How to Answer ‘What Makes You Unique’ Interview Question

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One of the most common questions that hiring managers like to ask during an interview is, ‘What makes you unique?’ This question is often asked because it helps the interview recognize the relevant qualities you could bring to the company. In this article, we will go over why employers ask this question and how to form a memorable response to improve your chances of getting a job offer.

Why employers ask, ‘What makes you unique?’

Employers use this question to learn more about you as an individual and a prospective team member. With so many applicants vying for the same position, discovering what sets you apart from others helps the hiring manager narrow down their list of prospective employees to the ones who stand out the most. 

The question, ‘What makes you unique?’ gives you the opportunity to highlight the professional skills that make you seem like a more valuable asset than other candidates. If your skills and personality align with the company’s culture and business needs, you are more likely to be offered the job. 

Surprising ways employers ask, ‘What makes you unique?’

Interviewers might ask the question, ‘What makes you unique?’ in different ways, but regardless of how they phrase the question, they are asking, ‘What makes you qualified for this position?’ When possible, bring the topic back around to why you are a good fit for the position. 

Here are some other ways an interviewer may phrase this question:

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What sets you apart from others?
  • What are you most known for among your friends or coworkers?
  • How would your boss and coworkers describe you?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?

Learn More: Answering the Trickiest Interview Questions With Confidence

How to answer, ‘What makes you unique?’

Here are a few aspects to think about when coming up with an answer to the question, ‘What makes you unique?’

  1. Consider what the employer finds valuable. Companies are looking for particular skill sets, perspectives and abilities to help them achieve their goals. Think about the job description and how you meet its requirements.
  2. Consider your background and previous experiences. Mention examples of times you were successful, praised or rewarded at a previous job. This can help you solidify yourself as a successful candidate with proven skills.
  3. Highlight your most popular personality traits. Consider your greatest personal strengths and how those translate to succeeding on the job. For example, if you are a patient person by nature, describe how that trait has helped you remain calm in high-stress situations.
  4. Remember that nobody expects you to be the only one of your kind. Hiring managers hear similar experiences all the time, so you only need to focus on highlighting your standout qualities. This will help you keep your response relevant to the job.

Since you will be explaining how you are different in a way that makes you perfect for the job, think of a response that depicts you as a professional who will bring value to the workplace. To help yourself prepare for this question, write down everything you have learned from previous jobs, studies and internships. Summarize how you can apply each of those experiences to the open position.

Consider which of your skills the company would value most, even if those skills are more personal than based on your professional experience. To keep your answer focused on the most important traits for the job, you can do the following:

  • Research the company before your interview.
  • Explain how you could use your unique skills and talents for the job.
  • Describe how these traits have helped you in previous positions.

Related: How to Be Confident in Your Interviews

Example answers to use in an interview

Here are some example answers to help you come up with an appropriate response to this question.

Example 1: Communication skills

‘In my previous position, I took on the role of team leader and quickly noticed communication issues between departments. I came up with the idea of implementing a better way of communicating with other departments using an inter-office chat. The company found the system so beneficial that they are still using it to this day.’

Example 2: Empathy

‘I am an excellent communicator and can easily relate to others. At my previous job, there was a situation where my coworkers were having trouble satisfying a client. They brought me in as sort of a mediator, and I was able to clear up the miscommunications. This lead to the company enjoying a lucrative, long-term relationship with that client.’

Example 3: Problem-solving

‘I am not afraid of failure. In fact, I believe failure is an essential part of the process that leads you to success. At my current job, for example, we recently tried to implement a new internal content management system that did not work out as well as we had planned. Each time I came across an issue, I focused on how to solve the problem, which resulted in a better system than we had initially hoped for.’

Learn More: Mastering the STAR Interview Method – Real Interview Questions & Answers 

There are many common questions you might be asked during an interview. ‘What makes you unique?’ helps the interviewer determine what sets you apart from other applicants. When you can showcase your skills and demonstrate how much of an asset you would be to the company, you improve your chances of landing the job.