Imagine having a successful interview, but you get to the last question.
You don’t know how to answer “what makes you unique?”
Many people struggle with this, and it’s hard to know what makes you stand out.
Fortunately, you may have more unique qualities and skills than you expect.
Keep reading to learn why you may receive this question.
Then, consider a few example answers to help come up with something in your job interview.
Table Of Contents
Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Makes You Unique?”?
Interviewers ask about what makes you unique for a few reasons.
First, they want to know what sets you apart from other candidates.
The employer is interested in how your skills or strengths will help their company or help you succeed in the position.
During your interview, the hiring manager wants to learn as much about you as possible.
They also may want to focus on qualities that your resume didn’t cover.
That makes your interview the perfect time to talk about unique attributes.
What Is the Interviewer Looking For?
The interviewer is looking for what makes you unique and how that will help the team.
Consider what type of job you’re interviewing for and what you’ll do if you get the job.
Then, you can focus on more specific qualities when answering the question.
As with any question, try to reply concisely and keep it honest.
Focus on the following points when speaking about what makes you unique:
- Skills from the Job Description: Share any unique skills you have that the company listed in the description to show you paid attention.
- Help the Company: Keep your answer relevant to the company and role you’re applying for to show how you can help the employer.
- Use Your Background: Consider sharing how your unique skills have helped you in your current or former job to give more context.
It’s okay if you don’t have a ton of incredibly unique skills.
When that’s the case, focus on your unique skills and experience.
Then, you can still stand out from other applicants and potentially land the job.
How to Answer “What Makes You Unique?”
Giving memorable answers is one of the best things you can do when answering any interview question.
As you craft your response, try to share some of your most unique skills or qualities first.
Consider what to prioritize and what to avoid in your answer.
What to Focus on When Answering This Question
The question about what makes you unique is one of the best interview questions with the goal of getting to know you.
You can use this question to share more details about yourself with your potential boss to help them decide whether or not to hire you.
While you may have several unique skills, focus on just a few things.
You may be able to spend all day talking about what makes you unique.
However, you should condense your answer so that it includes the following:
- Professional Skills: Share any unique skills you have that have helped or would help you in your work if you land the job.
- Background Experience: Focus on any background experience with unique skills or qualities and when your skills have come in handy.
- Your Personality: Some people have unique personality traits, such as empathizing with others, so don’t be afraid to share that.
Before you go into an interview, consider some of your unique qualities and skills.
Then, you simply include the most relevant ones if you receive this question.
What To Avoid When Answering This Question
It’s easy to answer this question in a way that doesn’t help you.
Maybe you have a lot of unique aspects or skills, but they don’t necessarily come into play with a job.
Instead of listing the first things that come to mind, you should know what to avoid.
Then, you can make sure your answer is relevant, which can help increase the chances of you landing the job.
- Personal Skills: Avoid talking about unique skills you have that you don’t use at work.
- General Statements: You shouldn’t mention that you’re a hard worker because that’s too general, and it’s not that unique.
- Long Lists: Don’t list too many skills or attributes since the interviewer may miss some or get confused.
Avoid going on a tangent, particularly about any skill or attribute that has nothing to do with the job you want.
That way, you can focus on more relevant things.
Examples: How to Answer “What Makes You Unique?”
If you receive a question on what makes you unique, consider how to answer it.
You may want to adjust your answer each time, so consider a few examples.
Example Answer 1
“I love learning new things and always seek opportunities to learn and grow. In previous roles, I used this interest to help my employers and team reach productivity goals.
It also afforded me the chance to take on more responsibility and assist managers when they were busy.
Another one of my unique qualities is my ability to empathize with others.
I’ve used this skill when dealing with troublesome customers.”
Why This Answer Works
This answer works because it’s relevant to the applicant’s prior work experience.
You’re sharing how you’ve used a couple of your most unique skills and attributes to help others.
The answer also avoids talking about skills that primarily help you outside work.
While those skills might matter, they’re not as useful for an interviewer to know.
Example Answer 2
“Since I’ve worked at a smaller company, I’ve had the chance to work with people across various departments.
I’ve been a part of the marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
That experience has allowed me to connect all three departments to help my employers succeed.
Working in sales and customer service has taught me how to talk to people.
If I can’t help, I know where to send the customer for assistance.”
Why This Answer Works
This answer mentions the applicant’s prior work experience at a small organization.
It also shares how the experience helped the applicant learn about different departments.
They’ve even used those skills to help them work more efficiently.
It shows that the applicant knows they don’t know everything.
When they need help, they’re willing to look for it.
Example Answer 3
“I love using a combination of emotions and logic when solving problems.
When it comes to advancing digital marketing campaigns, I know how to interpret data and decide on new tactics to help reach the team’s goals.
My organizational skills have also come into play when setting and achieving goals.
I know how to efficiently store and access files for everything from social media to website analytics.”
Why This Answer Works
This answer works because it’s crucial to make the right decisions.
Using emotions and logic together can help companies make the best choice for a given scenario.
It also shows that the person is organized and can use that skill to their advantage.
They can also use their organizational skills to help others in the company.
Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What Makes You Unique?
Luckily, you can use some common interview techniques to answer the question, “what makes you unique?”
Your answer doesn’t have to be the only thing that impresses the person interviewing you.
Consider the following tips to help prepare for this question and answer it with ease.
Research the Job Ahead of Time
Before your interview, you should research the job and company.
Revisit the job description and search for any duties or skills you can discuss.
Then, you can jot down some points to help answer the question.
It also helps to learn more about the company, its mission, and its vision.
View their website and pay attention to any sayings or slogans. Use those to help craft a unique answer.
Avoid a Long Pause
In your interview, you may need a second or two to come up with an answer.
However, you should avoid being silent for too long.
A long pause could make the interviewer wonder if you have any unique qualities or if the ones you share are true.
Take only a second to think of the first unique skill or attribute and take a deep breath.
Then, you can talk about your most unique qualities.
Send an Email Later
As soon as possible, send a follow-up email afterwards to the person who interviewed you.
Thank them for their time meeting with you, and share something you enjoyed about the interaction.
Your email is also an excellent time to mention any unique skills you have.
It can be easy to forget details if you’re nervous.
Over email, you can take time to write out your response so that it stands out to the interviewer.
Additional Questions To Be Aware Of
You may receive many different questions in your next job interview.
To help you prepare for the event more efficiently, consider these popular interview questions.
- Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?: Employers may want to know if you see yourself working for them long-term.
- Describe Yourself: One of the first questions you can expect is one that focuses on your background.
- What Are You Passionate About?: A hiring manager may want to ask about your interests both in and outside of work.
- What Interests You About This Position?: Use this question to share why you want that particular job, not just any position.
- What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?: Some employers may want to know your overall career goal and if this position would help you and them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you go into your interview, you may still have questions about how to talk about what makes you unique.
Here’s what you should know.
Should you talk about your quirks in an interview?
You should talk about any quirks that would help you succeed in the job.
For example, if you’re applying for a finance-related role, mental math skills may come in handy.
How do you know your uniqueness?
Think about things you do that your friends, relatives, and current co-workers don’t do or don’t do as well as you.
Another option is to ask people who know you best what makes you unique.
An interviewer may ask, “what makes you unique?”
You’ll need to come up with a clear, concise answer.
Be sure to consider the examples as inspiration.
However, remember to make your answer personalized based on your experience and the job you want.
Then, you can paint yourself in the best light.