When this question comes up, it’s not simply as straight forward as regaling your interviewer(s) with the long list of qualifications you have and the experience that succeeded them. The often unspoken second half of this question is ‘over the other candidates we are interviewing?’. That’s the important bit. This is not a question simply to provide an opportunity to explain how qualified or experienced for it you are on paper, it’s an opportunity to explain why you’re better than other candidates too. You have to assume that all other interviewees may have a very comparable set of qualifications and work experience. This question is your chance to prove otherwise.
Always a good tack, but especially important with this question. Often, candidates will do their best to tell the interviewer what they think they want to hear, regardless of whether it is the whole truth or not. Remember, you have to be this person you purport to be if you get the job, so don’t be tempted to stretch the truth too far.
Find your ‘USP’
As mentioned already, the operative part of this question is the ‘you’ bit. Why should they hire you, over anyone else? With this question, you are making yourself the most attractive ‘product’ on the shelf. Yes, you might have the same component parts as the other candidates, but what have you done with them that is different? That is, what have you done during your career that won’t be the same as your fellow interviewees? What is your own unique selling point?
What can you do for them?
Indirectly, this is what this question is asking of you. This is where your research and preparation can put you out ahead of other candidates for the role. Make sure you have scrutinised the job spec and company profile and have understood exactly what it is they are looking for – the type of person, skills required, gap that needs filling, etc. With this knowledge, you are in a position to then draw on your own experience and skills in explaining how you would be the perfect fit for what they need.
When you break down the reasons behind what can seem a daunting question with a vast range of answers, you will find that this question is actually one of the more pleasant ones to answer. Preparation is key and for this inevitable question, you can prepare a solid answer without much worry of being thrown off track.