In an article I read recently, the author wrote that the best answers to this question are personalized. I agree with that but as someone who is a recruiter and a former hiring manager for 25 years, I believe that the answer must go further and be stronger.
The author* made three helpful suggestions:
- Professional: Tell how the job aligns with your skills and there would be mutual benefit.
- Cultural Fit: Do research and find out if they are the type of company you want to work for.
- Personal Fit: Great location, easy commute, it’s a product you’ve used and liked.
I feel these are “soft” answers. Communicate passionately, with conviction! Here’s what I liked to hear:
- COMPANY: “I really like the company/technology/product. I researched the company online and with my knowledge of the field and an understanding of your products, I believe the opportunity for corporate and personal success is great”. This tells them that you have done your homework, know the market, understand their products, and that you believe what they believe: that the company has tremendous upside.
- ALIGNMENT and UNDERSTANDING: “I know people that use your products; they are cutting-edge and perform very well. In addition, I’ve heard that your customer support is top-notch. I’d really like to be part of this, as these company values align with my personal values”. If their mode of operation aligns with yours, let them know that. It will make it easier to hire you as they will not have to spend time “indoctrinating” you. This also addresses the cultural fit and means that you will continue to espouse their values as you integrate and move up in the company.
- PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION: “I am CONVINCED that I can help to further your success. With my market and customer knowledge, technical/product expertise and work ethic that’s second to none, I can help in ways that are within in the job description and hopefully other ways as well”. A clear and decisive statement that you WILL help further the company’s success is powerful. Don’t equivocate; state in strong and convincing ways how you can help. It also shows that you want to contribute above and beyond, not just do your job, 9-5. Note: Be prepared for the follow on question of HOW you can help.
- THE PEOPLE: “Everyone that I have met in the interview process has been great. You have a really good team here, one that I can contribute to, learn from and would like to be a part of. Also, there are contributions that I can make coming in as an outsider with a fresh set of eyes”.
The people you are interviewing with work at the company for a reason, and like it there for a reason. If you want to work there for the same reasons, and can show them that, you are demonstrating a fit, focusing on your ability to help and that you are ready to jump in and get it done.
This is the kind of person that I would hire.
*Note: Credit to Peggy McKee the article’s author. The article provokes thought about preparing for a successful interview.