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, or the alternative one with the same meaning, “What skills and experience qualify you for this position?”
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. Another case is when you actually have to answer this question on a job application, then it makes a perfect sense, since they do not know anything about you.
Smart HR managers may also use this 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. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers first. Do not forget to check also my notes at the end of the article, where I explain some important points you should keep on your mind while dealing with this one.
7 sample answers to “Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?” interview question
- 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. And I am as motivated as ever to dive into the field, and to become a true expect.
- 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 my skills and experience qualify me 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.
- I feel qualified simply because I think everyone is qualified for this type of work. Look, it is a simple manual job, nothing tricky, nothing you have to strain your mental capacities for. Maybe I won’t be the fastest picker on day one, but just observing my colleagues and simply getting the routine, I have no doubts that in a few days I will do the job as good as anyone else here.
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.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
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. Hence you try to get a job in a different field, because you do not want to do a job you hate doing. 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:
- Referring to informal experience. Maybe you haven’t worked 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 samples of your work, with your portfolio.
- 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.
- 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…
Top 3 reasons why you’re qualified for the job
In recent years I came across this variation of the question, especially on different job application forms. When they ask you about top 3 (or top 1, or top 5, or whatever) reasons for this or that, you should give them exactly that–not more and not less. If you have relevant working experience, it should always be one of the reasons. Second one can be your motivation and/or enthusiasm. Third one can be any skill or ability that will help you in the given job, ranking from physical power and stamina to knowledge of quantum mechanics and IQ 140+. It really depends on the job you are trying to get.
Just remember to keep it at least somehow realistic. Of course, with every job application you have the same goal–to eventually get an interview invitation. But telling them outright lies on your application will take you nowhere in your job search, since you will fail to prove your claims in the actual interview, they won’t hire you and you will only lose time and money….
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 at 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 be 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, and get the job at the end…
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–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:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Tell us about a time when you used persuasion to successfully convince someone.
- What motivates you in work?