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What Makes You Unique?

In a highly competitive job market, differentiating yourself from other applicants is vital. Often, interviewers present the question, “What makes you unique?” to gain deeper insights into your character, skills, and how you’d be a distinct asset to their team. It’s essential to prepare for this question, not only to impress them but to convey what sets you apart genuinely.

Why do interviewers ask about your uniqueness?

Interviewers ask about your uniqueness to uncover the individual qualities you bring, which can contribute to team diversity and enhance workplace culture. They’re eager to understand how your combination of skills might stand out from other candidates and how these distinct traits can benefit the role at hand.

Besides assessing your motivation and authenticity, this question aims to discern your true passion and reasons for applying. When they ask about your uniqueness, they gain a holistic view of your professional abilities and personal attributes. Recognizing what makes you unique also signifies that you have done your homework and analyzed your strengths and differentiators.

What are interviewers looking for when asked about what makes you unique?

  • Genuine responses: Interviewers can tell when candidates give rehearsed or generic answers. They’re looking for sincere responses that provide a glimpse of who you truly are.
  • Relevance to the position: While having unique hobbies is great, interviewers primarily want to know how your distinctive qualities and experiences will benefit the company or specific role.
  • Consistency: Your answer should align with what you’ve presented on your resume and throughout the interview. Discrepancies can be a red flag.

How to answer the interview question ‘What makes you unique?’

When formulating your answer, consider the following:

Reflect on your experiences

Dive into your personal, educational, and professional experiences. You may have lived in multiple countries, granting you a multifaceted perspective. Or you’ve tackled projects similar to the challenges the prospective company is facing. Recall instances where you’ve overcome adversity or taken unconventional routes to achieve your goals. These moments, no matter how small, can demonstrate resilience, adaptability, and creativity. Use these experiences to shape your answer.

Align with the job description

Research the company and role. Identify the skills and qualities they value. If the position requires creativity and you’ve always approached problems in novel ways, highlight that. If they need a team player and you’ve thrived in collaborative settings, share those experiences. Familiarizing yourself with the company’s mission and values can also guide you in emphasizing attributes that resonate with their organizational culture. Your alignment with the job description demonstrates your suitability for the role and your commitment to understanding the company’s needs.

Be concise but comprehensive

While giving a complete answer is essential, avoid veering off into unrelated tangents. Stick to two or three key points that best represent your uniqueness. Construct your response in a structured and easy way for the interviewer to follow, demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively. Remember, it’s not about being the most unique person in the world; it’s about being the right unique fit for the job. Crafting a well-thought-out answer also shows that you can present ideas clearly and coherently, a valuable skill in any professional setting.

How not to answer questions about your uniqueness

Answering “What makes you unique?” in a way that impresses interviewers requires knowing what to say as well as what not to say. Falling into clichés, being overly generic, or presenting unrelated personal attributes can detract from the effectiveness of your response. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:

  • Avoid generic phrases: “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m a fast learner” are statements that many candidates use. Without context or specific examples, these phrases lack substance and don’t effectively communicate your uniqueness.
  • Don’t be arrogant: While showcasing your strengths is essential, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Avoid making it seem like you’re the only person with a particular quality or skill.
  • Stay relevant: Sharing that you can juggle or play a rare musical instrument is interesting, but it might come off as unrelated to the job. Stick to qualities and experiences that align with the role.
  • Avoid negative comparisons: It’s unnecessary and can be seen as unprofessional to put down other candidates or colleagues to highlight your uniqueness. Focus on your strengths without resorting to unfavorable comparisons.
  • Don’t be overly modest: While humility is a virtue, being too humble can make you undervalue your capabilities. It’s okay to be proud of what sets you apart.

Sample answers to ‘What makes you unique?’

Example #1

“In my previous role as a digital marketer, I combined my background in graphic design with my passion for data analytics. This allowed me to create visually compelling campaigns that were also data-driven, ensuring both aesthetic appeal and ROI. My interdisciplinary approach often brought fresh perspectives to the team, bridging the gap between design and analytics. This blend of creative and analytical skills sets me apart and would be a unique asset to your team, especially as you look to innovate in your marketing strategies.”

Example #2

“Throughout my professional journey, I’ve always strongly emphasized continuous learning and collaboration. In my last position as a project manager, I initiated monthly cross-departmental brainstorming sessions. These meetings solved complex challenges and fostered a culture of knowledge sharing and inter-departmental cooperation. I pride myself on bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, creating a synergistic environment where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This commitment to fostering collaboration and my proactive approach to problem-solving make me a unique addition to your team.”

This is an opportunity to showcase how your qualities and experiences make you the best fit for the role. With preparation and genuine reflection, you can provide an answer that impresses the interviewer and rings true to who you are.

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