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Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Among a long list of common interview questions, this interview question may be the most important. Hiring managers, recruiters, and CEOs expect you to sell yourself and explain how you can be an asset—easier said than done.

Read these eight tips from business owners and HR professionals to learn how to explain why you are the best candidate:

  • Position Checks “Yes” For Me Across The Board
  • Don’t Throw In Filler Objectives
  • Use Concrete Examples
  • Reframe the Question
  • Prove Your Value
  • Integrate Your Personal Value Statement
  • Be Prepared With Hard Facts
  • Explain How Strengths Will Add To Your Established Success

POSITION CHECKS “YES” FOR ME ACROSS THE BOARD

A long time ago, I interviewed Rick Welts, a Hall of Fame marketer and currently the CEO of the Golden State Warriors. At the time of the interview, Rick had accomplished things in his career like creating NBA’s All-Star weekend, helping found the WNBA, and inspiring the marketing behind the Olympic “Dream Team.” When we asked him about the success he’s found in his career, he said that he has a checklist he uses to determine whether he says “yes” to an opportunity. If the answers to all the checklist items aren’t “yes,” then it’s not a good idea—no matter how much money you can make. All that to say, if candidates should have their own checklist as to whether an opportunity aligns with their skills, talents, and interests. If a candidate has the luxury to do so, they should only apply to positions that align with the checklist to ensure that they are truly the best candidate for the position. And of course, if an interviewer asks what inspired them to apply, the answer can honestly be, “I believe I’m the best candidate.” 

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

DON’T THROW IN FILLER OBJECTIVES

I’ll tell you what not to do: throwing in needless power keywords and filler objectives. I’d go back to the job description, go through the bulleted lists of tasks that the job will entail, and prepare an example that applies to each point, with figures to back it up. I’m a content marketer, and if the job I’m interviewing for involves blogging, I’d say, “I’ve built up my company’s blog to go from 0 to 2 million visitors/month.” If you’re a PM—elaborate on how you’ve led a product team and developed products from scratch. So on and so forth.

Hung Nguyen, Smallpdf

USE CONCRETE EXAMPLES

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of saying, “I’d be great at this, I’d be great at that,” when an interviewer asks you to sell yourself. Resist the temptation to talk in generalities and talk about results you’ve gotten in the past instead. Before your interview, look at the key skills the job requires and come in with concrete examples. That way, you can offer objective proof that you’ll be the best candidate.

Elliot Brown, OnPay Payroll

REFRAME THE QUESTION

My favorite way to answer this question is with a little reframing. I will still answer with the highlights of my qualifications and why I am a perfect fit for the role, but also end with “why are you the best company for me?” It is important that the relationship works both ways, and showing that you care about where you work is a great way to get aligned early on. This question can come across as a little unsettling with the wrong tone, so make sure you practice your delivery!

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

PROVE YOUR VALUE

There is no better way to get a job than proving your value in action. Instead of trying to answer by trying to defend yourself, give an action-oriented answer. For example, you can try to describe what you’ll do in your first week of work. But remember that it has to be super personalized and based on your research on the company that is interviewing you. Most of the candidates are just not prepared for an interview, and this can be your biggest advantage. 

Tom Winter, Eye One

INTEGRATE YOUR PERSONAL VALUE STATEMENT

This question is why it is so important to have your personal value statement prepared. Individuals need to convey what value they bring to a potential employer and how they will immediately make an impact upon hire. It is important to be clear, concise, and provide examples to support one’s value statement.

Kerri D’Astici, HR and Career Blueprint

BE PREPARED WITH HARD FACTS

Based on the interview, when this question is asked, be prepared with hard facts. If the interview focused on one or two skills, explain your experience with those skills. Tell how your skills helped improve your last company and how those skills can now be used to help this company.

Mark Christensen, LifeGuides

EXPLAIN HOW STRENGTHS WILL ADD TO YOUR ESTABLISHED SUCCESS

Being able to share how you’ll add value to their already successful company is the best way to show how you’re the best candidate for the position. This requires a bit of homework, though. You’ll need to know about recent success the company has experienced, and this information is usually publicly available. Once you’ve identified a few achievements, be able to share how you’re able to contribute in that area to help sustain the reputation; or what value you’re able to bring to further improve something that’s mentioned. Let’s say a company was awarded the title of “Great Place to Work.” You might say you’re the best candidate for the position because you understand what it means to maintain positive workplace cultures where others can thrive. Overall, being able to relate a specific skill set or talent to something they’ve already achieved or are looking to achieve will show why you’re the best candidate (in addition to showing you’ve done your research).

LaShawn Davis, The HR Plug

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