Without any job experience, why should we hire you?

February 17, 2023

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During an interview, the question "Why should we hire you?" often comes in different forms. Whether you are a fresh graduate with no work experience or someone who wants to switch to a new field but lacks background, you are often asked "Why should we choose you over someone more experienced?" When faced with this question, how can you effectively answer it? How can you convince people that you are the talent the company should choose?

Jeff Bezos, the founder of the world's richest man, Amazon, was also asked this question. Seven years ago, when he acquired The Washington Post, he was asked "You have no relevant background in the newspaper industry, how convincing is the decision to acquire The Washington Post?" In response to this question, he gave a very persuasive answer, which later proved successful in taking The Washington Post to new heights after the acquisition. Want to know how he responded? Let's first read the original text together, and then explain how we can apply the inspiration gained from it to an interview.

How Jeff Bezos answered

"Don (chairman of Washington Post), over a series of conversations, convinced me that that was unimportant because we had, inside The Washington Post, was have so much talent that understands newspapers. That wasn’t what the problem was. What they needed was somebody who had an understanding of the internet.

In the old days of paper newspapers, you would have to build printing plants everywhere and your logistics operations to have a truly global newspaper. That’s why so few papers actually became national or global. … But today with the internet, you get that gift of free distribution, so we had to take advantage of that gift.

We had to switch from a business model where we made a lot of money per reader with a relatively small number of readers to a little tiny bit of money per reader on a very large number of readers. And that’s the transition that we did with our site."

The gist

The gist of Jeff Bezos' response is that he was convinced by Don, chairman of Washington Post, that the paper's problem was not the lack of talent, but the need for someone who had an understanding of the internet. With the internet, the newspaper could take advantage of the gift of free distribution, which allowed them to switch from a business model that relied on a small number of readers to a model that relied on a large number of readers. The transition to this model was successfully achieved with their site.

How can you practice answering this question

  • Step One: Try to write down your strengths and expertise, especially those that can bring different values to existing industries and positions.
  • Step Two: Try to write down what new sparks and innovations can be generated when your strengths are combined with the industry and position.

From the above exercise, you can further apply it to the following English template:

I wouldn't interpret having no background in the role of (the new position you want to apply for) as a disadvantage. Lacking experience is unimportant because what the company needs at this moment is (your strengths).

I have the kind of insights it takes to (do what's important for the position).

With my gift of (emphasize your strengths again), I could add value beyond what the company was expecting. In fact, I believe that by combining my talent with what the company has already been good at, we would be able to (do innovative things in this industry).

Sample answers for this question

  • While I may not have direct experience in this industry, I do have experience in problem-solving, critical thinking, and data analysis, which are transferable skills that can be applied in any industry. With the right training and guidance, I am confident that I can quickly adapt and learn the ins and outs of this industry, and contribute fresh ideas and perspectives to help move the company forward.

  • I believe that my diverse background and unique skill set can bring a fresh perspective to this industry. Coming from a different industry, I can offer a fresh set of eyes and challenge the status quo. I am a quick learner and I am not afraid to ask questions and seek out help when needed. I am confident that I can bring a new level of creativity and innovation to the table.

  • While it's true that I may not have direct experience in this industry, I have been researching and studying this field for quite some time now. I have a solid understanding of the industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. Moreover, I have been honing my skills and knowledge by taking courses and attending relevant workshops and conferences. I am confident that I have the knowledge and expertise to contribute to this industry.

  • I understand that hiring someone with no experience in your industry can be a risk. However, I am a quick learner, a hard worker, and I am passionate about this industry. I am excited to learn from the experts in this field and use my skills and knowledge to make a meaningful contribution to the company. I am confident that with the right support and training, I can become a valuable asset to the company.

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