Let’s face the reality: Something like an ideal candidate for a job (any job) doesn’t exist. Just like a perfect wife or husband, or a flawless business model. Perfection is something we can strive for, but never really achieve. And striving for it in any relationship (personal or professional) will typically cause us more harm than good, since we will end up disappointed again and again. Nevertheless, you will often face this question, either on a job application form, or in the interviews. And while you can certainly try to be philosophical, you also have other options how to convince the hiring managers that you are the one person they should hire.

One of the options is listing all your skills and experience relevant for the job. Second one is focusing on your personality traits and attitude to work–this one works great for people who lack previous working experience. The third option is actually betting on humility and honesty, and instead of boasting about your own perfection, you give credit to other job seekers, your competitors. Last but not least, you can also turn things upside down, and instead of strengths point out your weaknesses. That’s the “striving for perfection” attitude I mentioned at the start of this article. Instead of saying how great you are, you show the hiring managers what you actually do, to become that ideal employee one day.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. You will find on my list a sample answer for each of the options above, plus a couple of philosophical answers. I hope at least one of the answers will fit your actual situation, and, adjusting it slightly to the job you try to get and adding your own touch to my words, you can use it in the interview. Enjoy!


7 sample answers to “What makes you the ideal candidate for this position?” interview question

  1. I just feel that my resume is the perfect match for the job. I studied finance and banking, with my thesis focusing on financial analysis. Math and statistics were always my favorite subjects, the two I excelled in. Then I did the internship in one of the big four companies, and got a chance to understand how things work in an international corporation. On the top of that, teamwork–the ability you value a lot here, is one of my greatest strengths, and something I enjoy. Connecting everything together, I believe to be the ideal candidate for the position I interview for right now. I could hardly find a better job posting online.
  2. In my opinion, what matters most for entry-level jobs is your attitude, and personality. Because what people in this call center do is no rocket science. Everyone can learn how to do it efficiently, after a day of training. What matters though is your personality. One needs to be mentally resilient, able to deal with rejection. It is important to not mind spending long hours on the phone. Empathy and emotional intelligence plays a big role too, for any successful sales associate. I believe to have all these abilities, and I am motivated and eager to learn. In my eyes it makes me almost an ideal candidate for the job. And I hope you will see things the same way.
  3. With all honesty, I cannot tell whether I am the best, or even the ideal candidate for this position. I saw other people waiting here for the interview, and talked to some. To me they all seem interesting people, each with their strengths and dreams. Each of us is unique, and has something to offer. Am I better than them? Am I the ideal one? It isn’t an easy question to answer, and you will have to find the answer on your own. All I can do is answer your questions as honestly as possible, and then it is up to you to decide. And if you eventually decide to pick someone else for the job, I will go and congratulate them, because in such a case no doubt they deserved it more than I did…
  4. I am not an ideal candidate, but I strive to become one. Sure, I meet the basic job requirements you posted. But I also feel I have so many things to improve on. My communication and interpersonal skills are quite decent, but to become a top-notch manager, one that will really help to take the entire company to the next level, I need to improve on them. Especially I need to learn how to deliver my feedback to the subordinates in a more appropriate way. And then you have meeting deadlines, something I struggle with sometimes. I can organize my day well, and plan everything in advance, but sometimes I get distracted with duties of secondary importance and do not manage to get the crucial things done. To sum it up, I know I am far from perfection, and no doubt not an ideal candidate for the job. But I can promise you that I will try my best to become better every month, and that you won’t regret giving me a chance in your company.
  5. In my opinion, ideal candidate for the job doesn’t exist. We all have some strengths and weaknesses. And if you insist on hiring only the ideal person for the job, you may as well have to repeat this hiring process again and again, since you aren’t going to find such a person. On my side, I can work in a fast-paced environment, and handle heavy workload. I do not crack under pressure and have experience working for a similar establishment. Yet I also have my weaknesses, like everyone else… I do not offer you perfection, but I offer you honesty and motivation. Will you take this offer?
  6. Perhaps the fact that I am the only one who will accept it in this economy. Let’s be honest. This place doesn’t have a good reputation. Online reviews are terrible. You offer a minimum wage. There are many other restaurants around looking for employees, places with much better reputation. But I, in my sixties and just two years left to retirement, am not an interesting candidate for those better places. I need to take any offer, and you can be sure I will try my best to not lose the job due to poor performance, since for me even getting an invitation for an interview feels like an impossible task sometimes. You invited me, and I do not see other people around. When there is just one candidate ready to accept the offer as it stands, it is the ideal person for the employer, since they do not have any other choice.
  7. My motivation alone makes me an ideal candidate for this job. I love your company, and I wanted to work here ever since I first get to know you, ten years ago. I was just a high school students back then, and it all seemed like a distant dream. But I took all the steps needed to make this dream come reality. If I exaggerate a bit, it took me 10 years to prepare for this interview, to do everything I needed to do to succeed. Now I am here, with my resume reflecting exactly the offer. And I sincerely hope you see it the same way, and will give me a chance to demonstrate my motivation in the job.

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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