Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Should I Hire You?

Cartoon from: www.aperfectworld.org

My sense of the typical Swimupstream / Innovative Thinking reader is that they are currently employed.  Therefore, this post is likely one for you to send to your teenaged son or daughter, or maybe file in your memory banks to teach your child before they go for their first job interview.

There are a thousand (actually 13,900,000) websites on "how to ace a job interview" so I'm not wading into the mix with a definitive reference manual on the topic.  I'm here to give a single tip.

In a job interview there is only one question you have to know how to answer really well.  If you have a well thought out response to it, you'll be able to handle any question the interviewer comes up with.  That question is:

"Why should I hire you?"

It's pretty basic, and it's not a trick question...  however I'd say 9 times out of 10 when I ask that question the candidate looks at me blankly as though I've asked a real 'stumper'.  That look is usually followed by a stumbling, overly humble answer or an answer that in no way separates the candidate from the competition.

When prepping for an interview EVERY SINGLE ANSWER a candidate rehearses should be designed to contribute to answering that single question.

If I was in the business of coaching people to ace job interviews I would get them to list all the reasons why they should be hired for the job in question.  If there are any less than 10 reasons you probably aren't right for the job or your confidence / self-esteem needs work.

After the list is created and committed to memory you are ready for your interview.  When the questions come you simply relax, and tell the 'boss' why he should hire you - sharing facts, (appropriate) stories and experiences that convey as many of your reasons as possible.  (Note:  Take care not to come across as overly full of yourself!)

I'll use everyone's favourite question as an example:

Question:  What are your biggest weaknesses?

Potential Answer:  I'd say the biggest professional challenges I've faced to date were to do with time management and organization.  When I first entered the workforce these were areas where I was ill-equipped to succeed.  Since then I've searched and found methods that work for me - like this daytimer that is my bible, and my smartphone where I keep voice notes and lists...  but it's an area that I have to be very vigilant and hard-working because I don't have a mind that keeps every detail organized without these tools. 

In this case the question has provided an opportunity to convey several answers to "Why should I hire you?"

1.  Because I am able to analyze myself and draw valuable conclusions.
2.  Because when I have a weakness I view it as a challenge to be worked on.
3.  Because I am (now) very organized.
4.  Because I (now) have excellent time management skills and have given you examples.
5.  Because I have a great work ethic that I use to shore up any weaknesses.

What are the best interview tips you've heard?  Do you have any advice to share?

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