Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why should we hire you?” Good question. (OK, it’s a little odd but again it beats answering those questions about some of your more particular personal peccadilloes. We thought a “Cold Lunch” was just something that you ate when you took your lunch to work, mmmkay?)
Why should we hire you? It’s one of those standard questions some interviewer who already has a job and knows all about the company will often ask in your standard interview. Guest speaker Liz Ryan contributor to Forbes confirms “it is one of the staples of the traditional interview script.”
Why should we hire you? How do you answer that? Perhaps not in the way one would expect.
Ryan has some specific thoughts on the issue: “I hate the question, because it commands a job-seeker to dance and prance for the king’s pleasure. It’s a stupid question.”
She notes a couple provocative responses:
“You, Mr. or Ms. Interviewer, are going to meet the other job candidates — I won’t!”
Here is the long one:
“You know what the company needs. Your job ad didn’t convey much in the way of helpful information about what’s really going on in the department. If it had, or if you had the confidence to talk frankly about your problems right now in the interview, I could tell you how I’ve solved similar problems before.
But you’re not saying a word about your problems. So how on earth could I tell you without having spent more than 45 minutes in your building, without ever having worked here and without meeting the other applicants, why you should hire me?”
She adds: “You can shake your interviewer out of his or her stupor and make him think about your answer . . . step outside the standard Good Little Sheepie Job Seeker frame and give an honest answer to the question ‘Why should we hire you?’”
Liz admits this kind of response take some cajones and you might stir up some fecal matter. She says: “Not every hiring manager will like your non-cookie-cutter answer to the question, but so what? If they don’t like the way you answer the question, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe you’d be miserable working for a person who can’t move an inch outside the lines.”
She suggests that you go to “your next job interview as yourself, rather than a cartoon character who looks like you but says goofy kiss-ass things you’d never actually say” because that could “be refreshing.”
Ryan concludes that sometimes avoiding cookie-cutter answers to that and all interview questions could be a good thing. “Professionally and personally, it might be the best career move you ever made.”
Why should we hire you? Now you know.
(Just don’t tell anyone you really want to be paid money for nothing.)
You ask the questions. We provide the answers.
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