Looking for a new job is truly a job all in itself. It takes time to find the right positions to apply to, craft your resume and cover letter for each position, and track and follow-up with your applications. But what about when you get the call for an interview? Will you be ready? While there are a number of important questions you should anticipate, the one interview question that could make or break your chances may not be the one you expect.
Regular Interview Question Culprits
Thankfully, most interviewers have come a long way from, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” After all, when most people give the same cookie-cutter responses, it can be challenging to determine who your best candidates are.
These days, you will likely be asked questions that fall into two buckets:
- Bucket one: functional questions, meaning can you do the job?
- Bucket two: situational questions, or can you think on your feet?
Some savvy interviewers will also ask “fit” questions to determine if you are a good fit for their organization. These could be about your personality, the way you manage stress, or what you do in your free time.
You may also be asked where you see yourself in five years or your goals within the company, so be prepared for those as well.
The Interview Question You Might Not Expect
After you’ve gone through all of those standard interview questions, there’s one that can be the differentiator in your interview process. It’s the one you might not expect because it is more of a sales question. That’s because an interview is really a sales call.
If you’ve ever worked in sales and been on a sales call, you may have been asked something along the lines of, “Why should I buy this from you?” or “Why should I buy this product / service now?” And you have to come out with your sales pitch.
The interview is the same process.
Then what is that interview question you have to be ready to answer? Here it is:
“Why should I hire you?”
What Happens Next
When you’re asked this all-important question, it will usually be toward the end of the interview. And it will probably throw you if you’re not prepared.
Most people have a response to this question, even if you don’t realize it yet. Unfortunately, it’s often not a good answer. Here’s what usually happens:
- Deer in headlights. Nothing comes to mind. At all. You’re lost.
- “Puppy-dog” traits: “I’m loyal, smart, friendly, show up on time….”
- A solid, well-thought-out response.
In my experience, about 3% of people fall under #3. Most lean toward #2, and some poor unfortunate job seekers are left in #1. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
The Formula for a Great Answer
Just as in a sales call, an excellent response to the interview question “Why should I hire you?” focuses on highlighting features and benefits. Remember that YOU are the product / service this company is looking to buy. That means you need to tell them about all the value they will receive from hiring you!
Look to sales for a perfect three-part formula:
- Restate what they said they’re looking for. Be sure you get them to agree with this!*
- Share how you bring exactly what you just highlighted.
- Add an accomplishment to showcase value.
* It’s super important that you ensure that you are on the right track here. It’s an old sales trick that works. When you get that first yes, you’re essentially priming the pump for the final yes: a job offer!
That’s it. Simple, right?
Although you might want to memorize a pat response, that’s probably not the best option, mostly because what each company is looking for may change. You wouldn’t want to memorize how you’re fantastic at A, B, and C when what they really want is Q, R, and S.
Tailor your response to each position and the tone of the interview. Bonus: This formula works in every industry and every situation.
Still Have Concerns about Your Interview Skills?
Job searching is a challenge, and it can cause even the most confident, qualified candidates some anxiety. If you are concerned about how you can master the interview, rest easy: Ink & Quill Communications has you covered. Clients who choose our Smarter and Smartest Resume packages receive job-search coaching that includes interviewing, maximizing LinkedIn, networking, and creating a winning 30-second commercial. Plus, we also have a GCDF coach on staff who provides one-on-one help with identifying your dream job, interviewing, and negotiating your next opportunity.
Contact us at hello@iq-communications to learn more and get started!