- By Check-a-Salary
- Posted Monday 09
th March 2020
This is one of those inevitable questions which takes some careful thought if you are going to answer well. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or too self-assured but equally, you don’t want to talk yourself out of the job by not promoting yourself enough.
So, just how should you answer this question when put to you at an interview, or indeed, on an application form?
As with everything in life, it pays to be prepared. Research the company comprehensively before you attend an interview to really understand what this company is all about. If possible, as well as finding out about their position in the market, how they started, where they are heading, etc, it’s also useful to find out about their company work ethic, whether they are a thoroughly modern company (complete with a pool table in the canteen) or a more traditional institution. Are they a local, national or international company? What sort of people do they employ? Find out as much as you can using the company website and any social media platforms they might appear on.
If you’ve got a good understanding of the company before you attend your interview, and if you’re clever, you can tailor your answers throughout the interview to better fit the company culture. This will be particularly helpful if you are asked why you think you are the best candidate for the job.
So, for example you might answer this question by saying that, from your research, you have discovered that, like them, you share a passion for delivering excellence in customer service and here is an example of when I did just that.
Or, show that you have carefully read and understood the job description and when asked why you are the best person for the job, you can answer by telling them that their company is looking for someone who is self-motivated, organised and efficient and in your previous role, you demonstrated all of those qualities and feel that these, along with your qualifications, mean that you would make an excellent candidate.
You would be surprised how many candidates go off-track when asked this question so, by sticking to the job description, you can show that you have the necessary skills required and can remain focused under pressure. Employers will also appreciate not having to listen to lots of unrelated waffle!
It might well be that you have a specific qualification, or some very specific experience, to make you the best candidate for the job. If this is the case, then it makes sense to mention it now – even if it has been referred to already in the interview. However, don’t fall into the trap of being complacent and assuming that because you have this unique advantage, the job is already in the bag!
Interviewers are also looking for personality - they want someone who will fit into their team and positively add to it. If you don’t come across as interesting and dynamic in the interview, they might decide to offer the job to someone who has less specific experience, but who showed some great inter-personal skills in the interview.
So yes, talk about your unique and specific experience or qualifications, but remember that you also need to show personality too.
Highlight your best bits (even if they aren’t work-related)
Inevitably, there will be other candidates in the process who have better, or more relevant, experience or qualifications. If you know that you are slightly lacking in the experience department, then make sure you bring to the fore other areas where you shine.
Perhaps you have been with your current company for a number of years, in which case talk about your loyalty and commitment. Or maybe mention the fact that you have worked in a variety of positions within the company, thus giving you a unique oversight into the workings of the business which you can bring to a new role.
It’s also very important to talk about any relevant experience that you have which might not have been gained within the workplace. Perhaps you do voluntary work which has seen you leading a team – if so, this is very relevant experience to talk about, whilst also showing the interviewer another side to you.
Maybe you play in a sports team at weekends, in which case you could talk about how much you enjoy being pat of a team or how it’s taught you better communication skills or perhaps your time management has improved as a result.
As long as the extra-curricular activity (whatever it might be), won’t impact on your ability to do the job you are interviewing for, then all these experiences will add positively to your skills-set.
By taking such a fully-rounded approach, you are showing the interviewer what they would gain by hiring you – not what they would be missing out on.
Everyone has something that sets them apart from the other candidates. I’ve often ended up offering a job to a candidate with less relevant experience because I saw something in them that made me think they were a better candidate for the job. Equally, I’ve offered jobs to candidates who, on paper, appeared to be the most suitable, but who never made it past their probation period because they just didn’t fit in with the company culture. It’s not just interviewees who need to learn at the interview stage!
Ultimately, the interview process gives you an opportunity to sell yourself and it also gives you the chance to stand out from the other candidates. So, don’t waste this opportunity because of a lack of preparation, or because you think that there will be better suited candidates for the role.
Concentrate on what you can bring to the position and what unique qualities you have on offer – be that through your skills, qualifications or experience outside of the workplace. All have an important part to play in potentially making you the best candidate for the job.
Try to gather as much information as you can about the role and use this information to match up your skills and experiences.
Don’t forget that the interviewer is also looking for personality so make sure you don’t come across as too serious or humourless.
A bit of preparation will mean that when you get asked the question, “why are you the best person for the job?”, you won’t be caught off guard, you won’t be too modest or too confident and you will hopefully give the interviewer exactly what they are looking for.
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