One of the most common interview questions is, “What makes you unique?” Employers love to ask this one, primarily to see what skills and qualities you decide to prioritize.
The purpose of this question is also to give you an opportunity to describe a trait or skill that makes you stand out from other candidates. Your main goal is to convince the employers that you deserve the job more than the others.
This can get tricky, as it’s important to shed a great light on yourself while making sure to remain humble and not oversell yourself. To help you find that sweet spot, we created this guide on the “What makes you unique?” interview question with tips and sample answers.
- When answering this question, try to think of a skill that can make you stand out from other candidates.
- Always keep the job description in mind and try to tailor your answer to it.
- Don’t inflate your skill set, as employers will find out about it and you will be automatically dismissed.
Why Employers Ask “What Makes You Unique” Question?
Employers will ask what makes you unique to find out what you think is the best and most valuable thing you can offer the company. Additionally, the interviewers want to get to know you a bit better and see if you have some soft skills or other valuable ones that weren’t listed on your resume.
Being asked this question is a great opportunity to showcase why you’re different from any other candidate and what sets you apart.
As mentioned earlier, a major reason employers ask this question is because they want to know what qualities you prioritize in yourself. They want to hear what strengths you’ve decided to go with and why you chose those specific skills for your answer.
How to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” Interview Question
The interview question, “What makes you unique?” is often asked to get a sense of your personality, skills, and experiences.
Here are some tips on how to answer this question:
Understand the Job Requirements
The main thing that you should focus on while answering this question is doing research on the company so you can understand their priorities and the job requirements better. Essentially, to answer what makes you unique, ask yourself: “What makes me qualified for this job?“ and “What can I offer that others might not?“
First, make sure you analyze the job description. Look for the company’s mission and check what qualities they usually look for in new hires. Try to find common skills and experiences that you have.
Next, while answering, pick and choose your unique traits, skills, and greatest strengths so that they match the job requirements.
Always remember that the main thing your answer should include is something that the company needs. These specifications are usually posted on the company’s website. If you can’t seem to find all the necessary information, try to look up the managers and recruiters online and check whether they’ve shared a more detailed job description on their LinkedIn profile.
Pick The Skills
The next step is figuring out the right combination of soft skills and hard skills that you need to emphasize. Make a list of all of your relevant skills and cross-reference that list with a job description.
Always stay truthful, as exaggerating your skillset will surely be discovered at one point or another, and whenever it happens, it won’t be a good look.
Last but not least, always make sure to practice your answer before your interview, as practice truly does make perfect.
To prepare, you can:
- Write down professional traits and job skills that you want to mention during your answer
- Come up with a few what-makes-you-unique examples
- Practice saying these out loud
Another thing that can help you out is to ask your family members, friends, or roommates to hold a mock interview with you. This way, you can get feedback on how you sound and behave while answering and whether you need to change anything.
“What Makes You Unique?” Answer Samples
Let’s explore some “What makes you unique?” sample answers that you can use as a guide for your own answers:
#1. Answer Sample
Example answer: I think that something that makes me unique is my patience and my leadership skills. I have this natural ability to lead and direct people while also creating a safe and fun work environment. I find it easy to help my teammates stay motivated until the end of the project without rushing them. I’m someone that my team can always rely on, and I’m always open to hearing their concerns and opinions as well.
Why this answer works: Showcasing your leadership skills is something that many recruiters are looking for. Try to show that you’re ready to help people out when it’s necessary as well.
#2. Answer Sample
Example answer: While looking through your job description, I noticed that I possess most of the skills that you have listed as a requirement. Besides that, I looked up your company and its culture to see whether my personality and values fit well with yours. Ultimately, this research has led me to apply for this specific position because I feel that I can be a valuable member of the team.
Why this answer works: It’s always a good idea to mention that you’ve done research on the company beforehand. These types of answers showcase your confidence level as well, but it’s important to remain humble, as nobody wants an arrogant employee.
#3. Answer Sample
Example answer: My number one priority is to finish the projects I take on efficiently and on time. I am also ready to take on additional projects, as I am open to exploring other areas that I might be able to work in. I am, therefore, quite flexible when it comes to task types, and I have no trouble helping others with their workloads as well.
Why this answer works: It expresses that you are flexible and willing to help others when they are in need. Combining this with the fact that you don’t mind getting an additional workload should definitely help your chances of getting the job.
#4. Answer Sample
Example answer: I’m a quick learner, and I’m not afraid to take on new challenges. For example, in my previous job, I was asked to take on a project outside of my normal responsibilities, and I was able to learn the necessary skills quickly and complete the project successfully.
Why this answer works: This answer highlights a valuable trait: the ability to adapt to new situations and take on new challenges. It also provides a specific example to illustrate this trait, which makes the answer more credible and memorable.
