Recruitment managers interview many candidates for each position, so they want to hear what sets you apart from the other candidates.
And if you do not have an impressive and safe answer, it can cost you an opportunity.
Next, we’ll look at how to answer this question to impress a recruiting manager, including answers to a sample interview verbatim.
Why do employers ask “what sets you apart?”
“What sets you apart?” She did not ask a tricky interview, and there is no single “correct” answer.
However, employers like to ask job seekers this question to hear your point of view about what you bring to the company.
First, there may be something the recruiting manager does not know about you, so he wants to learn a little more about you than what is listed in your resume.
Maybe you have a unique ability, some soft skills that other candidates do not have, etc.
Even if not, this question is an opportunity to show that you understand the job description and the hopes / needs of the employer while recruiting for this position, and then demonstrate why you are qualified.
I will share full sample answers soon, so do not worry if it sounds difficult (it does not).
How to answer “What sets you apart?” In an interview
To keep your answer clear and concise, I recommend answering this interview question with A single skill or trait That makes you unique.
You can specify unique technical skills / hard skills, soft skills, key personality traits, experiences, personal qualities, or any other factor that makes you an exceptional candidate … and different from other job seekers
You can also state a reason why you are passionate about this industry / job, if that is true.
Any unique trait or skill you read in the job interview, Choose something that is right, so that you can talk about it powerfully and confidently.
(Here’s a full article on how to answer interview questions with confidence.)
Do not say you bring exceptional communication skills if you are an average communicator. The recruiting manager will see it right.
Your answer will be much more impressive if you take the time to prepare ahead of time and choose a real reason why you feel unique about the job.
This means you need:
- Learn the job description.
- Think about experiences / achievements / skills from your past and what aspect of it might make you the best candidate.
Next, let’s look at some sample responses that will help you formulate your answer.
Sample answers to “What sets you apart?”
Example Answer 1:
One trait that I feel sets me apart is my ability to get along with all types of people and personalities. I worked in retail customer service, until managing large corporate client accounts in my last job. I can treat a building practice as easily as I can connect and refer to a corporation lawyer or doctor. I saw that your job description for this position emphasizes communication skills, and I read about the variety of clients that your business serves. So, this is one of the reasons I feel like I’m a strong candidate for the job, and maybe I have some unique skills and background that other candidates do not bring.
Example Answer 2:
One of my unique skills is that I am a former software developer. I switched to product design because I’m more passionate about this field, but I’m still able to write code and scripts to automate tasks, and I still approach challenges and obstacles through the mindset of an engineer, meaning I perform tests and make data-based decisions. This data-driven approach sets me apart from many other designers and makes me a unique candidate for your senior position in chief design.
Example Answer 3:
One of the skills that sets me apart is my ability to speak in public. I enjoy delivering presentations, I have spoken to hundreds of people in my college. I, too, was part of my college’s debate team.
I also led weekly internship sessions during my two internships before I graduated, and I really enjoy speaking in front of an audience. So when I’m looking to find my first full-time permanent job after graduation, I look forward to finding ways to use that skill in my career. I saw that your job description for this job is reminiscent of presenting sales presentations to clients, so this is one area where I feel I would have excelled right away.
Example Answer 4:
I have an extraordinary combination of soft skills that I feel sets me apart. I am constantly looking to get better, learn from my mistakes and challenge myself. And I am exceptionally organized in terms of tracking my results, progress and all trends in my work and productivity. So through this, I can find learning opportunities and potential lessons, identify potential problems before they become bigger problems, and continually improve.
I use challenges as a learning experience and try to turn the occasional little mistake into a huge positive, instead of dwelling on it as a negative. In previous jobs, my principals have often complimented my ability to learn quickly, perform well without the need for constant supervision, and stay calm even when something has not gone my way. So this is the unique set of skills I bring to the role.
Example Answer 5:
I think my unique skill is project leadership. I have a natural ability to lead many tasks and projects, whether as a direct team leader or as a project coordinator. I think it stems from my combination of strong organizational skills and interpersonal skills. I have always enjoyed leadership and working in a team environment and hope to continue to find companies that value collaboration.
