What Makes You Unique? 6 Best Answers to This Interview Question

Commonly, interviewers present standard queries to their interviewees. One that frequently confounds many individuals is, “What sets you apart?”

Regardless of whether you’re a novice applicant, transitioning careers, or a seasoned professional in your domain, each individual possesses the potential to address this interview question with ease and authenticity. The trick lies in knowing how to respond. Discover our suggestions and example answers to begin!

Why Do Employers Inquire About Your Uniqueness?

Before formulating an answer to what distinguishes you from others, consider what the employer desires to glean from you. This insight will guide you in aligning your response (while still offering a genuine perspective on your distinctiveness within a job application).

1. Grasping Your Most Valuable Attributes

Prospective employers seek to uncover more than what’s already outlined in your resume or CV. This encompasses additional competencies and talents that position you ahead of fellow candidates.

This question provides an opportunity to spotlight your pertinent accomplishments, background, skills, and personal traits. Now is the time to showcase what you bring to the team.

2. Evaluating Your Self-Assuredness

Understanding what sets you apart as a job candidate is an excellent means of showcasing your confidence. Although not the sole yardstick for workplace success, your self-assurance can offer insights into your work ethic and how you tackle assignments.

Discussing your distinctive abilities can also make a positive initial impression. To sidestep sounding conceited, it’s advisable to respond to this question judiciously.

3. Assessing Potential for Advancement

Employers desire individuals who are motivated and perpetual learners. Your understanding of your distinctiveness might aid evaluators in gauging your potential for growth, both professionally and personally.

Your response also assists them in ascertaining if you can evolve with the company and align with its long-term aspirations.

4. Determining Cultural Compatibility

Employers must also consider how candidates will integrate into their organizational culture. Your unique attributes and disposition should harmonize with the company’s team ethos and work principles. Ultimately, a valuable hire should contribute positively to bolstering team cohesion.

5. Demonstrating Your Zeal

Enthusiastic employees are often more driven and inventive. Thus, recruiters seek employees who exhibit self-motivation in their work.

By articulating your distinct attributes as a candidate, you can underscore your passion for achieving tangible outcomes.

Crafting a Response to “What Makes You Unique?”

Once you’ve gained clearer insights into what potential employers are seeking, it’s time to learn how to tackle the question directly.

1. Revisit a Memory

Recall a situation where your actions positively influenced a company you were part of. Maybe you spotted a typo on the company’s website or identified inconsistencies in a specific report, leading to substantial time or money savings.

Make sure to spotlight the specific skills highlighted by your actions and detail how your manager reacted.

2. Leverage Compliments You Often Receive

Do you possess a particular positive quality or attribute that others frequently acknowledge? These compliments could encompass favorable initial impressions or specific traits that set you apart from the crowd.

These affirmations could come from friends, family, colleagues, or clients.

3. Highlight Your Pinnacle Accomplishment

Suppose you’re applying for a role in which you already boast experience. Were you awarded Employee of the Month? Did you secure a sales incentive? Inform the employer about your most notable achievements in that capacity.

These don’t always have to be formal events or awards. Sometimes, they can relate to situations where you managed intricate scenarios or addressed challenges with remarkable success.

Note: Whenever feasible, employ metrics to underscore your accomplishments.

4. Narrate a Fulfilling Instance

If you lack significant skills or accomplishments to highlight, recount a fulfilling moment from your career. This might involve:

Strategies you employed to transform challenges into triumphs
How you reshaped your outlook on your career or achieved your company’s objectives by fulfilling your responsibilities
Instances of assistance you rendered to a colleague or client

Support your assertion with a brief anecdote. Ensure it aligns with the job position you’re pursuing.

5. Showcase Your Optimal Productive Habits

Employers are eager to gauge a candidate’s potential for productivity as a team member. To help them assess your potential contribution to the company, mention your commitment to productivity literature, online courses, and instances where you’ve taken on additional tasks to aid struggling colleagues.

