The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Why Should We Hire You?

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

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Why Should We Hire You?

Why should we select you? What value do you bring to our organization and why should you be chosen over others who may have stronger qualifications or experience?

To answer these types of questions it is vital that you know yourself, your abilities, your skills and aptitudes and be able to communicate these concepts effectively.

When an employer is asking these questions the invitation is being made to you to confirm or change a decision the interviewer has been forming about your suitability for the position.

The interviewer may have decided that you are appropriate to proceed with to the next level and is merely looking for an affirmation of what he thinks you bring to the table, or he/she may be looking for signs that confirm a negative view he/she has and wants to see if his/her impressions are correct.

If this is asked of you in the beginning of an interview and you have no information about what the employer is seeking or expects from the person they hire, it is very important that you have a clear idea of what you are going to say beforehand. What are the areas that you have had most success in? What are you good at doing? Why do people like working with you? Why have you received promotions? What have superiors and coworkers said about you that highlights your value to the organization?

If you are asked this question towards the end of the interview, quickly review in your mind what the employer said were important ingredients to success in performance of the job. What are the common links between the person that you are and what you have done in your working life and the corporate needs and expectations voiced by the employer? Are you on the same page? Do you feel that you have the skills and qualities they are seeking? Tell the interviewer the reasons why you are a good fit. Don't leave the interviewer guessing or neutral towards you. The image of you fitting in needs to be painted in the interviewer's mind for a favourable hiring decision to be made.  If the employer can "see" you as a member of the team and visualize you working there, you have answered the questions successfully.

If you come across as hesitant, unsure or unaware of what you have to contribute, then that impression will be the one left with the interviewer and there is less likelihood of progressing to the next level. If you are a naturally modest person and do not like to promote yourself, remember that it is acceptable to point out what your achievements have been and that doing so is helpful to the interviewer as it allows him/her to understand what you have to offer and what you want to contribute.

For newcomers, interviewing in North America is a learning process. The experience of the interviewing and hiring process can be frustrating for people who are used to making decisions and being in a controlling position.

It can also be a culture shock when one's experience and qualifications earned overseas are not looked upon as being of equal merit to Canadian-based experience and qualifications. It is important to realize that the "Why should we hire you?" question is not meant as a challenge to your knowledge but is part of the hiring process here and is often asked by even the most junior of interviewers.

Many people from different cultures also find it to be demeaning or immodest to have to "sell" yourself and what you can do for a potential employer to someone who is more junior than yourself. This can be a stumbling block and a reluctance to talk about oneself can be misinterpreted as pride, lack of interest -  or even arrogance. Maintain the goodwill achieved in the meeting by having prepared before the meeting a general overview of your skills, experience and qualifications and pay attention to the people-skills factor as many hiring decisions are not made strictly on technical merit. Many hiring decisions are made on the basis of how a person is perceived as fitting in to the company's way of doing business, the make-up of the department and the hiring manager's personal preferences. Often, the difference between receiving a good job offer and being passed over comes down to how the interviewer thinks the person will get along with other people. That ability to be positive, self-motivated and to work well with people from diverse cultures is highly prized by potential employers. Employers are looking for people who are going to work well together in a workplace that is becoming increasingly multi-cultural.

It is vital for newcomers to understand that their grasp of English and the ability to communicate with clarity is a key hiring criteria when the job duties involve any degree of interaction with customers, internally or externally. The ability to write and speak English is essential to progress in career terms. With the competitive nature of the marketplace, misunderstanding a customer's needs or technical information can spell the difference between a satisfied and a lost customer. Employers have this in  mind when they are interviewing for customer contact positions. This also holds true for people who are born in Canada.  Poor communications skills, verbal and written translates to fewer opportunities for advancement. Most higher positions require more sophisticated communications skills because you are dealing with more senior decision-makers.

As recruiters, we see employers willing to hire someone with less experience but a clearer style of communication frequently and at all levels of seniority. Although the economy is a global one, most of the customer contacts, carrier contacts and government contacts will expect clarity in communication. If this is an area of technical weakness, it is very helpful to take additional courses or have plans to upgrade these skills as this shows a potential employer that there is a willingness to improve yourself. If you have limited experience in Canada, that willingness to devote effort towards self-improvement will benefit your progress. Take the time to learn the language well because you are in competition with people who have those skills already.

Review your accomplishments, assess your skills and know your strengths. Communicate clearly and confidently how you see your experience, skills and abilities serving the needs of the employer. Focus on how you can solve problems, work with minimal supervision, learn new information quickly and adapt to new and challenging work environments.

Why should we hire you?

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