“Why Should We Hire You?”

by Eileen Davis, Director of Career Development

Most job candidates fail to realize the single most important thing employers need to know about them. No matter how many questions are asked on interviews, they all boil down to this: “What can you do for our company?” Preparing to answer this question before it’s asked will put you ahead of the competition. In fact, the theme of what you can do for a company should be woven into all marketing communications you use during your job search—resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

How do you determine what you can do for a company? One way is to make sure you know what you’re marketing about yourself—your strengths, those things that have earned you compliments, promotions, or challenging assignments. But sometimes it’s easier to assess your value by first uncovering problems in the company or industry that need to be corrected.

Find their “pain”

Here’s how: first, pick a company or industry that interests you. Research the company’s website, Google® it, and read articles about the company and industry. You’re looking for background information, such as the product or service provided, the market served, the market needs, who is competing for that market, and the challenges to doing business in that market. Your goal is to come up with four or five things your research tells you are causing “pain” in that industry.

Look at the problems you’ve listed. What opportunities do you see? For example, if retail is your industry, one of the problems is competition from e-commerce. Yet research shows that many consumers still want to have the sensory experience of shopping in a store. So what draws customers into a store? What keeps them there? What will cause them to leave and never come back? Understand this and you will understand what a retail store does and should do to win and keep customers. What’s more, you’ll understand more than many other candidates.

Identify your value

So, how can you help a company deal with the problems you uncovered? Are they dealing with an underpaid, unmotivated workforce? That’s a great opportunity if you’ve motivated others in the past. Do they need people with great customer service skills? Perhaps you’ve been a server and can draw on your experiences of serving difficult customers.

Prove you have the “big four” skills

Problem-solving, communication, planning and organizing, and working with others are vital skills to showcase when you’re looking for a job. Write down at least one example of a situation where you demonstrated your ability in each of these areas. You now have proof that you have the basic skills to help any employer. Matching your experience to a company’s needs will allow you to address the question “why should we hire you?” with confidence.

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