You must be able to answer this question before you even begin the job search—it is as important for you as it is for the firm. This question almost always arrives at the end of the interview in the most competitive industries. For one of the more difficult questions, it is very linear: the interviewer wants you to help him make his decision about you—and you will oblige. Don’t be shy about selling yourself.
The implicit question here is, “Why should we hire you for this firm over everyone else?” Offer concrete reasons why you present unique value and stand out from your competition.
This question has another purpose: to test how you handle yourself under pressure, your level of self-confidence, and your ability to be clear, concise, and direct. Be calm and self-assured when you respond. Believe in what you say. Sometimes this question is the tipping point, and the interviewer will make a decision based on what you say. At other times the question is merely a way to test for additional characteristics. Either way, it is among the most important questions you can receive, so develop a strong response.
- Talk directly about your greatest strengths and how it will bring value for the company
- Stay cool, calm, and collected
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors
- Confidence is everything minus 1. Smile, and be enthusiastic about yourself and passionate about working for the company
- Your answer should be about 1 minute.
- Offer one concrete quality that bring value to the firm.
- Show how your strength is real and “stronger” than those of your competitors
- Choose a quality that is unique and shows your personality. A few examples are ones that relate to work ethics, technical skills, or a real passion you have for the firm and its work.
- Tailor your response to the firm and the industry.
- Each firm and each industry values different characteristics, so share the ones that are relevant.
- Acknowledge the difficulty of choosing the right candidate and the strength of the candidate pool.
- Empathizing with the interviewer demonstrates your sensitivity to tough human decisions
- Speaking respectfully about your competition reflects well on your relationships with others
- End with passion.
- Be enthusiastic throughout your answer, and end with passion for the company
- If you believe in your response, the interviewer will believe in your response
Pitfalls You Must Avoid
- Do not talk endlessly and restate every strength that you have. You want to be clear and specific about the three qualities that make you valuable.
- Do not get nervous and lose your cool. If you feel the pressure, take a deep breath and gather your thoughts.