Are you really the best person for the job? There’s no way to know for sure. You might have a long list of top-notch credentials, glowing recommendations, and a knack for getting results from any team.
Still, “why are you the best person for the job?” is a question that sends chills down the spines of seasoned job hunters and fresh college grads alike.
The question sounds pretty straightforward, but the goal here is to understand how you’ll fit in with your new team and add value to the role.
Below, we’ll look more closely at this question and how to use it to your advantage during your next big interview.
“Why are you the best person for the job?”
Why do interviewers ask this question?
Some experts say that this question is a test. It’s a way to figure out how you interact with people and how you handle being put on the spot. It’s both awkward and vague — the perfect way to make you squirm in the hot seat.
The best person question also functions as a way to establish whether you fit in with the company culture and can be an opportunity to showcase how you stand to add value to the organization.
What it means to sell yourself
Selling yourself might not be the best name for this exercise in job hunting discomfort. Selling yourself, is, of course, a key component of the job hunting process, but it’s awkward.
But from an employer perspective, their role is to find the best person for the job. Should they fail, well, it makes them look bad. So, you need to convince them that:
- You can do the work and do it well.
- You fit in with the team, but bring something new/valuable to the mix
- You’ll make your prospective boss’ life easier
- Your skills and experience are a cut above the rest
That’s a tall order.
Rattling off your list of accomplishments and skills can easily cross that thin line between confident and arrogant.
Job hunters often go into the interview with the mindset that they need to talk managers into hiring them. And they do, but your goal is to come up with roughly 3-4 bullet point accomplishments that relate to the role. These can be industry awards, education, soft skills, technical skills, or the results you’ve achieved in your previous role.
Tread carefully, because these things you mention should be measurable and framed in the way that you are there to solve a problem.
The thing is, your interviewer doesn’t really care what you think about yourself. They care about where you, your skills, and experience come together to solve their problems.
This might sound familiar if you’ve worked in sales before. The idea is to listen to the interviewer’s needs, then focus on where you reduce the burden.
Easy, right? Well, yes and no. Nerves are bound to take over. If you’re shy, modest, or don’t do well on the spot, practice and preparation are your BFFs.
Let’s look at how to tackle self-selling and land that role.
How to sell yourself
Before the interview, you’ll want to understand what the company does and how your specific strengths can help the organization. Candidates that do their research always impress employers, but you’re doing yourself a favor, too. Learn about the company’s culture, as well as their mission, their customers, and their goals.
Review the job listing again and scan for specific qualifications or skills they’ve mentioned. Compare those skill keywords to your resume and jot down some “times where you’ve done X” and how it’s prepared you for this role.
The second part of the preparation process is preparing a response based on the research you’ve gathered. Those bullet points we mentioned? Use those to craft a sales pitch. Your pitch should be a minute or two and should highlight the things that make you stand out the most.
It’s not good enough to say that you’re a team player, a hard worker, a pro multitasker. To really position yourself as the best person for the job, you need to do more.
Use examples to illustrate your strengths. This is a chance to tie things back to the desired qualifications in the original posting. So, if the role requires strong collaboration skills, it might be a nice opportunity to tell a story about a time you demonstrated your ability to be collaborative.
Anyone can say that they’re great at communicating, thinking on their feet, or spotting the tiniest details. But few people can spin these buzzwords into a bonafide story.
Storytelling has become an increasingly valuable skill. As such, you should practice articulating your skills and accomplishments in an engaging, enthusiastic, and authentic manner.
Don’t make the focus on how much you need the job
Okay, this might sound counterintuitive But, again, we’re looking at how you can add value to the company. From an interviewer perspective, no one cares that this is your dream job or that you’re running low on savings and need to land a role—any role—ASAP.
While it’s kind of annoying, interviewers don’t love it when you appear to be all about the paycheck and the flex benefits. Of course, you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t need a job—however, the candidate that demonstrates excitement about the opportunity is the one that likely gets the job.
Talk about what you expect to accomplish
Granted, this often is another common interview question; the old what do you hope to get done within your first 30, 60, or 90 days on the job?
But, this is another example of where you can prove yourself as someone who can solve problems and think ahead. Prepare by looking at the job description and coming up with a plan of attack; how might you increase sales by 20%? What leadership style will you bring to the workplace?
In short, bringing specific examples for how you plan to enact change will serve you well.
Finally, make sure you are the right person for the job
Before you go to the interview, consider this: does the job align with your goals and values? Does the role match up with your strengths? Will it challenge you? And does it fit your working style?
Ultimately, the “why are you the right person for the job” question serves as a means of figuring out whether you’re a fit or not.
It’s important to remember that selling yourself is not about convincing someone you’re right for the job when there’s a mismatch. A lack of chemistry means that you’ll struggle in that role no matter how many accolades you’ve racked up in the past.