You're in the middle of an interview, somewhere near the end, and the interviewer asks you, “Why are you the best person for the job?" You freeze, unsure how to answer why exactly you're the best — as in better than every other totally qualified and capable candidate who's applied to the same position.
You've had no problem answering, "why do you want this job?" and "what makes you qualified for this position?" You've easily explained why you're a great candidate for the job — how your job experience and education are perfectly applicable and just how enthusiastic and passionate you are about the role. That's why, when it came to "what are your greatest professional strengths?" you had tons of responses — you're professional, timely, organized and passionate, of course. You've even been able to answer "why would you be a great team member?" because you've had tons of experiences working well with others.
But, really, what makes you any better than those others? What makes you the best?
Answering why you're the best candidate for the job is no easy feat. This is especially true because, according to a wealth of research, most of us have a difficult time tooting our own horns (even though we generally have an easy time talking about ourselves).
So how exactly to you formulate an answer that'll impress your interviewer? Here's how to answer the question and some example responses depending on the industry.
When answering “Why are you the best person for the job?" you'll want to keep in mind a general formula. Don't forget to include these four key ingredients.
If you're applying for a position as an editor for a women's publication, and you have a college degree in women studies, use that to your advantage. Likewise, if you've worked for publications with similar target demographics before, explain that you already understand that readership. You're not just any editor or writer interested. You're an editor or writer with a very specific background that'll be useful for this specific job.
Share a personal experience (of course, keep it short) about why you're particularly passionate about this job with this company. If you're interested in working for an organization that gives scholarships to underprivileged high school students because, when you were in high school you were awarded one of these college scholarships yourself and now you want to give back, that's a great response.
Research the company thoroughly. This way, you can tailor your response to this question in a way that suggests that you'll bring even more to the table than what they're asking of you. If you understand the company's needs and pitfalls, you can mention what you'd bring to the table to help them succeed even further.
If you have other information that the interviewer should know — like the fact that you're readily available to start immediately or that you are conveniently located for the job — be sure to share that, as well.
Now that you understand what key ingredients should always go into your interview response to why you're the best candidate for the job, here are five example responses that you can use. All hiring managers will want to hear responses like these.
You're applying for a job in the media. Here's what you might consider saying in response to why you're the best candidate:
"My education and my previous job working as an editor for X magazine provided me with the ideal experience for this position. For five years, I developed many of the skills required for this job, including targeting the same demographic and curating similar content. Beyond that, my passion for this industry and the content we're creating drives me to deliver high-quality work every day."
You're applying for a job in the nonprofit sector. Here's what you might consider saying in response to why you're the best candidate:
"I'm incredibly passionate about X cause and have even witnessed the ways Y nonprofit helps people firsthand. I've been a recipient of this nonprofit's scholarship program myself, and it's helped me to be able to [how it's specifically helped]. Now I want to help give back."
You're applying for a job in finance. Here's what you might consider saying in response to why you're the best candidate:
"My former experiences serve invaluable for this position. I've been able to help my last company [quantifiable solution/result to an issue]. First things first, I understand that you are having an issue with X. I would begin by [solve the problem]..."
You're applying for a job in sales. Here's what you might consider saying in response to why you're the best candidate:
"When I read the job posting I noticed that you specifically mentioned you were looking for someone with [specific skills]. I've earned my last company X in profits [or another quantifiable result] thanks to [those specific skills]. I'm already experienced in similar siilar [products/services], and I, therefore, understand the target demographic of consumers well. I understand that you are having difficulty achieving [sales goal], and I would help you reach that goal by [solution]..."
You're applying for a job in science, technology, engineering or math. Here's what you might consider saying in response to why you're the best candidate:
"My previous experiences working for [similar company] is perfectly applicable for this role. I have experience handling [specific job responsibilities listed in the application], and I'm eager to propel your efforts forward. Working for a company like this one excites me because [reason this particular company is compelling]."
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.