We often get asked how to answer the “What makes you unique?” interview question. It’s an important question that job seekers need to practice because interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you feel inadequate or unprepared. As much as it is normal to feel that way before an interview, you can make the situation better by preparing for possible interview questions beforehand.
You have numerous unique traits and today we’ll help you emphasize them appropriately in an interview.
One of the most common job interview questions a hiring manager may ask is, “What makes you unique?”. You may be the best candidate, and it might sound like an easy question to describe your unique skills, but most people will blank out when asked about themselves. It is not to say that you do not know yourself or a strong personality trait or two, but it can be challenging to find the right words.
Although it looks like a straightforward question, the interviewer expects more than just your broad positive qualities when answering, “What makes you unique?” They want to learn new things about you that set you apart and understand how good of a fit you are for the job. Strong communication skills and practice by job seekers are paramount to mastering a good answer to common interview questions in the way the interviewer expects.
Further, every interview is different, and the interviewer might not have the exact expectations as the previous one. Therefore, the best advice for anyone facing an interview is to use one’s best judgment, align the best answers or your unique qualities, and tailor them to the job description.
At MatchBuilt, we’ve explored other common interview questions, such as “Why do you want to work here?“, “Tell me about yourself“, “What are you passionate about?“, and “Why should we hire you?” and we invite you to review them as well.
- Discuss your behavioral competencies (transferable skills) in a way that makes you a perfect fit for the job.
- Become more confident in your self-presentation; easily calming nerves or fear.
- Tell them exactly what they want to hear — so you GET HIRED hired. That's the point, and that's what this is all about!
10 Tips on How to Answer What Makes You Unique in an Interview
In the tips below, we’ll share specific examples of how to share your unique attributes to show you’re a good fit and ideal candidate for the job you are interviewing for.
1. Review The Job Description
The first thing you should do before walking into an interview is to find out what the employer is looking for. Reviewing the job description and comparing it to your last job or previous experience will help you tailor your responses to your employer’s requirements.
What makes you unique sounds like a general question, but the employer expects you to answer it in a way that shows how valuable you can be to the company. The best way to know the duties you are expected to perform is to read the job description carefully and note how the critical requirements relate to your similar experience.
Most of the time, job descriptions will have the skills they are looking for in an exceptional candidate. Therefore, once the interviewer asks you what makes you unique, your interview answers should mirror the requirements using anecdotes from past roles. Keep in mind, that you should not simply list the skills or qualities precisely as they are in the description.
Be creative and find a way to sell the same skill without necessarily mentioning it as it is on the job description. Being creative is also a way of showing your employer that there is more to you than just the skills you are mentioning. How you answer the question will show the employer whether you know what the job requires or not.
2. Use Unique Examples and Prior Accomplishments
Concrete examples give depth and credibility to any point you make in an interview. They demonstrate how your skill set is helpful to the company or the people you are working with. Using prior accomplishments to answer the what makes you unique question also shows that your skills have been helpful in your past experiences.
When applying for a job, not in your line of experience, this question will help you show the interviewer how relevant the knowledge you have included on your
Every candidate has a unique background that qualifies them for the job but articulating that in an interview is what will give them a slight edge in getting the job. Do not shy away from mentioning any relevant accomplishments from a previous job.
An excellent example of a unique answer for a customer service job could be: “Through my extensive experience working in sales, I have developed a strong, convincing power that helps me interact better with clients.”
3. Demonstrate the Value of Your Uniqueness to the Company
Every interviewer expects that you research the company you are applying to. You should know what the company deals with and how they conduct their business to be able to impress the interviewer.
The interviewer is looking for someone who will add value to the company through the role they get. Therefore, when the interviewer asks you what makes you unique, it is not enough to state skill and leave it at that. Accompany that skill with how it can help achieve the company’s organizational goals or how it helps you relate better with other employees.
For example, if you realize that the company is strict about employee productivity during your research, you could tailor one of your qualities to that. The skill or quality could be self-discipline, driven, reliable, time conscious, keen on quality, etc.
However, you need to find a creative way to bring out the above skills to make your answer compelling. Show the interviewer how that skill you have helps the company become better, make more revenue, or fulfill its goals.
4. Avoid Generic Phrases
The person who gets the job is the one who stands out among the other candidates. They might not even have better qualifications than the rest, but they know how to present their achievements in an interview. It would be best to use every opportunity to impress the interviewer and that means avoiding generalizations and broad adjectives:
Examples of casual adjectives and phrases to avoid include “awesome,” “totally,” “cool,” “super fun” and “unbelievable.” While it might seem obvious that these words are too casual or hyperbolic to use in an interview, you might be surprised how quickly they can slip into your conversation out of habit.
Avoid using common and generic phrases that make the interviewer think you are reading from a script. Personalize every answer by using creative and compelling statements to stand out. Words like” I am a hard worker” are plain and ordinary. You will not grab the attention of any interviewer by saying you are a hard worker.
Try to use less common words and accompany them with relevant examples or explanations. Interviewers have been in many rooms with different people, and some of these phrases are so common that they hope to find someone who does not mention them when describing themselves.