I reviewed the job listing and it seems to me that your company appreciates recruiting people with collaborative thinking, and people who can grow in the organization and take on more leadership over time, so this job looks like great potential.
Note: Even if an employer does not ask directly, “Why are you applying for this job?” It’s a nice touch to end an interview interview with an explanation of why you felt their job was appropriate.
This action indicates research, consideration and preparation. You can see this in the example answer above, which ends with a statement, “… so this role looks like a great potential match.”
Now that we have examined some sample answers, I want to share one critical step that you should always take when answering this interview question …
Link your answer to the job description of the employer
During the interview process, your goal should be to show the recruiting manager that you are ready to enter this new position and succeed.
Many job seekers do not understand this, or do not do it enough.
So when you describe what sets you apart, you really have to think, “What makes me uniquely qualified for this position, compared to other candidates?”
Then briefly explain your unique qualities that will be positive for the status of this company.
Demonstrating relevance to the employer’s work is more important than general skills / achievements.
So when you answer a job interview question like, “What’s something special about you?” Always try Choose a skill or personality trait that can address the needs of the company.
Even if you are changing careers or looking for a beginning-level job, look for transferable skills that you can point to.
Then, to give an even more unique answer, end your response by explaining how this trait / skill will help you perform one or more of the tasks that the job description highlights.
You will notice this in some of the sample answers above.
For example, the first sample answer of a job interview above ends with a sentence:
I saw that your job description for this position emphasizes communication skills, and I read about the variety of clients that your business serves. So, that’s one of the reasons I felt I was a strong candidate for the job …
This interview question is not just about you; It’s about how you can help the employer and the recruiting manager.
You will outdo most other job seekers in the interview if you explain to the recruiting manager why your skills are appropriate for their job description, in particular.
This is one of the best job search tips I can give you overall, and it goes far beyond answering this one interview question.
For all my best interview tips, read this article.
Avoid vague and non-specific answers
When answering this interview question, it is best to give detailed and specific examples of what sets you apart.
Notice how in the sample answers above, narrow and precise skills were called.
For example, talking to large groups of people. Or taking an engineering approach to product design.
Go back and look at the sample answers above if you’ve skipped them before.
The bottom line is:
In general, when answering, “What sets you apart?” You want to Avoid general claims like “I work hard” And instead be more specific.
Why does it matter?
First, any job seeker claims to be working hard. They make a lot of such general claims.
Recruitment managers got tired of hearing this and it became meaningless.
Watch, A non-specific general answer does not paint a clear picture in the mind of the recruiting manager of how you will help him If you are hired.
Give more specific examples to show why you are truly the best candidate.
Instead of saying, “I work hard” (which is not unique at all) you can say:
One thing that sets me apart is my organizational skills. I’m excited about everything to do with organization. I like to create systems, templates and other tools to save time and make me more effective at work. In my last job I used this to save two hours a day by creating a new scheduling and tracking system for customer interaction.
This answer exemplifies much more to a recruiting manager than a general claim like, “I’m very organized.” Employers will believe your claims and understand your claims more if they hear concrete examples, so try to give an answer like the example above.
In fact, the concept above is some of the best interview tips and career tips I can give you in general, even beyond this one interview question.
Share more details and be more specific about your resume, your interview answers, your cover letter (if you send one), and make more recruiters see you as an ideal candidate.
Take your time when you answer
There is no need to answer too fast or rush in your response when asked what sets you apart.
This is a complicated question and it is perfectly acceptable to say, “This is a great question. Let me think for a second. I want to give you a good response here.”
This action gives you time to consider the company values, the attitude / personality of the recruiting manager, any issue or job requirements that you have already discussed in this job interview, etc.
So take your time to formulate your answer to this question. It’s not a race to answer, and you can not take anything back after you have said it!
Conclusion: Answer to “What sets you apart?” Interview question
If you read the tips above, you now know how to answer, “What sets you apart?”
You can share key skills, personality traits, or any other unique professional or personality traits that show how you would be willing to perform well in the role of that employer.
The important thing is to be specific and share concrete examples.
If you show the employer that you understand his needs (from the job description) and show exactly how you can help him, then you are giving a good answer.
Related questions and sample answers: