Posted On May 27,2019
Ever come across this question in an interview? Felt awkward? Did not know what to say…..don’t worry you are not alone. This is one of the most common interview questions that candidates struggle with, especially new graduates or professionals with < 3 years of work experience.
I personally struggled to articulate an answer that would ‘Wow’ the interview panel – and this has happened on a number of occasions. Let’s break it down mathematically; you have been shortlisted for a first round interview with a Fortune 500 as part of their campus recruitment drive. You will be competing against your friends / acquaintances from your cohort, with potentially similar background to yours – good GPA, extra-curricular achievements. On an average 15 of you will appear for the interview. Then, how is your answer to “Why should we hire you”, different to the other 14 interviewees – tricky right? Here is my take on how you can tackle this:
As a graduate:
• I would advise against structuring the answer around your grades and achievements. They have already been stated on your resume and hence why you’re sitting in front of the interview panel
• Highlight your strengths in the areas of communication, team play and an eagerness to learn
• Research the organisation and find synergies between their growth plans/projects and how your skills can contribute
• Try and find out about the interviewers, note: do not stalk them on social media. If they happen to be from your college, this gives you a perfect opportunity to break the ice. They have undergone the same process, moved up the ranks and are now on the other side of the table. Your aspiration is along similar lines
• Speak to alumni from earlier cohorts working in the same organisation and find out about what they enjoy, work culture and opportunities for growth. You can then tie this back to your response - shows you have done your homework.
As a professional with < 3 years of experience:
• You have some experience up your sleeve but still early days in your career. Focus on your transferable skills i.e. what do you bring to the table that will allow you to add value from day 1. This can be your expertise in a technology, project or an assignment in an overseas location
• Speak about the gaps in your skillset and how this opportunity will help you develop in those areas. Remember, there is no harm in stating your shortcomings in an interview. If you’re 100% perfect for a role, you will be bored from day 1.
• Close the answer with your strengths in the areas of leadership, communications skills, stakeholder management and ability to deliver against tight timelines.
Something that has helped me personally is to ask myself “So what?” for every point that I state as a reason to hire me. Structure your response in such a way that the answer to “So what?” is a unique value add to the organisation. A value add that defines you as a person. This is easier said than done, but discussing your answer with friends and family will help.
Author: Raj Das, Cofounder Skill Prodigy