“What makes you unique?”
It’s a question that gives you the opportunity to talk about why you’re the best candidate for the job, but also one that can be difficult to answer if you’re not sure how to approach it.
To help you answer this common interview question with confidence, we’ve prepared 10 sample answers that show you how to effectively highlight your unique qualities, skills, and experiences.
Why do employers ask “What makes you unique?”
Employers ask “What makes you unique?” to assess your self-awareness and find out if you know your strengths as a professional. Additionally, they want to see you’ve thought about how you’ll leverage those strengths in case you land the job.
Another reason why employers ask about your unique qualities is because they’re evaluating whether you’ll be a good cultural fit. By asking what makes you unique, they’re trying to identify if your values, work style, and personality align with the organization’s mission and the dynamics of the team.
How to answer the “What makes you unique?” interview question
These three tips will help you show employers what is unique about you as a candidate:
Be specific in your response
If you respond with “I’m an effective communicator” and leave it at that, your interviewer will have a hard time trusting your answer. To make your response convincing, you need to back it up with evidence.
The more specific you are when describing what makes you uniquely qualified for the role, the better. Delve into specific experiences or accomplishments to demonstrate how you stand out from other candidates.
For instance, to highlight your communication skills, give an example of a project where your effective communication led to a positive outcome for your team or for the company.
Highlight your strengths
When employers ask what makes you unique, they’re not inviting you to perform your best party trick or talk about your odd sense of humor. They’re looking for information about what makes you an outstanding employee.
This includes skills and experience you’ve gained throughout your career, as well as any personality traits that have given you an advantage in your field.
Relate your answer to the job ad
Relating your answer to the job ad is crucial in demonstrating your fit for the position.
By referencing qualifications or attributes mentioned in the job description, you show that you’ve carefully considered the requirements of the role and identified how your skill set aligns with the employer’s expectations for the position.
This showcases your understanding of what the job will require of you, and your ability to contribute in a meaningful way. It also helps the interviewer see how your unique qualities can address the needs or challenges outlined in the ad.
“What makes you unique?” example answers
Here are ten examples of how you could answer “What makes you different from other candidates?” and similar variations of this interview question:
I’m highly adaptable and thrive in fast-paced environments. In my previous role, our company underwent a major restructuring, and I took the initiative to lead my team through the transition by creating a streamlined workflow and providing support and training to ensure a smooth integration.
One thing that sets me apart is my ability to problem solve. Last year, my team and I encountered a complex logistics issue where our distribution system was struggling to handle the increasing volume of orders during peak seasons. I proposed a solution that involved leveraging emerging technology, which not only resolved the problem but also improved overall efficiency.
I have a natural talent for building and maintaining strong relationships with clients. At one of my old companies, I was assigned a challenging client who had expressed dissatisfaction with our services. They were considering terminating their contract, which would have resulted in a potential loss of revenue of $200,000 annually.
By actively listening to their concerns, taking swift action to address their issues, and maintaining open lines of communication, I was able to regain their trust which resulted in a long-term partnership.
My strong leadership skills enable me to motivate and inspire others to achieve their best. In my role as a team leader, I implemented a mentorship program that paired junior employees with experienced staff members. This program not only fostered a sense of camaraderie but also helped develop talent within the team, as shown by the 98% positive feedback the initiative received.
I possess a unique blend of analytical and creative thinking. This enables me to approach problems systematically while also offering innovative solutions. For instance, during a recent marketing campaign I conducted extensive data analysis to identify target demographics.
During my research, I discovered that our target audience, which consisted of tech-savvy millennials, valued sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. With this in mind, I designed a campaign that showcased not only the product’s cutting-edge features but also its positive environmental impact.
My strong communication skills allow me to effectively convey complex ideas to diverse audiences. In my previous role, I was responsible for presenting technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders. By breaking down the information into digestible chunks, using visual aids, and actively engaging with the audience, I ensured everyone understood the project’s objectives and progress.
I have a passion for continuous learning and personal development. At my previous company, I initiated a monthly “knowledge sharing” session where employees could present on industry trends, new technologies, or personal insights gained from attending conferences. This not only fostered a culture of learning but also enhanced our team’s expertise, contributing to us staying ahead of the curve.
I’m highly detail-oriented. This allows me to consistently deliver high-quality work, earning me the company’s “Employee of the Year” award in 2022. In my previous role as a legal assistant, I was responsible for proofreading and editing documents. By meticulously reviewing every piece of content, I was able to catch errors and inconsistencies, ensuring the accuracy of the legal documentation produced by our firm.
I have a natural ability to collaborate effectively with cross-functional teams. In a recent project, I worked closely with colleagues from different departments, leveraging their expertise while also providing support in areas where I possessed specialized knowledge. By fostering a collaborative environment, we successfully delivered a comprehensive solution that met all stakeholders’ requirements.
I bring a global perspective to my work due to my experience living and working in four different countries throughout my career. This multicultural exposure has enhanced my ability to adapt to diverse work environments, understand cultural nuances, and work well with colleagues from different backgrounds.
This proved invaluable when I was tasked with overseeing a multinational team in the implementation of a global marketing campaign for a luxury fashion brand. As a result of my ability to navigate and bridge cultural differences, the campaign successfully captured the essence of the brand while staying true to each market’s cultural context.
Other interview resources
Here are some additional resources to help you with your interview prep and ensure you make the best possible first impression:
- How to introduce yourself in an interview
- Our best job interview tips
- “Why are you leaving your current job?” sample answers
- How to respond to “Walk me through your resume.”
- The best ways to answer “Why do you want to work here?”
- Answering “What are your weaknesses” in an interview
- How to answer “What do you like least about your job?”
- 55 Great questions to ask the interviewer