6. Spotlight Your Premier Skill

If you wish to inform the interviewer about a particular skill not outlined on your resume (yet still pertinent to the role), feel free to bring it to the forefront. This could be an acquired skill you learned along the way or a certification that few candidates possess.

Refining and Enhancing Your Interview Response: 9 Pointers

While the previous section offers an excellent starting point, there are several more tips to polish your answer and effectively expound upon what distinguishes you as a contender.

1. Conduct Thorough Research

Prior to the interview, delve into the job prerequisites, description, and the company’s profile. This strategy will enable you to tailor your responses effectively, ensuring they harmonize with the company’s requirements.

2. Select One or Two Key Skills

While having an array of skills is advantageous, mentioning all of them might dilute your interviewer’s attention. Remember, these aspects should already be present in your resume.

It’s wiser to emphasize one or two of your premier skills or qualities, ensuring their relevance to the job description (unless the interviewer explicitly inquires about them).

3. Embrace Authenticity

Prospective employers are already aware of your intention to make a positive impression. Ensure that your interview demeanor is candid and sincere. Avoid embellishing your capabilities beyond what you can deliver.

4. Maintain Clarity and Succinctness

Keep your response concise and focused. Incorporate anecdotes if they augment your answers, but avoid veering off course or becoming long-winded.

5. Tailor Your Answer to the Role

Always endeavor to link your response back to the job at hand. Correlate your skill set, work ethic, and prime qualities to the job description while highlighting their potential benefits for the company. This approach facilitates the recruiter’s assessment of your suitability for the position.

For instance, although being a team player is valuable, it holds more appeal when applying for a team-centric role (such as a marketing manager or HR recruiter). Positions demanding more autonomy, like graphic designer, technical writer, or accountant, require less interpersonal interaction.

6. Steer Clear of Generic Responses

“I’m a dedicated worker.”

“I’m perpetually eager to learn.”

While these answers can be used, they’re clichéd for a reason. You can incorporate them into your responses but endeavor to phrase them in a novel and refreshing manner.

For instance, instead of merely asserting your diligence, start with:

“I exhibit a tenacious mindset when confronted with unforeseen challenges in the workplace. I put in concerted effort and exhaust all available avenues to accomplish tasks. This quality was showcased when…”

7. Actively Listen

Observe your interviewer’s queries and reactions as the conversation progresses. This attentiveness will empower you to adjust your answer accordingly, ready to enhance it on the spot.

8. Employ the STAR Technique

The STAR Technique (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) serves as an effective strategy for formulating answers during interviews. Rather than merely enumerating what sets you apart, illustrate your uniqueness through an anecdote. Present a specific instance where your distinct qualities were showcased.

9. Practice

Enlist the assistance of a friend or family member to rehearse your answer with you. Embrace their feedback to refine your response and boost your confidence.

What Makes You Distinctive: Exemplar Responses

To aid your comprehension of how to formulate a more compelling response, we’ve created industry-appropriate answers.

1. My Efficiency Shines

“One of my standout traits is my knack for swiftly and effectively tackling tasks. Having previously worked in a smaller organization, I appreciate the value of adaptability across various domains. If expediting work translates to better outcomes, I’m eager to lend a hand beyond my designated responsibilities.”

Unveil what distinguishes you by showcasing a personal aptitude applicable to the broader company. In this case, the candidate draws upon their past experiences to present a valuable attribute.

2. Embracing Failure as a Stepping Stone

“Failure, an integral part of learning, transcends all fields. I view it as a catalyst for growth and enhancement across all facets of life. I’m unafraid of embracing risk, as it promises fresh experiences and a refined perspective. Due to a machine glitch, I once miscalculated inventory, leading to a month-long backlog. However, this incident prompted me to design a preventive system, subsequently streamlining processes by around 30%.”

Anyone can profess willingness to assume risks and embrace failure. Transform your response into a captivating narrative by illustrating how you transformed a dire situation into a triumph, ultimately enriching the company.

