If you’re an aspiring Product Manager trying to break into the industry, understanding the basics of a product management interview is fundamental. But out of all the questions that you can prepare yourself for, there is one question in particular that you should be wary of: “Why should we hire you?”
When a recruiter asks why they should hire you, what’s the best way to respond? More often than not if you are on the receiving end of this question, it’s intimidating and even a bit hostile. Why does this question come up? What are recruiters really trying to find out? And most importantly, how do you answer effectively?
When Will You Encounter This Question?
Product management interviews are usually broken down into three or four rounds. The first initial interview is generally conducted by a recruiter. Once you make it past that, you will continue on to a second round with either a Director or Head of Product.
If the company you’re interviewing with is large enough, there might even be a Chief Product Officer present. The recruiter does not decide whether or not you land the offer — it’s the people you meet after you make it through the first two rounds who make that call. The third and fourth round lock in the final candidates for the company to choose from.
”Why should we hire you?” is, generally speaking, not a question that shows up in those initial couple of interview rounds. If your interviewer asks this question, it will be in the final stages of your interview process. The question will come up when the interviewer has gotten all the information they need about you and your abilities.
Why Do Interviewers Ask “Why Should We Hire You?”
Typically, interviewers in the third and fourth round already know that you are capable of doing the job. After all, you wouldn’t have made it to this point if you didn’t have a chance. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that having to answer the “why should we hire you” question is not a good sign.
Usually, interviewers ask why they should hire you because for one reason or another they are struggling to visualize you in the role you’re interviewing for. After what was probably hours of interviewing, they still aren’t sure that you are the right person for them. You may be capable, but at the end of the day it comes down to culture fit.
This makes it a very difficult question to approach: there is no real ‘right’ answer. But there are a few key things you can do to avoid being asked this question in the first place.
How to Answer the “Why Should We Hire You?” Question
Here at Product Gym, we have worked with more than 2,000 members and helped them land their dream jobs. The truth is, the overwhelming majority of them — new or experienced alike — never face this question even once in an interview.
Why? All because they start off their interviews by asking one simple question. We coach our members to ask: “What is it about my background that attracted my application to you?” Word this question however you like, but find out why they scheduled the interview with you in the first place.
Before the interview gets underway, take a moment to flip the script. Ask the recruiter or person conducting your interview for insight on what it was about your resume that made them want to schedule an interview with you. They could have interviewed anybody, but they chose to interview you. Why? It is a simple but extremely effective question to get the recruiter to engage with you. It will also remind them of what drew them to you in the first place.
Don’t Wait to Be Asked: Flip the Script
You can also use this strategy to help you as you move through your interview. Depending on the answer that you get, you will be able to get a clearer understanding of what it is that matters most to this company. You can then adapt your interview answers to appeal to those priorities.
Too many people go into product management interviews thinking all they have to do is prove that they can do the job. The reality is that product management is a very saturated field. Any time you interview for a position, you are likely competing against countless other very qualified and capable people who can do the job just as well.
Especially now that more and more companies are opening up to remote work, the pool to select from is just getting bigger. Success is dependent on your ability to make yourself stand out! If you focus on your priorities and you listen and communicate well, no recruiter will be asking why they should hire you — they will already know all the things that set you apart.
Need More Product Manager Interview Advice?
If you are struggling with how to answer this or any other questions in a product management interview, or even if you’re just unsure where to begin on the job hunting journey, please go ahead and schedule a free call with one of our senior advisors today. They can help you start putting your best foot forward so you can start turning those interviews into job offers.