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What Is a Clever Way to Answer What You Bring to a Job in an Interview?

by Ruth Mayhew

Hiring managers are accustomed to hearing rehearsed answers to the question, "What do you bring to this organization that someone else can't?" They want well-thought-out answers, even clever ones, that show you've given serious thought to exactly what you bring to the table. Be prepared for this question, or a variety thereof, by researching the company, studying the job description and contemplating what you would do during your first 30, 60 or 90 days on the job.

Job Knowledge and Qualifications

The hiring manager can read and, therefore, understand what qualifications you have, so you needn't recite what's already on your resume. She's probably read it a couple of times already and now she wants to hear from you, directly, what you think you have to offer. You could say some variation of, "Aside from all of the required qualifications on this job posting, I also possess many of the preferred qualifications, which set me apart from my counterparts. I've worked in this industry or field and I'm familiar with best practices and current developments. I also have the drive that your organization appreciates in its employees, judging from the type of assignments and work you described is typical."

In the News

If you're going after a high-profile position or you were tapped based on your reputation for successful business turnarounds, explain what you would accomplish during your first 30 to 90 days on the job. Especially if the company's survival depends on your abilities to focus in on and resolve problems, state the issues the company is facing and a few of the steps you would take to achieve success. For example, you might say, "My track record pretty much speaks for itself, but I know your organization is losing its market share in the hospitality and tourism business. The first order of business would involve gathering current and historical data to understand when the shifts or decline occurred. From there, I would move on to strategic development with the marketing department to brainstorm about effective techniques for increasing our market share."

Make It Personal

Whenever you talk about what you have to offer the company, frame your statements as if you're already in the job. Use phrases such as, "In my role as business development manager, I'm accountable for ... " or "As the sales department lead, my priority is ... " Envision yourself in the role and talk about your responsibilities in the present tense instead of alluding to a lack of self-confidence by saying, "If I'm lucky enough to get this job." Luck doesn't have anything to do with being hired; it's your qualifications, past performance and workplace fit that determine whether you're a suitable candidate.

Explain Your Values

Workplace fit and blending into the organization's culture are almost as important as your expertise. Despite personality differences that exist in every workplace, there is likely going to be a core group of employees, colleagues and peers with whom you work on a daily basis, and hiring managers want employees they can feel comfortable working with. It's not that they're looking for a twin, but someone who complements the team or the department is likely to be more successful than a candidate whose values and personality don't mesh with the rest of the group. Show you understand this when the hiring manager asks what you have to offer by beginning with a little humor. You might say, for example, "Well, I bring myself to the team. From our interviews, I've learned a great deal about this company and I believe our values and business principles are closely aligned. That's important for both the organization and the employee to be successful. I like what I see and I also believe that I'd enjoy working with you."

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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