"Why Should I Hire You?"
Though this question is rarely asked this clearly, it is the question behind any other question that is asked. It has no hidden meaning.
Such a direct and fair question deserves a direct response. Why should employers hire you? The best response to this question provides advantages to employers, not to you. A good response gives proof that you can help them make more money by improving efficiency, reducing costs, increasing sales, or solving problems (by coming to work on time, improving customer service, organizing one or more operations, offering knowledge of a particular software or computer system, or bringing a variety of other talents to an organization).
A person with considerable prior experience might offer this response:
"You should hire me because I don't need to be trained and have a proven track record. I have more than 15 years of education and experience related to this position. More than six of those years have been in management positions similar to the one available here. In my last position, I was promoted three times in the six years I was there. I most recently had responsibility for supervising a staff of 15 and a warehousing operation that processed over 30 million dollars' worth of materials a year. In the last two years, I managed a 40 percent increase in volume processed with only a 6 percent increase in expenses. I am hardworking and have earned a reputation as a dependable and creative problem solver. The opportunities here excite me. My substantial experience will help me to know how to approach the similar situations here. I am also willing to ask questions and accept advice from others. This willingness will be an important factor in taking advantage of what has already been accomplished here."
This job seeker's response emphasized the Prove-It Technique from chapter 1 and included a variety of specific numbers to support her accomplishments. Although she presented her skills and experience in a direct and confident way, she avoided a know-it-all attitude by being open to others' suggestions. She also made it clear that she wanted this particular job and why she should be considered for it.
Because having good reasons for why someone should hire you over others is so important to your job search success, I have included the brief activity that follows. Completing it will be a challenge unless you first complete some of the activities in chapter 2.
The Reasons Why Someone Should Hire You
"What Are Your Major Strengths?"
Like the previous question, this one is quite direct and has little hidden meaning. This question allows you to focus on the credentials you have that are most important to doing well in the position you are seeking. Your response should emphasize your key adaptive or self-management skills. The decision to hire you is largely based on these skills; you can deal with the details of your specific job-related skills later. Remember that here, as elsewhere, your response must be brief and direct.
This response is from a person who has little prior work experience related to the job he now seeks:
"One of my major strengths is my ability to work hard toward a goal. Once I make a decision to accomplish something, it gets done and done well. For example, I graduated from high school four years ago. Many of my friends started working, and others went on to school. At the time I didn't know what I wanted to do, so furthering my education at that point did not make sense. The jobs I could get at the time didn't excite me either, so I looked into joining the Navy. I took the test and discovered a few things about myself that surprised me. For one thing, I was much better at understanding complex problems than my grades in high school would suggest. I signed up for a three-year hitch that included intensive training in electronics. I worked hard and graduated in the top 20 percent of my class. I was then assigned to monitor, diagnose, and repair an advanced electronics system that was worth about 20 million dollars. I was promoted several times to the
position of Petty Officer and received an honorable discharge after my tour of duty. I now know what I want to do and am prepared to spend extra time learning whatever is needed to do well here."
Once you begin speaking about one of your strengths, the rest of your response often falls into place naturally, as this sample response illustrates. Remember to provide some proof of your skills, as this response did when citing results of Navy entrance testing and repeated advancement in a highly responsible position. These specifics about your skills can make a difference.