Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is asking you directly to come up with points of differentiation in your background. She/he is seeking giving you the open opportunity to sell yourself. Yet doing it in a way that puts you into the hot seat of talking about yourself in a very open and direct manner. So s/he wants to know what you consider to be the defining aspects of your background that sets you apart. Yet it is open-ended, so you can go in multiple directions.
The best approach to answering this question:
Focus on your education, work experience, skills, aptitudes and abilities which differentiate you from your competition. Make no mistake about it, this is a competitive posturing question. So any statements you might make need to be backed up with examples that show how you try are the best person for the position. Your answer should be geared toward meeting the employer’s needs, not your personal needs.
How to Answer Interview Questions About Why You Should Be Hired
The best way to respond is to give concrete examples of why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job.
Take a few moments to compare the job description with your abilities, as well as mentioning what you have accomplished in your other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the company and the position. Here’s how to prepare your response.
Match Your Qualifications to the Job Listing
To prepare an answer to this question, look at the job listing. Make a list of the requirements for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then, make a list of the qualities you have that fit these requirements. For each quality, think of a specific time that you used that trait to achieve something at work.
For example, if you list that you are a “team player,” think of a time in which your ability to work well on a team resulted in a successfully completed project. Here’s how to match your qualifications to a job.
Keep it Concise
You want your answer to be brief—no more than a minute or two long.
Therefore, select one or two specific qualities from the list you created to emphasize in your “sales pitch.” Begin by explaining what you believe the employer is looking for, and how you fulfill that need.
Focus on Your Uniqueness
The interviewer wants to know how you stand out among the other applicants.
Therefore, focus on one or two qualities you possess that might be unique, or more difficult to find, in other interviewees. For example, if you are very experienced with a certain skill that the job requires, say so. This is your chance to tell the interviewer why you would be an invaluable employee.
Set yourself apart from the pack! You may find yourself reiterating some of the things you said in response to ‘Tell me about yourself’, but this time try to be more specific in linking your talents to the requirements of the position.
Give strong examples of your skills and career achievements and, in doing so, explain how you can be beneficial in the new gig.
Make a big statement to start and then support it with an example. ‘I am always willing to go the extra mile’ is a good opener.
Find an example of an accomplishment that matches one of the key responsibilities outlined in the job description and use the STAR system of response: situation, task, action, result.
‘In my previous position, the data management system was not working well and wasn’t being used properly. I approached my manager and suggested a very simple way to fix the problem [shows initiative]. She agreed and I implemented the changes and also explained how it all worked to the rest of the team [team player and ability to communicate]. The result was that everyone started using the system [improved data capture] and the company saved huge amounts of time allowing staff to work on core business [improved productivity and profits].’
This shows that you bring valuable skills to the job. Finally, link what you have done to the new position. ‘My focus at work is about productivity and profitability and improving the bottom line for the business.’