How to answer the toughest interview question – 'Why should I hire you?'

Talking about your background is not what an employer wants, say bosses

Jess Staufenberg
Saturday 05 December 2015 15:17
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Do not try to spin a "weakness" as an advantage, some bosses said
Do not try to spin a "weakness" as an advantage, some bosses said

Convincing a prospective boss to hire you without sounding like an automaton or flatterer is no easy task.

With more qualified graduates leaving university and people going to greater lengths to get their CV noticed, the marketplace can feel tough for those in search of a job.

And for employers who have the pick of the bunch, obvious tactics to persuade them to hire someone are unlikely to wash.

A particular pet hate is the tendency of interviewees to try to spin the "what is your greatest weakness" question to their advantage.

Instead, employers gave their top advice to interview hopefuls on website Quora.

"If I am ever looking to hire someone, I would prefer someone who is honest in his dealings and is willing to discuss his true weaknesses instead of trying to disguise a strength as one," said one employer.

"And does not try to throw a bunch of technical and management jargon at me every time I ask a simple question."

For those applicants who cannot pull off a clever Wolf of Wall Street-style response to a straightforward question, there is one piece of advice that holds: just be the exact job you are applying for.

To the answer, "why should we hire you?", the best answer according to one Quora user is: "Because I am perfectly suitable for the job."

"The job requires me to do X, Y and Z," said the user, Deepak Mehta. "I am good at all X, Y and Z."

"And I also like doing X, Y and Z. So I will be both motivated and competent."

Another user agreed the focus should be on what the interviewee brings to the company - rather than about themselves generally.

This was the difference between talking about "benefits" - what you do that the company needs - and "features" - facts about you like your education and experience that support your application.

"Features may have got you in the door for the interview, but benefits will get you the job," said Quora user Tom Sullivan.

Or as another put it, "keep it simple, stupid."

Listing exactly what you have that the company needs is not flattery or boring, but the best chance of persuading a company to take you on, Quora concluded.

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