Several factors influence whether a candidate will be successful in a job: their work history, their personality, their formal education, and more. But the most important aspect is that most hiring managers seek skills. You either have them, or you don’t, and it’s an interviewer’s job to make that determination. They will do that by asking, “What skills or qualities can you bring to this position?”
Unfortunately, you can’t just say, “I have the right qualities,” and expect them to take you at your word. We’ll explain how to convince an interviewer you possess the skills necessary to succeed in the job you want.
Why do interviewers ask what skills you can bring to the position?
Interviewers ask what skills you bring to the position because they aim to understand whether you have the necessary qualifications and abilities to perform the job duties effectively. By asking about your skills, they’re not only making sure you check all the boxes to meet the minimum requirements. They’re also trying to determine whether you have any additional skills or experiences that could be valuable to the company.
Interviewers also ask about skills to understand how you can add value to the team and the organization. Your skills can help the interviewer assess how you will contribute to the company’s objectives and how you can help the company succeed. This might include things like meeting performance goals, increasing sales, producing satisfied customers, and so on.
What interviewers are looking for
When asking about the skills and qualities that make you a good fit for the job, an interviewer looks for more than just a list of your qualifications. They’re also trying to gauge your confidence in your abilities and your level of self-awareness. By asking about your skills, the interviewer can see how you perceive yourself and how well you can articulate your strengths and weaknesses.
Asking about your skills is a basic question you should be able to answer easily, so your response will show them how prepared you are for both the interview and the job itself. Overall, the interviewer is trying to understand better who you are as a candidate and whether you’re the right fit for the job and the company.
How to answer the interview question ‘What skills or qualities can you bring to this position?’
Highlight top requirements
Start by mentioning the skills that are most important to the employer. You’ll know what these are because they’re listed directly in the job posting and usually in the order of importance. Ensure you’re hitting on at least the top two to three skills.
Give specific examples
Don’t merely say, “I’m a strong communicator.” Instead, back up your claim with a specific example of how you communicated successfully. You might share the story of how you convinced your manager to switch to a more efficient software that saved the department money or the time you mediated a dispute between two of your coworkers.
Use experiences that are relevant to the job as much as possible, showing that you understand the job duties but helps the hiring manager envision you in the role.
Your answer should convey your excitement about the position and your passion for your work. This is done through your words themselves, but also your tone of voice and body language.
How not to answer
Don’t ever exaggerate or flat-out make up skills in an interview. This will quickly backfire if you’re given a skills assessment or worse, if you’re hired, and it becomes clear you don’t know what you’re doing! Instead, be honest about your skill level and be willing to discuss areas where you may need improvement.
Sample answers to ‘What skills or qualities can you bring to this position?’
“I understand that helping increase the company’s public profile is a core job requirement. I have strong public relations skills that will help me make valuable connections with community members. For example, in my current position, I established a lunch-and-learn partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, where experts from our company host free training sessions for area business leaders. This positions us as experts and gets our name out among the most prominent decision-makers in the business community.”
“I’m good at helping customers find what they’re looking for, even when they don’t necessarily know what that is. I’m passionate about it, too. The other day, a man came into the store where I work looking for a birthday gift for his teenage daughter, but he was clueless about what to get. This is my favorite kind of customer! We always get teenagers in the store, so I know exactly what they’re into. I asked him a few questions to learn more about his daughter, and then showed him two or three things I knew she would love based on her age and interests. He was so relieved to have found the right gift, and I was glad to be able to help him.”
When answering a question about your relevant skills and qualities in a job interview, be clear, specific, and enthusiastic about your abilities. Doing so will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are the right fit for the job and the company.