Updated: Oct 25, 2022
"Why should we choose you for..."
(insert job / pageant / award / title / internship)
(Pssst... this is a two-part blog. So, if you haven't read Part One yet, definitely check that out before continuing to read!)
This question is a staple in every set of interview questions I’ve ever seen or used - as it should be. So how do you answer it well?
Once we realize that this question has everything to do with YOU and nothing to do with the other candidates…
And we have the confidence in speaking about our skills, talents, and experiences as the simple facts they are…
We can move on to formulating our actual answer!
To answer this question well, you need to be able to succinctly, meaningfully, and interestingly communicate positive facts about yourself in relation to the role you are interviewing for.
And this should be so simple, in theory. I mean, what topic do you know more about than YOU?!
However, in my experience as an interviewer and interview coach, a few weird things happen when folks answer this question:
Answers are too vague
Bringing up the other candidates/contestants/applicants
Discomfort with talking about oneself positively creates an awkward vibe with weird word choice
To combat the weirdness, here are 3 things to consider when forming your answer:
1. Get specific with your words and examples.
Here’s the thought process: “I want to try to encompass the entirety of who I am and what I have accomplished in just a few sentences, and that is daunting, so I will use some all-encompassing phrase to show my vast experience!”
…and then we end up saying things like “I have great communication skills” and “I’m an organized person.”
These phrases are well-meaning but they are sooooooo vague that they essentially mean nothing.
By trying to broadly capture all of your experience, you essentially communicated none of it.
Instead, choose really specific words or skills or phrases. You may feel like you’re leaving out big chunks of your experiences and personality, but take a deep breath, because that’s ok. They don’t have to know all parts of you at once.
Instead of having “great communication skills” you have “the ability, as a content creator, to capture the voice of your client in blogs and captions making you a sought-after marketing professional.”
Instead of being “an organized person” you have “the ability to see patterns and keep track of details making you adept at record keeping.”
You see the difference?
It’s better to represent fewer experiences more specifically and meaningfully than to try to represent the entirety of your humanity vaguely.
2. Leave Other Candidates Out of Your Answer
I know there are other candidates.
You know there are other candidates.
Your interview is not about the other candidates.
So we don’t need to bring them up. (“Well, I know there a lot of wonderful applicants…)” Nor do we need to address their supposed qualifications or worth. (“I mean, I’m sure the other contestants are just as deserving of this honor…”).
Even if the question is worded as “why should we award you this honor instead of the other candidates?” or “what makes you stand out from the other candidates?” - LEAVE THEM OUT OF YOUR ANSWER.
You don’t need to tell me, the interviewer, anything about the other candidates. I’ll have my time with them separately. This is your time to shine!
3. Answer With Confident Humility
He says, “Confidence is believing you can do great things. Humility is knowing that you don’t always have the knowledge and skills to do them yourself.”
Showing confident humility in your answer, when asked why you should get the job/award/crown, allows you to not come across as an arrogant know-it-all. It also allows you to avoid the opposite problem, coming across as insecure and self-doubtful.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read.)
Tell me using specific language why YOU want this, what skills or talents YOU have that will make you successful in this role, and what YOU plan to do with the role moving forward!
Don’t bring up any other candidate/constestant/applicant.
Be confidently humble in admitting you don’t know everything but you have the skills and talent to learn and grow, making you and this role/job/title better for having you in it.
Ready to become the best version of yourself?
Click here to set up a FREE consultation with me so we can discuss a plan for creating your path to excellence! We'll discuss what it looks like to be coached by me, two-time Ms. Louisiana. Get ready to take your competition, your interview prep, and yourself to the next level!
P.S. Did you know I have a worksheet to help you create a great answer to this popular interview question? Get access to the worksheet and all of my other Executive Coaching resources here!