How to Handle the Question – “Why Should I Choose You Over the Other Candidates?”

Recently I was interviewed for an Internet radio program on and asked how hiring managers want candidates to answer questions related to why they should be selected over other applicants.I believe that this remains one of those questions that candidates really dislike tackling and struggle with because there seems to be no real right or wrong answer. What I suggested to the interviewer and program host, Tim Muma, were some paths to take, which might have a much higher chance of impressing the person asking the question:

Do not focus on the negative – Hiring managers don’t want you to bash other candidates – about whom you most likely have little to no knowledge. What interviewers really want to hear is the “WHY” – those specific reasons why you are such a great fit for the position, their team/group and the organization. The quality of your answer in this regard will be the result of how well you can “connect the dots” from your skill set to the skills defined in their job description of the ideal candidate and your fit to the culture of the organization. A display of negativism by the candidate can easily be perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of accountability, not strength or “fit”.

Your response should include the answers to these questions: “Why are you going to make me, the hiring manager, look like a genius for bringing you into the company?” and “How are you going to help take my team/group/division from good to great?”. Your extensive research on the targeted employer will provide you the content for this dialog.

Stay away from “killer” phrases such as, “I think”, “I might be able to”, and “I hope” when discussing the value you expect to bring to their organization.  Instead display your high level of self-confidence by communicating that, based upon your significant successes in similar situations (as there are in the position being filled at the targeted employer), you “will” be able to bring that same degree of achievement to their team/organization. Make me a believer in you.

Basically, the best manner in which to answer this question and begin to put a large distance between the other candidates and you is to provide to the interviewer some concrete examples of how and why you are their ideal candidate, bringing to the table the best combination of desired skills/competencies and cultural/organizational fit.

To hear the full discussion on how to most effectively approach this question and develop a powerful and engaging response, you can find the recorded interview via this link:

Photo Source – Microsoft clipart