Distinguishing Yourself: Unique Qualities Among Your Peers

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: January 06, 2023

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There are a few questions that you can often expect to be asked during an interview. “What makes you stand out among your peers?” is commonly heard in interviews for good reason. While some interview questions have completely different subliminal intentions, the true goal of asking this is closely related to the original question itself — inquiring about the specific attributes that you would bring to the position. Within today’s job pool there are many candidates seemingly qualified for certain positions, and interviewers look to find some distinguishing characteristics to determine the ideal candidate. This helps them to select the best individual possible.

“What can I do to stand out in an interview?” is a question you might be asking yourself. When formulating a response, think about the unique talents, skills, qualities, and traits that you can bring to the job, and lay out a strategy for how you can discuss them in an interview in a non-bragging style.

A candidate who can bring unique qualities and traits to the position that would benefit both the individual in completing the role and the business as a whole will stand out amongst other applicants. In essence, this question gives you an opportunity to leave a lasting impression with the interviewer and for you to inform them of your superior abilities and character traits that set you apart from the competition. By taking time to fully understand this goal and how to properly answer the question, you can give yourself a leg up during your interview process.

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How to Answer the "What Makes You Stand Out Among Your Peers?" Interview Question

1. Focus on Your Key Qualities

When answering "What makes you stand out among your peers?" and related interview questions- intentionally focus on the characteristics and attributes that you will bring to the position and do not harp on what you believe other candidates may lack. Talking negatively about other candidates may cause you to appear "catty," may not be true or valid, and is a waste of your limited interview time. Instead spend time talking about your qualities that apply to the position at hand. If you do this correctly you will naturally be a more attractive candidate than those who do not.

2. Do Not Brag

You do not want to appear prideful, because this can reflect poorly upon you, but you should put your best foot forward. To walk this fine line, you must stick to the facts and provide quality details to support your claims. However, you do not want to harp on any one subject too much. Give one or two strong examples that support your key outstanding attributes and paint a clear picture of your applicable abilities.

3. Support Your Claims With Experiences

The best way to validate your claims is by providing unique examples of your experience. Remember, during the first interview, the interviewer is taking your word for face value and usually does not check facts until later in the hiring process. Having detailed examples can help to validate your claims on both your resume and during your time together. Your experiences can also make you more memorable than other candidates. Make sure that your story is relevant to the position that you are seeking and provide details while keeping it concise and to the point.

4. Do Not Regurgitate Your Resume

For the most part, interviewers will have already reviewed your resume before deciding to interview you. Therefore, it will not do well for you to repeat what they have already read. In fact, many interviewers are looking to learn more about you, so it is helpful if you volunteer such information. This also allows you to control such prying and avoid being caught off guard.

Of course, it is good to mention things that you have on your resume for continuity, but rather than saying the same thing or rephrasing it, take time to discuss relevant experiences that you have had in the positions you have listed. This helps to give a personal touch and to bring your experience to life in the eyes of the interviewer.

Sample "What Makes You Stand Out Among Your Peers?" Interview Answers

  1. Through my previous positions in different industries, I have amassed and honed a unique skill set that makes me a well-rounded and versatile worker. I am able to tackle issues with a wide perspective and formulate effective problem resolution options. In my jobs, I have also had the opportunity to work with and under people with various personality types, so I am able to understand and work with different work styles, which helps me with team projects as well as when working on projects independently. These traits, along with my genuine desire to help others and knack for organization, help to set me apart from my peers.

  2. In my previous position I had the opportunity to work closely with the assistant property manager. I not only learned the ins and outs of proper leasing procedures but I also gained experience with advanced skills such as posting rent and consolidating accounts. These abilities, along with my long history within customer service and management, have allotted me a vast skill set and level of experience that I do not believe my peers would have.

By heeding the tips and examples provided, you will be well prepared to answer "What makes you stand out among your peers?" and similar interview questions. Remember to write an interview follow-up email to thank the interviewer for their time and express your continued interest in the role.

Other Interview Questions You May be Asked

1. What Qualities Do You Have That Differentiate You from Other Candidates?

Keep the following in mind when answering this interview question:

  • The key—and most unique—qualities that separate you from other candidates
  • Talk about these qualities in a non-bragging tone/style
  • Do not speak negatively of other candidates when answering the question

2. Why Should We Hire You Over Other Candidates?

Keep the following in mind when answering this interview question:

  • Discuss your unique skillset and talents in a persuasive yet non-bragging manner
  • Tie your skillset and talents to the needs and requirements of the job
  • When articulating why you’re The One for the job, do not throw other candidates under the bus, or speak of them in a negative manner

3. Why Would You be a Good Team Member?

Keep the following in mind when answering this interview question:

  • Your skills and abilities working on teams, and your commitment to teamwork
  • Your skills and abilities working with different personalities
  • Your commitment to achieving company goals via the process of productive, efficient teamwork

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