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How to Answer “What Makes You Unique”? Interview Question


Very often you tend to clear tests and examinations easily but an interview makes you have sweaty palms.

Many people fear interviews, it can be their genuine shyness, lack of confidence or phobia.

Individuals who are aware of the questions going to be posed are more confident. So it is wise to be prepared for the common questions well in advance.

What makes you uniqueOne question that is commonly asked in job interviews of different fields is ‘what makes you unique?

Here are some simple facts to help you understand why this question is posed. Read to know the best way to impress the interviewer.

Why do they Ask this “What makes You Unique” Question?why this question

The recruiters arrange interviews to get to know the candidate more.

A test or an examination helps to assess the candidate’s knowledge and mental abilities but the personality and attitude of the person is only revealed in an interview.

They pose this simple question about your personality because they want to know:

How you distinguish yourself from the crowd?

You need to have a high opinion about yourself if you want someone else to appreciate the good aspects in you. This is true not just in your professional life but also in your personal life.

The question helps the recruiter understand how you distinguish yourself from a group of people who possess the same credentials as you.

How creative you are as an individual?

Even in the tech-savvy world of ours, there are many businesses that require a touch of creativity to excel.

The answer to abstract questions like this one help the recruiters identify if you possess creative skills. A candidate should thus make sure that he answers the question confidently.

The question also helps to select their ideal candidate among countless attractive entries. It helps them eliminate the unworthy candidates and select their perfect employee.

What are they looking for in their ideal candidate?what they look for

A great challenge for you could be to understand what exactly the firm refers to as an ideal candidate.

The ideal person for diverse job types may be different. Their criteria may vary based on your profession and the designation you have applied.

They look for the skills and abilities that suit the particular field. They also look for experience in a similar field which may help the person to understand the tasks assigned at a fast pace.

Top Tips For Answering What Makes You Unique Interview Question:

Employers nowadays look for candidates who are not only good technically but also assess them well by their behavioural, situational and soft skills. To get synched into the work culture of the organization is very important, so the candidate’s personality and attitude would be judged in the interview process.

To do this, the hiring manager or employers make use of a few typical or tricky questions. “What makes you unique?” is one such interview question. With the help of this question, the employer will be able to assess the spontaneity and the creative side of the candidate.

On the other side, the candidate can also craft an answer using his skills and abilities according to the job role and impress the interviewer. The main aim of asking this question is to know what makes you the perfect candidate for the job role.

Some of the best tips to follow for answering this question are,

  • Prepare well before the interview
  • Research about the company and job in advance
  • Match your skills to the skills required for the job role
  • Self assess
  • Mention your abilities which can help the company
  • Brief your past work experience with examples
  • Provide your unique traits (no routine answers)

How NOT To Answer This Question:

As there are few tips to follow there are some don’ts which you need to be aware of while answering this “what makes you unique?” interview question.

Here are a few things which you definitely need to avoid. Let us start with,

  • Oversharing
  • Being negative
  • Do not get away from the point
  • Do not lie
  • Answering in a generic way

How do the Ideal Characteristics Vary Based on the Field?

The requirement from an individual greatly varies with the type of profession. This difference is reflected even in the interviews.

The questions for interviews in different fields may seem similar but the expected answer varies in each field.

The common job types include Management jobs, Finance and Accounts jobs, Human Resource and Development jobs and Marketing and Sales Jobs.

1. Management Job:

The individual who takes up a management job should possess various skills to perform the role effectively. Here are some of the common skills required:

2. Finance and Accounts Jobs:

deliver results The finance industry is completely different from management jobs. Here are some of the qualities considered essential in finance-related jobs:

  • Perfecting accounting and record-keeping skills
  • Ability to maintain secrecy in the profession
  • Discretion regarding critical information
  • Great understanding of clauses and financial laws

3. Human Resource and Development Jobs:

These are jobs where you need to possess many human skills. Here we have listed a few vital skills:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to interact with people and handle their problems
  • Good understanding of hierarchy in an organization

4. Marketing and Sales Jobs:

marketing jobs These jobs require direct interaction between the customer and the employee. Here are a few skills expected in the employees:

  • Ability to market a product or a service by highlighting positive traits
  • Good communication skills
  • Great target achieving skills
  • Time management skills
  • Good interaction with team members

You need to phrase a reply in a fashion that makes the recruiter feel that you are their perfect candidate.

Answers that Can Get You Trapped:

The worst nightmare of an interview could be getting trapped by your answer to some question posed to you.

Careful framing of words can prevent you from getting in trouble. Here are some common examples where people get trapped by their own answers.

Contradictory to the interest of the organization:

In the excitement to reveal your distinguishing trait, you may often say something that contradicts the interest or the need of the organization.

Imagine you apply for the position of the Technical writer and you reveal to the bosses that you write poems well.

The board may consider you a misfit as they are not looking for writers with flowery language, improved vocabulary and great creativity. They are seeking candidates who can present technical information in simple language to suit the technical audience.

Irrelevant in the context of the skill set or the position you are interviewing for:

Just imagine applying for the position of a web content writer and you state that you are an excellent singer, will it help you in any way?

Will it add to your profile? No, and so you must make sure you do not spell out such trait while answering an abstract question like this.

Answers that May Get You Through:

One day before the interview, revise the duties of the designation for which you are applying. Check out the special skills that help in this particular role or designation. It will help you understand what abilities would be appreciated.

Make sure to phrase an answer that reveals the abilities that you possess and which are vital to fulfil your new role satisfactorily. Reveal only skills which you actually possess.

Your uniqueness should align with their requirement. The understanding of the designation or role you are about to play should be evident in your answer. This gives the interviewers greater confidence in your capabilities.

“What makes you unique” Interview Answers Example.

For a position that requires a team leader:

“I find that it’s easy for me to relate to a wide variety of people. For that reason, I really thrive in a team environment. I enjoy discovering each of my teammate’s skills and strengths and helping use those to determine which tasks they would be best suited for. In my last job, I was in a group that was tasked with completing a complicated task. Our team leader was easily frustrated and would often take that frustration out on other members of the group. At one point, we were doing more arguing than working, and I realized it was because our team leader was more interested in the hands-on aspect of the project than the management aspect. I sat down with him, and in a non-threatening way, explained what I’d noticed. Together we went over each of the members of the team and determined what tasks they would excel at. The next day we reassigned everyone tasks, created an open discussion format for raising questions and concerns, and set up a timeline for completing the project. Not only did we get the project done on time, but the next time we were assigned a project, I was put in charge and I loved every minute of it. I know the position you’re hiring for requires teamwork and group projects and I would enjoy continuing to work in an environment like that.”

For a job that requires ongoing education:

“I love a challenge, and as a self-motivated learner, I really enjoy going above and beyond when it comes to tackling new tasks and learning new skills. In my past sales job, we had a client for whom English was not their first language. I enrolled in online language classes on my off time and learned enough to become conversationally fluent with them. Not only were they touched by my ability to communicate with them in their native tongue, but my new language skill opened up a whole new channel for my sales team and we were able to increase our inbound marketing by 24%. I know this job requires someone who is open to learning and I’m not only open, I’m excited to continue to do so.”

For a position where you lack the required skills:

“I bring to the table five years of customer service experience. My time in retail makes me a candidate with a unique set of skills that have been honed by face to face customer interactions. I am a thorough communicator, excellent listener, take direction well and excel in a team environment, all skills which I know will fit well with this current administrative position.”

Example Source: theinterviewguys