3. Exceptional Interpersonal Communication

“I excel in interpersonal communication, fostering a conducive environment for colleagues to approach me with potential issues. Effective communication is the bedrock of a strong team, and I make it a point to prioritize thoughtful and empathetic dialogue wherever I’m situated.”

Accentuating interpersonal skills proves particularly beneficial for candidates pursuing leadership roles. Attributes like communication, conflict resolution, empathy, and compassion are apt for highlighting.

4. Mentorship and Program Development

“I formerly held the position of training manager at my past organization. I was regularly invited to lead sessions on leadership and mindfulness courses. Eventually, I was instrumental in crafting the company’s inaugural learning program in this realm.”

This response resonates well with candidates vying for leadership roles. Whenever possible, craft an answer that melds your accomplishments with instances where you demonstrated coaching or pioneering initiatives.

5. Experience-Fueled Skills

“I possess skills and insights uniquely suited to this role, honed during my tenure as a marketing manager at [previous company]. As an example…”

If you’re embarking on a career transition, enhancing your ability to stand out can be accomplished by leveraging your experiences from past employments.

Avoid These Pitfalls During an Interview

Recall that coherence outweighs extraordinary responses. If you’re feeling apprehensive, remember to breathe, encapsulate the core points of your answer, and articulate your thoughts confidently.

Moreover, steer clear of the subsequent pitfalls when crafting your response.

Evade Negativity

Bypass answers that could undermine your colleagues, company, or even yourself:

“My coworkers were a chaotic bunch, but I consistently ensured we met deadlines.”
“My peers would be at sea without my guidance.”

If you must discuss a past negative experience, do so constructively and conclude with a positive outcome. For instance, you might mention that the company wasn’t the ideal fit for your skills and work ethic:

“My coworkers favored an individualistic approach to tasks, whereas I thrive in a collaborative environment where team members collaborate towards a shared objective.”

Following this, emphasize your contributions and alignment with the prospective company’s values.

Inconsistent Explanations

Keeping your responses concise and truthful minimizes the chances of presenting contradictory statements. Organize your thoughts before articulating your responses.

Prior to the interview, outline your main points to prevent the need for memorizing an extensive script. Even if the interview veers away from your rehearsed responses, you’ll have a foundation to fall back on.

Avoid Straying from the Topic

Compose a response that is impactful enough for the interviewer to remember while maintaining brevity. Sidestep rambling or delving into tangents.

Once again, concentrate on facets relevant to the job and the aspects you desire the interviewer to retain.

Refute Defensiveness

Should your potential employer pose a follow-up question, refrain from becoming defensive. Interviewers often present challenging queries to gauge candidates’ poise. Maintain composure, recollect your response, and reply thoughtfully.

Shun Vagueness

Interviewers have little tolerance for general, hackneyed answers. A vague response could indicate that you haven’t pondered the question deeply or comprehensively. It might even imply that you’re uncertain about your distinctive qualities, skills, or experiences.

Strive to be as precise as possible.

Abstain from Boasting

There’s a fine line between showcasing your standout strengths and coming across as conceited. Practice your interview responses to strike a balance between highlighting your distinct attributes and expressing openness to constructive feedback:

“I excel in communication and assert my viewpoints with confidence. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that I’m not infallible and welcome constructive critique.”

Remain Truthful

Whatever the circumstance or your response, refrain from falsehoods or embellishments. For instance, if you lack the exact skills required for the job, you might mention:

“While I don’t encompass all the technical prerequisites, I’m fully equipped to rapidly learn and dedicate myself to contribute effectively to the company.”

Note: Reflect on how your unique qualities can help fulfill this commitment!

In Conclusion

The inquiry about your uniqueness can be unnerving. Although it may appear daunting initially, adequate preparation equips you to provide an impactful and memorable response.

Remember: Your response’s key elements encompass humility, authenticity, poise, confidence, and succinctness. Best of luck with your job interview!

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