By Carole Martin
Monster Contributing Writer
This is another broad question that can take you down the wrong road unless you've done some thinking ahead of time. This question is purely about selling yourself. Think of yourself as the product. Why should the customer buy?
The Wrong Track
Spencer answers by saying, "Because I need and want a job." That's nice, but the bottom line here is, "What can you do for us?"
Mariana says, "I'm a hard worker and really want to work for this company." The majority of people think of themselves as hard workers -- and why this company?
The Right Track
Tom's answer to this question is, "Because I'm a good fit for the position." Getting warmer, but more details, please.
Sharon answers, "I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job." This is the best answer so far. Expand on this, and you've got it.
Develop a Sales Statement
The more detail you give, the better your answer will be. 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.
Product Inventory Exercise
The bottom line of this question is, "What can you do for this company?"
Start by looking at the job description or posting. What is the employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it take to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements.
Next, do an inventory to determine what you have to offer as a fit for 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.
The Sales Pitch: You Are the Solution
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.
Example: "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."
What Makes You Unique?
Completing an exercise around this question will allow you to concentrate on your unique qualities. Like snowflakes, no two people are alike. Take some time to think about what sets you apart from others.
- "Never miss deadlines."
- "Bring order to chaos."
- "Good sense of humor."
- "Great attention to detail."
Let the interviewer know that you have been listening to the problem and have what it takes to do the job -- that you are the solution to the problem.