Nail The One Question Every Interviewer Asks

Miriam Salpeter
job interviewer holding resume as she interviews candidate
job interviewer holding resume as she interviews candidate

When you prepare to interview, it's tempting to believe the only way to win the job is to spend days or weeks memorizing answers for 501 possible interview questions. It's overwhelming, and luckily, it's not true. While it is a good idea to research the organization, consider potential questions the interviewer may ask and think about how you will respond, it's a waste of time to try to memorize answers to hundreds of random questions you may never be asked.

Instead, spend your time preparing for the one question EVERY interviewer asks: "Why should I hire you?" You've never been asked this key inquiry? Think again. It's the underlying question behind every other interview question, and it's a big interview mistake to fail to provide the right answers. It's the one thing every hiring manager needs to know. It may take many forms, for example, "What do you offer this organization?" or "Why are you the most qualified candidate?" In essence, interviewers want to know they won't be making a mistake by hiring you.

Consider these four keys to addressing this underlying interview question:

1. Identify the connections between what the company needs and what you offer.
This requires you know as much as possible about the job and the organization. The job description is your best friend in this regard. Study it and be able to articulate exactly how you can help move the organization in the direction it wants to go.

Don't stop with the description, though. Review everything you can access about the company. Do your research! When recruiters and hiring managers complain about candidates, one of their biggest concerns is that candidates do not make the effort to learn what employers expect them to know about the job. Study their online content, including the website, and social media outlets and make an effort to talk to people who either currently work or have worked in the past at your target organization. The more you know, the better you will be able to address the underlying question, "Why should we hire you?"