#5. Answer Sample
Example answer: One trait that I believe makes me unique are my organizational skills. I am a big fan of creating templates that help me keep track of my work in an efficient manner. I try to take some time out of my working day to create sheets and templates before starting anything else. This has raised my project success rates by 23%.
Why this answer works: Employers will like your answer way better if you show them a detailed example of your organizational skills. It’s best to avoid vague answers.
#6. Answer Sample
Example answer: I have a unique perspective because of my international background. I was born and raised in France, and I have also lived in Spain and China. I believe that this has given me a global mindset and the ability to communicate effectively with people from different cultures.
Why this answer works: This answer emphasizes specific experiences that have influenced the candidate’s perspective and skills. It also highlights a desirable trait—the ability to work effectively in a diverse environment.
#7. Answer Sample
Example answer: My prior experience has allowed me to acquire a new creative skillset, as I was tasked with coming up with new ideas for our clients’ projects. I pitched an idea that ended up boosting the client’s website traffic by 60%. I find pleasure in discovering new creative opportunities that can help me grow as a person and also help the company.
Why this answer works: It’s always a good idea to mention that you are innovative, since companies will always look for ways and methods to improve themselves. These types of answers showcase that what makes you unique is that you are a creative person who can also refresh their company.
#8. Answer Sample
Example answer: I am someone who is constantly looking to learn new things and find ways to improve myself. I am also a very organized and detail-oriented person, as I like to keep track of every new thing I learn as well as my progress throughout the learning process, and this is exactly what I believe makes me unique.
Why this answer works: Whether you’re fresh out of college or have already worked as a manager, it’s always a good idea to mention that you’re willing to learn, regardless of your experience level.
#9. Answer Sample
Example answer: As an extrovert, I love meeting new people and find it fairly easy to get along with multiple personalities. I’ve previously worked as a customer service agent, and my coworkers have dubbed me the one who’s always positive and calm when helping out. This has helped me hone my communication skills as well, which I’ve noticed you’ve emphasized in the job description.
Why this answer works: This answer shows that you have done prior research on the company, which many employers appreciate. It also shows that your experience working as a customer service agent has helped you develop communication skills that they might also be looking for.
#10. Answer Sample
Example answer: I’m someone who truly believes that failure facilitates growth, and I’m definitely not afraid of it. During my last job working in the company’s IT sector, I was given a target to increase our client’s app downloads by 20%.
After I realized that my idea actually ended up slightly decreasing the number of app users, I decided to ask my team for help, and together we figured out what aspect of the idea didn’t work out. We came up with a more fitting option together and ended up raising the total number of app users by more than 35%.
Why this answer works: This is a great answer that showcases the readiness to improve and handle difficult situations quickly. It mentions the previous experiences as well as the proper skills, such as app development and team leading.
“What Makes You Unique?” Question Dos & Don’ts
You need to know the things you should and shouldn’t say when answering the “What makes you unique?” interview question.
Let’s look at some dos and don’ts together:
Some good tips you can follow are:
- Take your time to answer. You don’t have to rush your answers at any point during your interview. It’s completely okay for you to tell the recruiters that you need some time to collect your thoughts and think of an answer. This can help you come up with a way better answer than just saying whatever comes to mind first.
- Stay positive. Always stay humble and positive while you answer. The worst thing you can do while answering this question is to start talking badly about your previous employer. You’ll definitely stand out this way, but not for the right reasons. Instead, try to talk about your positive skills and traits and what you can offer the company.
- Be honest. Although it’s hard to come up with skills that can make you stand out, it’s never a good idea to lie. Always stay truthful in your answers since background checks are way more common than you think. Besides that, talking about a skill you don’t really have can get tricky and will not sound natural. The interviewer will definitely notice that.
- List relevant skills. As previously mentioned, it’s always a good idea to research the company and the job requirements beforehand. Try to tailor your skills to the job description, and consider mentioning how your unique traits can benefit the company.
Try to avoid the following:
- Don’t use generic and vague answers. Always aim for clear and concise answers so that the interviewers can understand you easily. Giving out a vague answer such as: “I’m wonderful at teamwork” leaves no room for interpretation. It also doesn’t give the interviewer enough information about you and your uniqueness.
- Don’t ramble. Try to keep your answer short and sweet. Once you start rambling, the focus will completely shift to wondering when you’re going to finish, and your answer won’t be heard. Try to think of an example that shows your unique traits briefly instead.
- Keep your quirks to yourself. Although it’s true that your personal quirks make you unique, it’s best to not mention those that are not related to the job. Don’t mention that you are a great swimmer if it’s not listed in the job requirements. Although it’s something unique, it can’t benefit the company.
When answering the “What makes you unique?” question, you should always aim for the traits and skills that make you stand out from the average applicant and that would also benefit the company.
Make sure you stay honest while you answer, though! We don’t want you to blow the job opportunity by inflating your skillset.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand this interview question better, and our tips and examples will help you prepare for your next interview.