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This is one of those broad questions that can take you down the wrong road unless you have done some thinking about what to say ahead of time. This question deals with your ability to sell yourself. Think of yourself as the product. Why should the customer buy?
Answers that WON'T WORK -
“Because I need a job.” – This answer is about YOU – “they” want to know what you can do for “them.” “I am a hard worker.” – This is a really trite answer – almost anyone can say he or she is a hard worker. “I saw your ad and could do the job. – This answers lacks passion and purpose.
STRONGER ANSWERS that would get the interviewer’s attention –
“Because I have three years experience working with customers in a very similar environment.”
“Because I have what it takes to fill the requirements of this job - solve customer problems using my excellent customer service skills.”
“Because I have the experience and expertise in the area of customer support that is required in this position.”
This is a time to let the customer (the interviewer) know what your product (YOU) can do for them and why they should listen to what you have to offer. The more detail you give the stronger your answer will be. This is not a time to talk about what you want. It is a time to summarize your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique and therefore a viable fit for this position.
Product Inventory Exercise
Start by looking at the job description or posting. What is the employer emphasizing as requirements of the job? What will it take to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements on one side of a piece of paper.
Next, do an inventory to determine what you have to offer as a fit against those requirements. List your skills on the other side of the paper. Think of two or three key qualities you have to offer that match each requirement that the employer is seeking. Don’t underestimate personal traits that make you unique – your energy, personality type, working style, and people skills.
The Sales Pitch – You are the Solution
From the list of requirements and your matching list of what you have to offer, 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.
“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 running and rapidly size up problems. I have the ability to stay focused in stressful situations, and can be counted on when the going gets tough. I know I would be a great addition to your team.”
Preparing this statement ahead of the interview will give you the edge when asked questions like, “Why should we hire you?” or “What can you bring to this position?” This will be your chance to let the interviewers know that you are the solution to their problem.
Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, "Interview Fitness Training - A Workout With the Interview Coach," has sold thousands of copies world-wide. "Boost Your Interview IQ" has been awarded one of the 10 best career books for 2004. Her most recent book, "Perfect Phrases for the Perfect Interview" and the others mentioned are all available at www.interviewfitnesstraining.com and www.interviewcoach.com