in advertisements, stump speeches and other messages aimed at manipulating opinion, the use of three distinct points was particularly persuasive. However, using four or more claims tended to make audiences sceptical, negating an initially positive impression.
- Improve the recall of your interviewer: Other research indicates that the ‘power of three’ is also valuable in helping your audience remember and retain the information you’ve shared with them. Scientists have found that the number of items we can recall in short-term memory is closer to three or four, no more. As this Forbes article states, “If your listener will only remember about three things from your conversation, presentation, or email, why overwhelm them with twenty-two key messages? Longer lists are complex, confusing, and convoluted.”
There are also many examples of public figures using the ‘power of three’ to great effect. Former US President Barack Obama, for instance, has been noted for frequently speaking in sets of three, with his “Yes We Can” 2008 presidential acceptance speech including at least a dozen such triples. Other famous historical examples of the ‘power of three’ include former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s summary of his priorities for government as “education, education, education”, and Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Using the ‘power of three’ to create your interview elevator pitch
So, now that we understand what an elevator pitch is, and the benefits of tapping into the ‘power of three’ when crafting your response to the interview question “Why should I hire you?”. Let’s now look at how you can prepare your answer in advance:
- Think about what attracted you to the job. What was it about the role and/or the organisation that initially caught your eye? It’s important to make clear your sincere passion for the role and company, including how the opportunity aligns with your passions, career ambitions and goals. Explaining why you are so interested in the role/company, is often a great place to start when answering this question.
- Identify the three skills/experiences you’re going to mention. Write down everything you would like the hiring manager to know about your skills, experiences and accomplishments which are of relevance to this position. This list should include ‘hard skills’ mentioned in the job description, such as computer programming or foreign-language proficiency, as well as transferrable or ‘soft skills’, like communication and the ability to work as part of a team. Then, begin crossing out everything you’ve mentioned that isn’t critical to your core pitch. This should mean that instead of spelling out every skill and experience you have (and probably losing the attention of the interviewer), you end up with three key points (your ‘power of three’) that you’re confident will intrigue and engage the interviewer.
- Be informative, but succinct. Don’t risk disengaging the interviewer with an overly long and poorly structured response. Every word, sentence and reason you use in your answer needs to have a purpose – which is why, again, sticking to just three key points can be so powerful.
- Tailor the pitch to them rather than you. Be sure to focus on what you can offer the company. For example, explain how your unique qualities could help the hiring manager to solve the problem that this job exists to solve.
- Rehearse, but also maintain some spontaneity. You will, of course, need to prepare your answer sufficiently so that you able to confidently explain why the interviewer should hire you. However, be sure not to over-rehearse your response to such an extent that you come across as robotic when you give it. You will still, after all, wish to come across like a human being in how you communicate with your interviewer.
A sample ‘elevator pitch’ style response to tailor for your next interview
Here’s a strong example answer that you might consider modifying for your upcoming interview. I have numbered the three separate parts in this response as an example of how to incorporate the ‘power of three’ into your response.
“I’ve been impressed with the pioneering and innovative approach that XXX have taken over the years. So, when I came across the job advertisement for this role, it really sparked my interest – not only is it aligned to my career goals, but the prospect of working with a market-leading organisation really excites me.
I think there are three key reasons why you should hire me.
(1) Firstly, I believe I can provide the team management and coaching skills that you’ve asked for in the job description. I have a proven track record of managing, empowering and developing high-performing teams, and it’s something I enjoy doing.
(2) Secondly, I can bring a strong commercial acumen, which delivers proven results, to your organisation. An example of that is the fact that my team helped to drive a 25% boost in sales over just two years, through the strategic repositioning of one of our key products.
(3) And thirdly, I consider myself to be skilled in innovative and creative thinking, helping to protect your organisation from the change and disruption which is inevitably around the corner.”
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of being asked, “Why should I hire you?” Instead, prepare! Think of this question as the perfect opportunity to elevate the hiring manager’s interest in the unique skills and experiences you can bring to the role, ensuring they remember you for all the right reasons.
Marc joined Hays at the beginning of 2012 as Regional Director for Hong Kong. In 2014 he was asked to head up the Hays Talent Solutions business in Asia, before being appointed Managing Director for Hays Japan in 2015. In this role, Marc was responsible for the day-to-day operations and growth of the Japanese business across all specialisms, supplying permanent, executive search, temporary, contract and onsite solutions.
Marc has broad industry and functional expertise, with a proven track record of continued success and has led and grown businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Prior to working in the recruitment industry Marc held various sales and marketing management positions in the automotive industry. He has extensive business transformation and change management experience and is adept at building, developing and leading cross functional teams. Marc was a board member for the Leadership Institute of New Zealand and studied strategy at Ashridge International Business School.