Huffington says that answers like, "Because I need and want a job," are sympathetic, especially in this economy, but the bottom line here is, "What can YOU do for US?" If you say, "I'm a hard worker and really want to work for this company," it doesn't tell me what I want to hear." Huffington says. Some responses such as: "Because I'm a good fit for the position," are no better because they lack details. Likewise, the response: "I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job," falls short in the way of details. "Give specific examples of how your experience is relevant to the job," Huffington explains. "Customer service experience gained while waiting tables is often negated. Waiters deal with all kinds of people and situations while multi-tasking, working under pressure of short-term deadlines while keeping customers happy." This is no time to sound desperate, to talk excessively, restate every strength, get nervous, lose your cool, or to plead for the job.
Take a look at this example: "Because my academic qualifications meet your requirements. I love to work and also I just want to keep myself busy in work. And also for my growth I just have to update myself, I believe your organization will help me to update myself and I can reach your expectations." The first sentence fails to describe any specifics about the job requirements it claims to meet. Was there a particular class that give you an edge over another candidate? Which requirements are you talking about? The second and third sentences just get worse. This interviewee is interested in her personal growth and sounds like she wants the organization to help her update her skills. The response does not address what YOU can do for the company.
The more detail you give, the better your answer will be. Always keep in mind these interviewers are looking for competence, professionalism, enthusiasm, and likability in your answers. They are looking for chemistry while trying to envision you in their company. This is not a time to talk about what you want. Rather, it is a time to summarize your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique. The bottom line of this question is, "What can you do for this company?" There is a premise that most job seekers forget when it is time to interview, Huffington says, "a company will hire you because you know how to do the job better that someone else, or maybe you know more about the job than anyone else."
How do you demonstrate in the interview that YOU are the right person for the job? Preparation. Find out as much as you can about the job from the vacancy announcement. Study the responsibilities and requirements of the job. Some vacancies will actually include a need for someone with "hands-on" experience using a particular tool, software, etc. Today's employers have many choices, "they don't want to be bombarded with resumes from job seekers who do not qualify," Huffington says. Once you have a list of the job requirements, write a list next to it of the qualifications you have that fit those requirements.
Think of two or three key qualities you have to offer that match those the employer is seeking. Don't underestimate personal traits that make you unique; your energy, personality type, working style and people skills are all very relevant to any job.
From the list of requirements, match what you have to offer and merge the two into a summary statement. This is your sales pitch. It should be no more than two minutes long and should stress the traits that make you unique and a good match for the job. Separate yourself from the pack by recount that story of exactly how you worked 60-hour weeks, acquired new skills or did whatever it took to distinguish yourself and meet the challenge head on to successfully make the sale, save the project or rescue a client. If you can put a dollar value on the result, your story will only be that much more dramatic.
Key points to remember:
- Talk directly about your greatest strengths and how it will bring value for the company;
- Stay cool, calm, and collected;
- Be careful to avoid clever retorts or comedic one-liners here;
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors;
- Confidence is everything minus 1. Smile, and be enthusiastic about yourself and passionate about working for the company;
- Don't memorize a speech. Keep your strengths and accomplishments in mind, but always give natural responses; and
- Your answer should be from 1 to 3 minutes.
- Your skills
- Your knowledge about the company
- Your manageability
- Your affordability
- Whether you can go above and beyond your job description.
After you have recapped why you are a good fit for A, B, C, and D, then close with a statement like, “Does this help you see why I think I am a good fit for this position and why you should hire me?” They should respond in the affirmative at this point.
Example 1: "From our conversations, it sounds as if you're looking for someone to come in and take charge immediately. It also sounds like you are experiencing problems with some of your database systems. With my seven years of experience working with financial databases, I have saved companies thousands of dollars by streamlining systems. My high energy and quick learning style enable me to hit the ground and size up problems rapidly. My colleagues would tell you I'm a team player who maintains a positive attitude and outlook. I have the ability to stay focused in stressful situations and can be counted on when the going gets tough. I'm confident I would be a great addition to your team."
Example 2: "With my eleven years working with production lines, I have saved companies millions of dollars by streamlining systems. My high energy and ability to quickly evaluate a situation enable me to go into a new plant and rapidly determine what needs to be changed. I am able to develop rapport and buy-in with plant managers and personnel, and have worked successfully with union representatives. From what I have learned about XYZ Company and its challenges with the plant in Mexico, and based on my past experiences and success, I strongly believe that I can make the desired changes and meet your production goals within the 6-month deadline."
Example 3: “My 3 years of solid experience in database development and my certifications will enable me to hit the ground running on my project from the day one. I can learn things quickly which will be an additional advantage. Above all, I am much interested in this position and confident enough to meet the challenges in this job.”
REMEMBER: You've already made it into the interview and even though it may seem like you're behind, you are actually a step ahead of the curve; you got picked for the interview!