Some questions are more prevalent in job interviews than other questions are. For example- you have probably heard- “What are your strengths?” and “Why should we hire you?” Another one is- “What can you do for us that others can’t?” While the question may seem tricky- it really is just a way for interviewers to gain insight into how you understand your unique assets and how good you are at executing them. They also want to know if there really are things you can do that other people cannot. Variations on the wording of this interview question include- “What unique capabilities do you bring?” and “What would be special about you working here?” “Why are you the ideal person for this job?” is another.
Answering the question thoroughly means planning your reply in advance. Take the time now to consider exactly what the question asks: “What can you do for us that others can’t?” In fact- giving careful thought to top job interview questions and answers is one of the best things you can do to ensure interview success.
How to Answer the “What Can You Do For Us That Others Can’t?” Interview Question
Structure Your Response in Three Parts: Deliver your answer in three parts: first- an introduction that does not demean anyone else; second- a listing of your unique strengths; and third- an explanation of how these strengths apply to the position at hand. For the introduction- you could say something like- “No doubt you’re interviewing a number of excellent candidates- but here’s what I bring to the table.” Use the information in the job description to glean the type of individual the company is looking for. Keep an eye out for patterns or themes. For instance- if communication is repeated in several variations along with collaboration and teamwork- then you know to emphasize your skills in teamwork communication. Avoid coming across as a person who compares himself or herself to others. Try to limit your answer to about 30 seconds. No need to make it long-winded.
Match Your Answer to the Company’s Philosophy: Job interviewers are checking for compatibility; they want to ensure the person they hire is a good match skills-wise and personality-wise for the company. What you say you can do for the company that others can’t needs to reflect these values. For instance- if the company is incredibly traditional- old fashioned and averse to risk- you might want to think twice about answering along the lines of- “I’m willing to take risks.” The job description- the company’s website and Internet searches are three great avenues for verifying that your answers match the assets the company values. Follow this principle of reflecting company values for all top job interview questions and answers.
Describe What Makes You Unique: If you have an attribute that truly makes you stand out and that ties into the job- include it in your answer. For instance- if you have climbed Mount Everest or have run 10 marathons- you can frame your experience to show that you are a strong- persistent and dedicated person- and that these traits carry over into your work life. You will do for the business what you have done for yourself. In fact- you probably have at least one such accomplishment in your background- even if you may not realize it. Brainstorm for a few minutes- listing everything large and small you have done. Did you start a lawn mowing business when you were 13? What does that say about yourself?
Sample “What Can You Do For Us That Others Can’t?” Interview Answers
1. There’s no question that you’re interviewing a number of excellent candidates- but here’s what I bring to the table: persistence- patience and communications skills. For example- I hiked the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end in 2012. It takes 2-200 miles total from Georgia to Maine. It was an experience that required months to plan- and while on the trail I encountered plenty of setbacks that required persistence. I hiked with three other people- and it was like a course in communications and in helping one another succeed. Your job description said you need someone who has excellent communications skills- and I’ve got these and much more.
2. I’m sure that you’re bringing in lots of good folks to interview. Obviously I can only speak for myself- but I’m an incredibly creative person. As you saw in my portfolio- I’m adept at working with a wide range of companies- from small mom-and-pop businesses to Fortune 500 companies. I’ve turned around award-winning projects on deadlines of less than a week. I create advertising campaigns for TV- print and the Internet that resonate with a diverse base of people. I identify what people need and communicate how my client’s product helps solve that need. I’m excited to do that for this company.
Now you have several suggestions for answering one of the most common interview questions. There is no time like the present to prepare for top job interview questions and answers!