This article was updated on 15th June 2020.
It’s fair to say that, this question is tricky for a couple of reasons; the main one being that the candidate often has no idea who else has applied, so it is almost impossible for him to compare himself to the other candidates. With that in mind here are some top tips, garnered from experts on how one can begin to prepare for a question like this.
Why are they asking this question?
The most important thing that the candidate must keep in mind is as to why they are being asked this specific question. When one hears this question, they must understand that they are not being asked to talk about why everyone else is bad. The interviewer wants to know what strengths and experiences the candidate feels are valuable and how they could benefit the company. This is the candidate’s opportunity to let the interviewer know why they should be hired over everyone else.
Companies hire people to solve a problem, whether that problem is boosting sales or maintaining a brand. When one gives his answer, he must show them that he can solve their problem better than anyone else. This question sounds really similar to the “greatest strengths” question, but it is often asking for a different answer. The interviewer wants to know what the candidate can bring to the company that no one else can. The candidate should not sell himself short.
This question can also be phrased as:
Why are you the best person/applicant/candidate for the job?
Why should we hire you over other candidates?
How to Prepare Your Answer
HOW TO ANSWER:
There are two keys to answering this interview question well:
Knowing one’s Biggest Strengths
When preparing for this question, one of the most important things, as mentioned above, is making a list of skills and strengths one has. They can range from more generic to more unique. There will be quite a few on the list and one might wish to share some of those when answering the parallel interview question of “What is your biggest strength?” While this question is similar to that one, its tone is a little special. If someone is asking it, they in all probability would like to know about the candidate’s distinctive strengths and effectively the things he can bring to the business that the other candidates can’t. That could be a very specific skill or it could just be really excelling in a more indispensable skill.
Understand the Strengths Most Important to the Job the Candidate is being Interviewed For
A good answer to this question isn’t just about listing a unique skill one has. The job description often holds all the information one needs to figure this out. One should find out whether it seems like organizational skills are emphasized in the company or are it more about creativity and whether in the requirements section it calls for a year of experience in a specific field or simply basic knowledge in that specific field.
Forget the Other Candidates
If one does get this question, he needs to actually forget about the other candidates. This is important because, as mentioned earlier, it is highly likely that the candidate does not know them so there’s no way one can say something brash like he has much more experience than every other candidate because this might not actually be true.
Focus on Your One’s Personal Profile
Instead of focusing on other candidates and trying to guess what skills, experiences and strengths they might have, it is important to focus on one’s candidate profile and what he can bring to the role instead. With this question, the employer is keen to see how well the candidate knows himself in terms of his strengths and experience and how this could benefit the role he is applying for.
Don’t Badmouth Other Candidates
If the candidate does happen to know some of the other candidates, it can be appealing to badmouth them, predominantly if he dislikes them on a personal level but he needs to keep in mind to attempt and keep it professional. If he is interviewing for an internal role or a promotion, in this case, it is okay to weigh against oneself to one’s contemporaries but rather than focusing on their personality traits or previous incidents at the company, one should focus on quantifiable facts which can’t be disputed like how many years they’ve worked in the industry or their qualifications. Similarly, if one has had a run-in with one of the candidates before it is probably best not to mention that candidate because it could come across as childish and look like one is holding a grudge. That said; while it’s OK to name check other employees in this instance, it is more significant to focus more on what makes the candidate right for the role, over what makes other candidates not suitable for the position.
Remember the Role One is Applying For
Last but not least, when answering this question, it’s essential to keep one’s answers pertinent. The candidate should not fail to remember that he is interviewing for a job and not anything else so it is probably best to avoid mentioning random things like his love of going for long walks or his most recent holiday unless and until it is very relevant. When preparing one’s answer to this question, the candidate should think about the role on offer and how his skills and experience fit it.
To give a good answer to this question, one has to really believe that he is the best person for the job, and he has to be able to explain why. For every strength or skill on his list, he must think about his work, volunteer, and academic history to come up with examples of how he has used these strengths.
He should write down examples and come up with a story that shows his experience. He should think of a specific time when he used these traits to achieve something at work or on a project. Describing the project, what he did to address the situation, and the positive outcome that came from his work is also vital.
For example, if one is detail-oriented, he should think of a time where his attention to detail made his work stand out against other projects. It is important to keep the answer short, sweet, and to the point. The answer should not be too long and risk boring to the interviewer. One should just pick out one or two specific qualities from his list to emphasize how perfect he is for the position and start by telling them what he thinks they’re looking for, and how he specifically can satisfy that need.
Above all, he should remember that his story should show them why he should get the job over everyone else. Remember to think about which of his experiences and qualifications make him a better fit than the competition.
For instance, maybe he has a certification that makes him more knowledgeable about various technologies than the average person. One should remember that this question is about what’s really going to set him apart. He should not be modest, as this is the time to be confident about one’s strengths and really sell oneself to the interviewer. When one is giving them their pitch, they should be positive and should remember to reiterate his interest in the company and for the job itself.