They’ve received your job applicant and read your resume. They spent more than an hour interviewing you for the job. By now they should know everything about your education and experience. Interviewers should be able to tell whether you are qualified for the job or not. So why do they ask the question?

Actually I know about several reasons. One is when you change your career, and are starting in a completely different field. Another one is when they actually did not read your resume, and are poorly prepared for an interview with you.

Smart HR managers may ask the question to get a better understanding of your self confidence, of the image you have about yourself. And some other recruiters may actually not know what they are doing :), and they use the question simply because they found it on some list of most typical interview questions.

For you, however, it doesn’t really matter whether the question makes sense or not. You may deal with several interview questions that makes a little sense. The important thing is whether you know how to answer the question. We will look at it in this article.

 

Talk about experience and education first

Before anything else, you should refer to your education and previous experience. If you had a similar job in the past, and did a decent work for your former employer, you can definitely say that your former experience (and the fact that you responded for the same duties), makes you feel qualified for the position.

The same applies to your education–if you studied for a cook, and graduated from school, there’s no reason to feel that you would not handle the duties in the kitchen–after the initial training, of course. The same applies for any other role–if you can rely on your formal education or previous experience, go for it.

 

Opt for soft skills, informal experience, or ability to learn

You can find yourself in a different position, however. Perhaps you studied one field, but ended up not really liking it. And so you try to get a job in a different sphere. Or you decided to change your career in your forties, and cannot convince them about your readiness for the job with your formal education or previous experience.

In such a case you have three options:

  1. Referring to informal experience. Maybe you didn’t work in IT before, but it has always been your hobby, and doing online courses and webinars, you actually learned to code. And you can demonstrate it with some sample of your work.
  2. Relying on soft skills. In some job fields, such as sales or HR for example, your soft skills and emotional intelligence are often more important than your previous experience. Say that you feel qualified for the job because you have the right personal traits, because you have in you what it takes to become an excellent salesman, coach, or whatever.
  3. Refer to their stellar training program. You do not really feel qualified at the moment, but you have heard only the best things about their training program. You are eager to learn and you are sure that you will be qualified once the training is over…

employees are talking motivation in a modern office

Humility can do wonders in your interviews

A completely different approach is betting on humility, and actually admitting that you do not feel 100% qualified. You can use this technique when you are transiting from one career field to another, or when you are applying for a job in some big international corporation.

Surely, you have some qualities, but you are aware that you lack experience, and you know that you will have to rely on the help of your colleagues, at least in the beginning.

During my years in recruitment industry I understood one thing: Humility is a sought after quality in the job market, because it is sparse. Today most people claim to know everything, to e ready for every challenge (while in fact they are ready for very little). Admitting that you might not be ready can actually help you stand out from the crowd

 

Sample answers to “Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?” question

Below you will find several sample answers, for each of the scenarios I just described. Use them as an inspiration for preparing your own, perfect answer…

I’ve been working in this field for three years already. I know it isn’t a particularly long time, but I believe it’s long enough to understand the ins and outs financial analysis, and believe it makes me qualified for the job.

I’ve just graduated from the college. I know that I will have to learn a lot to truly excel in this job. But everyone has to start somewhere, and we had many practical subjects. I am sure that I am not ready for everything I may face in this job, but nevertheless I feel qualified to start it.

Well, on paper I’ve never worked in IT. But you should know that I’ve been preparing for my career transition for several years, and completed many courses from Udemy, and I designed several simple applications for mobile phones in my free time. That makes me believe that I am ready for this job. Would you like to see some of the applications I designed?

I just believe that I have an excellent salesman in me. I’ve been always good in convincing the others, and I never struggled to get what I wanted. Certainly I’ve never done professional selling, but I believe that I have what it takes to handle the job, and to actually excel in it.

I do not have any formal qualification for this position. And that’s the exact reason why I apply for a job with you, and not with one of your competitors. Because I’ve heard about your excellent training program, and I believe that I can learn everything I need for the job with you, within first few weeks. I am definitely eager to learn, and I am sure that I will get into it quickly…

Speaking honestly, I do not feel particularly qualified at the moment. But I really needed a change, and I decided to make it, and I am thankful that you invited me for this interview though I lack qualification. I know that I will need help of my colleagues in the beginning, and it can take some time until I feel completely comfortable in my new role. But here I am, laying my cards on the table, and ready to try my best.

 

Conclusion and other tough questions

Not all interview questions have to make sense to you. However, HR managers either know why they ask them, or they do not know exactly what they are doing :).

One way or another, you should focus on things you can control in your interview–and that are your answers, and not their questions.

Refer to your education, experience (formal or informal), soft skills, or ability to learn and motivation. Alternatively you can bet on humility, trying to win your interviewers over with your honesty. Check the sample answers once again, choose the one you can use in your interview, and continue your preparation for other tough questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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