It doesn’t need to be! We promise! Aside from the technical questions that might get asked at an interview, questions such as ‘why should we hire you’, ‘what do you know about the company’ and ‘why do you want to work here’ will be asked at 9 out of 10 interviews, so you should be prepared for it.
There is good news though, and that good news is that this question (along with other similar interview questions) are easy to answer when you treat the interview as a matching process. By that, we mean you go into the interview and literally match yourself to the job description of the role. What’s better is that you can apply this rule to pretty much any role you are applying for, as long as you have detailed information about the role i.e. a job specification.
Preparation is the key
When you are preparing for an interview, you will need three things: a copy of your resume, a copy of the job description and the internet / access to the company website. Know your resume inside out i.e. you can talk in depth about each duty and responsibility on there and be ready to answer any questions on technical detail, reasons for leaving and any gaps between jobs.
A typical job description will list the main duties and responsibilities, and as a general rule the most important duties will be up near the top with the least important (or those that take up minimal amount of time at the bottom of the list). I advise candidates to sit and work through the job description, ticking off every duty that you have actually carried out, thinking of examples of where they have carried out that duty in their current or previous role. Remember to pay particular attention to the duties near the top of the list.
Another point of reference on the job description will be the section containing the personal attributes or characteristics required. Examples of these can be ‘strong organisational skills’, ‘a team player’, ‘good problem solving skills’ or ‘excellent customer service skills’. As with the duties and responsibilities, go through these ticking off the points that you can easily demonstrate with real life examples.
Research the company
Sounds obvious, but for answering the question ‘why should we hire you?’ you will need to be fairly specific with your company research. A good place to start is if the company has a careers page. Quite often larger companies will profile a star employee and you will be able to read their about their skills and characteristics. They may have a section also advising what they look for in candidates. This is vital information, as this is what they want to the next candidate who walks through the door to match this.
Putting it into practice
The point of all this preparation is so you can get match yourself to what the employer is looking for. When a company is interviewing, they want what is written on the job specification to walk through the door in the form of a real life person. It really is that simple! By doing the above preparation you can walk into an interview as their perfect candidate! So, by putting all this together, here is an example to show you how to perfect this technique.
Let’s say the role you are applying for is an Accounts Payable Officer working in the retail industry. They use SAP for their accounting system, it’s a high volume role processing 100 invoices per day, weekly payments via EFT and Cheque, take full responsibility of employee expenses and payments are made in 5 different currencies. The job description states the candidate needs to have excellent attention to detail, strong time management skills and the ability to prioritise.
The preparation for this interview is simple, you just need to think back over your career to when you have used SAP (or a similar system) and how quickly you pick new systems up…. then think about when you have done high volume invoice processing and make sure you have a couple of examples of how you cope with said volume and manage your time….next try to remember when you have dealt with various currencies and think about how you calculated any foreign exchange rates…after that think about a time when you have needed strong accuracy and had to pay very strong attention to detail….and so on!
To summarise, read the job spec, read your resume and MATCH with plenty of examples.
Have a practice run through with your recruitment consultant, then practice with your partner, family member or friend. Remember, keep it concise and mention about 4 of the main points on the job description. Then go and get that dream job!