Why should a company hire you

Why should we hire you?

The job interview

A contribution by Christine Öttl

That is probably the question of all questions in a job interview - either it is asked explicitly and directly or it is "hidden" behind a whole series of questions: After all, for the personnel decision maker it is about finding out what the individual applicants are, both technically and professionally personally - and use this as a basis to make the best possible decision. Say to recruit the person for the company who probably best fits the vacant position and the company.
So it makes a lot of sense to dig deeply into what answer you can give to this question.

In my application coaching I always ask this question explicitly: "Now tell me: Why do you think that I should hire you in particular!" Some people then roll their eyes spontaneously and the aversion to this question is written on their face - as if I had just insulted them massively! Others break a sweat, look desperate and have no idea what to do now. Since I've worked as a department head for almost ten years and have held numerous job interviews myself, I know from my own experience that there are very often such reactions in real job interviews. And that's a shame!

It is better and more helpful if you:

  • Expect from the outset that this question will be asked of you in one form or another
  • "Make peace" with the fact that this question will come up in one form or another
  • realize that from a company perspective this question is not only justified but also very interesting
  • See the question as an opportunity for you to prepare intensively for the conversation and to know as much about yourself as possible
  • See the question as an opportunity to present yourself well in the conversation and to leave a positive and differentiated impression.

The question is not a provocation!
If the question is actually asked explicitly, it is not to provoke you. Rather, a good interviewer wants to find out:

  • How well are you prepared? How many thoughts did you give in advance?
  • How well do you know about the company / industry / position?
  • How realistic are your ideas about the job you are aiming for?
  • How well do you know yourself and your strengths - professionally and personally?
  • How strong is your motivation? What is your motivation?
  • How do you deal with such a question? How do you react to that?
  • How do you present yourself? How do you talk about yourself?
  • How are your manners?

Please put yourself briefly in the position of the personnel decision maker and look at an application situation: What do you think of an applicant who is silent on this question and looks inquiringly, giving you a "Good question!" replies or signals unmistakably: "What is this about now ?!".

Tip: What if the question is asked provocatively?
Yes, it can happen that the person you are talking to wants to defy you and actually asks "the question of all questions" in a provocative manner. Fortunately, it rarely happens because good personnel decision-makers want to get to know their applicants intensively - and the less they are under pressure, the better that works.
But if it does happen to you, it is most helpful if you concentrate on the content of the question and consciously push aside the not so pleasant tone. Make it clear to yourself in advance: you don't have to get involved in the provocative tone - you can just answer the question. The best foundation for doing this is to prepare yourself intensively and to have a good answer to the question.

Prepare a short and meaningful answer

Applicants often answer the question of why they should be hired with a single sentence that sounds something like this: "because of my many years of experience in the job" or "because I meet all the requirements that are specified in the job advertisement" or "because I bring important know-how with me" or "because I am a committed employee and always think about it".
Please do not get me wrong: These are important arguments, but the person you are talking to can only really do something with them or only get a clear impression of you if you go deeper and tell what exactly you mean by that.

Better than simply referring to the company's expectations and claiming that you can meet them all, it is, for example, to single out a few and then tell what you understand by them, to what extent you have the respective competence and how you are have used them successfully in your previous working life. Because then you not only bring life to your self-presentation, but also make yourself tangible as an individual personality (and as a well-prepared applicant).

The answer to the question of why you should be hired in your opinion is in reality nothing more than the essence of everything that you have to offer - tailored to the respective position and the company. For this reason, you should only deal with the answer to this question after you have dealt intensively with all the other questions that are usually asked in job interviews.

These are, for example, thoughts about:

  • Your professional aptitude - what you can do
  • Your personal competencies - how you are, to what extent you are a good colleague / employee
  • Your motivation - what exactly excites you about the job and the company
  • Your expectations - what exactly you expect from the position and the company, what plans, wishes and long-term goals you have
  • why you think you are a good fit for the company

When you have done this preliminary work (preferably in writing!), You can select a few from the wealth of thoughts about yourself and combine them into one statement - tailored as individually as possible to the respective position and the company. While this will take some time and effort, you will see that it is well worth it. Firstly, you gain much more clarity about yourself and thus a good basis for presenting yourself well. Second, if you are really well prepared, job interviews lose a lot of the horror and stress.

But I'm nothing special!

Again and again I meet people who feel completely overwhelmed by the question of why you should choose them. And that's because they think they have to stand out from everyone else, put all competitors in the shade, be a "super high-flyer" and have something very special to offer. But since they have nothing world-shaking and spectacular to offer, the prospect of this question inevitably terrifies them.

Of course, there are positions that are reserved for so-called "high potentials" - and for which only people with the appropriate qualifications should apply. But that is by no means the norm. In the vast majority of cases, companies are looking for good people who can fill the advertised position well and who fit the company's spirit. And the "question of all questions" only aims to find out whether that is the case or rather less.

Important: leave a clear impression
Please don't look desperately for some fancy trait that you have ahead of everyone else and that sets you apart from everyone else. Concentrate on yourself, make your professional and personal skills and strengths as well as your motivation clear: The combination of all these things plus your appearance as a whole defines your individuality and therefore your specialty.

Finally, a note: Sometimes this question is only asked because the interviewer has not yet got a sufficient picture of the applicant. If you actively use the entire conversation - for example the possibility of a self-presentation at the beginning, which is offered more and more frequently - to make yourself tangible as a personality, then you may make the question itself superfluous.

Read the next tip: »In the job interview: take care of your body

About the author:

(c) Christine Öttl, objective. Management & quality of life
eMail: [email protected]

Christine Öttl was a manager herself and for many years a coach and trainer with a focus on job applications. Together with Gitte Härter, she has published numerous application guides, among other things.

Link to the book:

Written application: Success with a profile. Cover letter formulated perfectly. From short profiles to online applications. With application portfolio check

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