Creativity is also an essential skill to an employer because it shows your ability to develop brilliant ideas that might help the company. Use your creativity to bring out the best traits, qualities, or skills you have.
5. Be Confident in Your Interview Response
Lack of confidence is not a good look on a candidate. Speaking with confidence makes you stand out as it shows you believe what you are saying. Most interviewers will attribute a lack of confidence to lies, and they think you cannot speak out firmly because the skills you mention are not accurate.
Real, inner confidence comes from internal self-esteem. It’s a place where you are really sure of yourself and happy with yourself to the point where you don’t have to artificially inflate yourself or try and put others down. This is a place where you’re comfortable to be around and people like being around you.
It is pretty unfortunate to have all the qualifications for the job and miss it because you could not speak firmly. Remember, you are the best person to talk about yourself with because no one knows you better than yourself. When the interviewer asks what makes you unique, treat that question as a chance to show everyone how gifted you are.
Speak with confidence and grace as you show the interviewer what makes you who you are and why you will be a great addition to the team. Nobody wants a shy person to work with, especially when the role involves interaction with people.
It does not matter whether these people are colleagues or clients, and you need to be able to express yourself to have an impact on the people around you. Sit upright when answering the question and make sure the interviewer can hear you clearly.
6. Keep it Short and Sweet
There is nothing as dull as a long and vague answer, and it should never be an answer to what makes you unique. If you give a boring answer to that question, the interviewer has already formed an unpleasant opinion about you.
Sometimes we get carried away by the question and give unending stories. Responses to interview questions should be brief and straight to the point. Try to answer the question with as few words as possible without leaving out essential details.
Preparing for the interview questions before the interview helps you have structured answers for the questions and keeps you on track. Now that you know what makes you unique is a common interview question, make a point of rehearsing the question before the interview.
Come up with up to four solid traits that will catch the interviewer’s attention and tie a few examples to each one of them. Try to pick instances that do not need too much detail to make sense. The shorter the story, the easier it will be for the interviewer to understand.
7. Mix Hard and Soft Skills
Employees typically want a well-rounded, experienced employee. They might need someone with the hard skills necessary for the job, but someone with soft skills is also a huge benefit. When answering what makes you unique, balance out hard and soft skills.
You could be an excellent software engineer, but your skills are less valuable if you cannot work well with others. That means you will not be able to work on team projects, which could be what the employer wants.
Talk about the hard skills that show you know what to do, but also include a few soft skills like communication and team player to win the employer’s heart. Remember that the hard skills might get you through the door, but the soft skills are what will keep you on the job.
8. Be Honest
Job interviews are about painting yourself as the best version of yourself. You might be tempted to include traits and qualities that you do not have because you think that is what the employer wants to hear, but that is a mistake.
There is nothing worse than being caught in a lie during an interview. The interviewer might disqualify you immediately, ruining your chance of getting a job with the company in the future. What makes you unique should be unique to you. That is why it is essential to write down your strengths and relate them to the job at hand.
Being truthful gives you more content and confidence to answer the question about what makes you unique. Please do not attempt to exaggerate or lie because it might backfire and make you look bad in front of a possible employer.
9. Focus on Positive Traits
What makes you unique should focus on your positive traits and strengths. The employer wants to know something unique about you to help you do the job better than the other candidates, and they don’t necessarily need to know any negative traits.
You can easily ruin your chances when you mention your bad habits in an interview. Even when the employer says they want to know your weakness, it should never be something that makes you look bad for the job. It does not matter how unique your negative traits are, and you should never mention them in an interview or add them to your response about what makes you unique.
10. Practice Your Answers Before An Interview
You should know your answer to essential questions related to your specific skills that make you unique before the interview. Practicing what to say helps calm your nerves and gives you a concrete and compelling answer.
Failure to practice could make you go blank once asked the question or start rambling. It is essential to be prepared with the answer and the examples to help you give a compelling answer. Write down the traits that make you unique and provide each attribute with a scenario that shows how that trait makes you better for the job.
How to Answer the Question What Makes You Unique Summary
Your unique trait is a valuable asset that helps you stand out in the crowd in an interview setting. You’ll find that different interviewers will be looking for various skills in a candidate when they ask them what makes them unique. Reviewing the job description is a crucial component that you should be familiar with before walking into the interview room.
Prepare for your interview by writing down your own answer to the common interview questions and reading them aloud until you are confident. Further, practicing your unique answers is important to any excellent communicator and will help you separate from the other job applicants.
Another important thing is, to be honest, and confident and use anecdotes from your previous work experience. Most interviewers will spot if you’re over-embellishing, and nothing you say after that will help your case. It can be hard to talk about yourself, but once you see it as a chance to get your dream job, you will give it your all. We hope the above pointers will guide you to answer what makes you a unique question in your next interview.
At MatchBuilt, we love helping you prepare for interviews but if you’re building a new resume, we invite you to check out our tips for emphasizing your training skills, how you are a fast learner, and what core competencies are important to include.