Interview Question: “What Makes You Unique?”walk
When you apply for a job, you and other applicants probably have a lot of the same skills and traits. But you also have unique skills and experiences that no one else has. If a potential employer asks, “What makes you different?” you can talk about the things that make you the best person for the job.
This article will help you figure out what makes you unique by giving you ideas and examples.
- Instead of comparing yourself to others, think about what qualities are most important for the role.
- Check the job description to make sure your answer fits what the employer is looking for.
- Include both hard skills and soft skills that often get you praise or rewards.
Why do people ask in interviews, “What makes you unique?”
Employers often ask this question to find out what skills or qualities you have that make you a better fit for the job than other applicants. In other words, if dozens of other professionals with almost the same skills as you have also applied for the job, why should they hire you instead?
The second reason employers ask this is to find out what you value most about yourself. The things you talk about in your answer may also be important strengths that you’re always working to improve. The employer is looking for unique strengths or soft skills that you might not have put on your resume or application but that will help you do well on the job.
Tips for getting ready for this question
Instead of trying to figure out what makes you different from the other applicants, think about how hiring you would help the company. Since you don’t know the other applicants, it can be hard to figure out how your answer fits with theirs. Addressing why your background makes you a good fit will show employers that your skills and qualifications make you well-prepared.
Here are four things you can do to help you identify your most relevant, unique traits:
Think about what might help the employer.
Employers want to hire people whose ideas, skills, or abilities can help them reach their business goals. Take the time to carefully read the job description and look for information about the specific goals the employer wants the new employee to meet. Then, think about your strengths and how they match up with these needs.
For example, if you’re applying for a job as a team leader and the job description says that the company wants to make it easier for people from different departments to talk to each other, you could talk about how you can bring people together around a common goal and get a group motivated.
Look back at what you’ve done in the past.
Think about times when you were good at your job and your boss praised you or gave you a reward. How did you get their attention? What traits, skills, or abilities did you have that made you successful? What you did is probably something that other employers would like to see in a new employee.
For example, a salesperson with a lot of skill may have dealt with unhappy customers or won back accounts that were lost. In this case, their special skill may be that they can tell when someone is upset and quickly come up with a plan to calm them down and solve their problems.
Figure out what your most well-known traits are.
Think about what your friends and family have said about your strengths and what your past employers have said about them. Then, think about how these parts of yourself could help you do well at work.
Say, for example, that people have told you that you are patient and hardworking. In this case, you could talk about how your patience and persistence have helped you stay calm and collected in high-stress situations or how determined you are to reach your goals despite outside pressures or setbacks.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to be the only one.
Don’t let the word “unique” scare you or make you feel confused. Employers want to see that you have interesting skills, but they don’t want to hear about something they’ve never heard before, especially if it has nothing to do with the job.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in customer service, the employer probably doesn’t care about your trapeze skills. On the other hand, being fluent in more than one language might not be that unusual, but this valuable skill might be enough to make a customer service candidate stand out from the rest.
Tip: If your friends or boss have told you what your strengths are, you could talk about that in your answer. This could be more evidence that you have the qualities you claim to have. For example, you could start your answer by saying, “In my peer feedback, I’ve often been praised for my ability to work with others…” You can then go into more detail.
If you can, answer any interview question with an example from real life or a specific fact. The better you show your skills through examples, the more reliable and easy to remember your answer is. How to answer “Tell us what makes you different” (with examples)
Here are some answers that might help you figure out what to say.
find a way to say what makes you unique:
- “I’m different because I’m good at putting things in order by nature. I thought of a way to reorganize the office supply closet by type when I was an administrative assistant. From one year to the next, we saved 30% on office supplies because it was easier to find things.
- “What makes me different is that I can relate to and understand other people easily. I used this skill when I was an account executive and had to find new clients. Because I could quickly find and understand their problems and pain points, I was able to gain their trust and build relationships, which helped me consistently meet and exceed my quota.”
- “Because I’ve worked in retail for four years, I’m different. I know what customers want because they have asked me questions, made comments, and told me what they don’t like. I know what it takes to give customers a good experience with marketing.”
- Everyone has a special skill or trait that makes them a good candidate for a job. Before your interview, you can be ready to explain why you’re a good fit for the job by writing down your talking points and thinking about your unique strengths.