Can You Answer This Now: “Why Should I Hire You?”

All too often, when asked this question, clients and job seekers start squirming. Even CEOs, actually.

So why is it that we have a difficult time answering this simple little question, especially when there is so much riding on the outcome of your answer?

The problem goes pretty deep, actually. We are taught not to boast about ourselves by our parents, and those words of wisdom are reflected in our overall perception of ourselves.

However, consider this:

In a job search, the target employer is a blank slate and knows nothing about you. If you can’t even articulate what you offer and the successes that demonstrate that value, how do you expect them to buy what you are selling? You need to be thinking about how are you going to articulate your attributes in a way that shows your value.

So, do you struggle with this question?

If you do, you need to take a break from your job search and spend some time doing some soul searching on what it is that you offer that makes you valuable to a prospective employer. Being grounded on your positive impacts to previous companies will give you a basis on how to pitch your services to an interviewer.

In short, you are in charge of painting your own picture of what you can deliver to a potential employer. Until you make some meaningful strokes to color in the lines of their conceptual canvas of you, the picture will remain blank and disconnected to what you can do for them.

You must embrace your career successes and feel ownership in your contributions… which will lead to a much easier job selling someone else on what you are capable of within the workplace. Of course, most of the time we work in teams and it was a collective effort that made the project a success, but in order to win over a potential future boss, you need to understand the importance of how your role led to that success, no matter how small it might have been. Everyone contributes something.

If you can tie your contribution(s) to the success of the organization, you’ll demonstrate an ability to see beyond the daily grind of your job duties and focus on the overall success of the organization. This will present a much more compelling argument as to why an employer would want to hire you.

Finally, put the shoe on the other foot… if you were the boss hiring the prospective employee… what would you want to hear from this person? Them rattling off a litany of job duties, or a persuasive statement backed by concrete examples of wins and successes that benefited a previous employer?

I know what I would choose.


About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, where she provides results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. She is the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide, and, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to’s weekly meeting #tchat on Twitter. Follow Dawn on Twitter!



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  • Dawn, these are all excellent suggestions…and they WORK!  Let me give you an example of a client of mine, named Carole, who, as an administrative assistant, had been the sole admin support of 13 totally crazed salespeople in an insurance company.  She was accustomed to them hovering around her like flies, yelling for their reimbursement checks, their plane tickets, their PowerPoint presentations…and she was completely unflappable. You couldn’t get her ruffled.  Period.

    We worked on the “why should I hire you” answer, and after considerable thought Carole came up with the reason: “Because I’m the calm eye in the middle of the storm.”  And she was absolutely correct!  This statement worked — particularly for hard to fill positions, where the admin would need to be able to work under heavy pressure, and with manic colleagues — like a charm.

    Not only did Carole use this as her reason for being hired, she also turned it into her “tag line.”  Her personal business card, while she was job hunting, said: “The calm eye in the storm”, right beneath her name and her profession, Administrative Assistant.

    What’s the one REAL reason why people should hire you?  Other examples — and tag lines — might be things like “I let CEOs sleep at night,” for Security Officers, or “I create big events for a small price,” for an event planner.  The business card tag lines, respectively, could be “Letting CEO’s sleep at night,” and “Big events at a small price.”

    Let potential employers know what you bring to them BEFORE you’re even called in for an interview.  There’s no reason why you can’t use your tag line as the headline on your LinkedIn profile, to really attract attention.  Nowadays, self-promotion is vital!

    • Great example and illustration, Paula!

      Having a personal tag line is a good idea of how a job seeker can market themselves… just like a high-quality product.

  • Hi Paula,
    Exactly! Understanding how you can deliver value to a target company will go a long way towards convincing them to hire you.  That’s what employers understand best!  Thanks for your comment!

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