Career Advice – How To Answer “Why Do You Think You’d Be A Good Fit?”

Feb 15 2011 in Featured, Interviews, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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This question can either be the least or the most important question of your interview. It just depends who asks the question … and how you answer it.

This is a standard question asked by HR reps, sometimes because it’s on their standard list of filter questions. While candidates think this is a BS question for HR reps to ask (because they usually have no clue what the hiring manager is really looking for), HR reps do look for specific types of answers. Understanding the HR reps role in the hiring process helps to form an effective answer and increase your chances of interview success.

However, the same question asked by the hiring manager, can be the most important question of your interview. The hiring manager often looks for different answers to the exact same question, requiring different (and deeper) preparation to give the candidate a good chance at success. The hiring manager is looking to increase odds of hiring success and for solutions to their primary issues.

For today’s career advice, let’s look at some ways to answer this question effectively, and some ways most candidates blow it.

  1. Hiring manager asks: “Why do you think you’d be a good fit?”

    • Best answer:

      The answer that solves the hiring manager’s pain: It takes research to effectively answer how you can solve pain – but when you’ve done your research, you’ll already know the hiring manager’s priorities, so you’re prepared to give answers that make you appear as one of the best candidates. Demonstrate how you’ve solved similar problems for past companies: “I’ll be a great fit for the position as I’ve already helped past employers cut costs – For example … “.

      Before you can answer how you can solve the hiring manager’s pain, to be effective you first should have a good idea what that pain is and how important it is to solve it. If you highlight you ability to solve pain that doesn’t happen to be the hiring manager’s priority, you demonstrate “nice to have” rather than fit. This is where inside information is crucial, so make sure to talk to friends and contacts at your target companies.

      What’s that? You don’t have friends and contacts at this company? Then here are your choices: a) Develop friends or contacts at the target company (hopefully close to the hiring manager) or b) Guess and have a high probability of going down in flames. Any guesses which choice most candidates make (hint … guess B)?

    • How most candidates answer:

      What you think the hiring manager wants to hear: When you give the answer you “think” the hiring manager wants to hear, you take two big risks that each have bad odds. You risk what you think the hiring manger wants to hear, isn’t really what they want to hear. You also risk sounding insincere. Some people can pull off the sincerity part well (most candidates “think” they can sound sincere – a few actually do), but the odds are still lousy that you’ll hit the hiring manager’s priority pain points by guessing or researching publicly available information.

  2. HR rep asks: “Why do you think you’d be a good fit?”

    • Best Answer:

      The answer that demonstrates the top 2-3 skills on the job description: The HR rep usually doesn’t really know what the hiring manager wants, but only knows the 10 (or so) criteria they have been asked to search for. Remember that the HR rep asks this question to confirm skills and to weed out obvious risks like resume exaggerations/lies (while the hiring manager searches for solutions, answers to priority problems and indications of high probability of job success). If you’ve paid attention to company specific language (words, phrases, jargon, acronyms), you start sounding like someone who “fits”.

    • How most candidates answer:

      Unconfidently, insincerely, or with little preparation: The HR rep can focus on how you answer – your tone, language. If you sound unconvincing or insincere, you’re DOA.

Notice a common theme here? The best answers all include candidate preparation, while the worst answers include guessing and “winging it”.

To sum up today’s career advice, you’ve got a much better chance of doing well at your interview if you prepare by first talking to people within the company to uncover pain and priorities – the more people you talk to within the company and the closer you get to the hiring manager, the more clear you’ll be about what is important to the hiring manager.

Otherwise, you’re just guessing with the crappy odds associated with guessing.

Employers and Recruiters – Please share your career advice: What do you consider as a great answer to “Why do you think you’d be a good fit?”


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