There are 12 applicants vying for this job. Give me good reasons why should I choose you over them.
Most of the time, the interviewers want to gauge how an applicant views herself or himself at par with the rest of the competition. This gives them a way to test ones self confidence and competitiveness. Though tempting it may seem, like any other questions during a job interview it has to be tackled smartly to ace that desired position. Answer this question too aggressively, and one can look cocky, arrogant and egoistic. On the other hand, a passive approach will make the applicant look submissive, complaisant and incompetent.
It is a known fact that it will be easier to spot others shortcomings and faults. Psychology dictates this as one of the basic expectations of a human behavior. It gives one a feeling of superiority and approval over the others. In most cases, trained Human Personnel are well aware and sensitive of this fact. The truth is they interpret this as insecurities. Ironic as it may seem, the more you pick on others weaknesses, the more you flaunt on your own insecurities. So how should you be responding to the question? Know what you are good at doing that matters in the job and acknowledge that others may also be capable of doing it; then give specific details on why you think you are able to do it better, faster or more efficient. Site certain experiences in the past that would support this claim.
There is nothing more annoying and obvious to an interviewer than a pretender. Trying to sell yourself by making up success stories is comparable to someone selling 1972 Volkswagen Beatle and how he enjoys driving one running at 90 kilometers per hour. Always keep in mind to stay as truthful and as realistic as you can no matter how insignificant you feel the achievement was.
Provide facts like dates, sales figures and reference person that could attest your achievement and how you were able to surpass the competition. Give more details like techniques and innovations you applied in order to out run the competition. Keeping things real will always make you land on a safer side, in case a cross-examination happens then you can confidently provide well grounded reasons and facts.
Not even a 4-page curriculum vitae tells everything about a person, much more would a 30-minute interview do. Take this question as an opportunity for you to highlight some of your skills and expertise that may not be directly needed or required on the position you are applying for yet would set you apart from the pool of applicants.
For example, an applicant for a vacant chef position in a restaurant may discuss how his hobby in painting gave him an edge in winning a food presentation contest due to his level of comfort in mixing up and blending colors.