Every individual is unique in his/her own way and you are no different. There are numerous traits, habits and values that make a person, and you are no different. When you are asked such an open-ended question you are expected to describe what makes you the person you are and how you are different from other candidates. Take this as an opportunity to talk about the things that make you unique, the skills you have, your talents, and your work experience.
Why does interviewer wants you to be unique?
To Know Your Qualities
When an interviewer asks you the question, ‘What Makes You Unique?’ he/she wants you to describe yourself at your own terms. This gives them an idea of your self-esteem and your value in your own eyes. This is your chance to list the best of your skills, abilities, qualifications, and experiences into an answer. Show them the traits you possess and based on your qualities you must outshine the other candidates.
You Know the Job
The interviewer also try to find out your knowledge about the job you are seeking. If you have done adequate research about the job then you will be smartly able to connect your skills with the job description. An irrelevant answer will send a direct message to the interviewer that you are probably not fit for the job.
Understanding Your Creativity
The more uniquely you define your qualities more are the chances of your being selected. It is a portrayal of your creativity which can prove to be a valuable asset when you work on assignments with others or alone after being hired at the job.
The Best Ways to Answer
Before moving on to some sample answers here is a list of things you need to keep in mind while answering in an interview-
- Have clear thoughts.
- Maintain an eye-contact.
- Use adequate hand movement.
- Keep your answers professional avoid personal biases.
- Do not look nervous- avoid looking around, shaking legs etc.
- Carefully listen to the questions and do not interrupt the interview board.
- Know the needs of the organization and formulate your answers accordingly.
How to Prepare Yourself for this Question?
On a paper jot down all your skills and achievements in a list format and from there cherry pick the best skillsets and life achievements according to the job that you are seeking.
For instance, you are applying for the job of an assistance professor in a university. Firstly, begin by jotting down everything.
- Good Orator
- Good Listener
- Masters International Relations
- Highly Opinionated
- Deadline Oriented
- Quick Learner
- Working under pressure
- Academic Publications
Now from these skills choose the most apt ones that might increase your chances of being selected and then formulate your answer accordingly.
Here you can say-
I am an academic scholar with numerous publications under my belt. I published my first paper in my high school itself. I am quick learner and have good oratory skills. I am highly detail oriented and love to work with perfection. I love learning and believe in sharing and imparting knowledge.
As you can see that a lot of irrelevant skills were not talked about while answering and the qualification part of the interviewee was left to the CV. The most important skill of an academic expert, ‘the publications’ were talked before everything else. Other skills such as being highly opinionated were also left out as it can possibly send a negative impression.
Below are a few sample answers that you can take tips from while answering, “What Makes You Unique?”
Since I approach things professionally and with a calm and composed mind, I have the rare ability to provide excellent guidance. My friends and family often seek my advice, and I recently assisted a colleague in resolving an uncomfortable situation at work with an angry client. I have the potential to see it from a different viewpoint and solve challenges with logic and reason, and I believe I could be a real asset to your organization.
Like most people in this place and certainly most people you employ, I do not have a college diploma. Instead, I progressed from a customer service role to management. I have learned the ins and outs of each career along the way, which is why I am such a good boss. I am familiar with this industry in a way that only a handful others are.
When I was younger, I worked in politics. I was voted mayor of my hometown when I was 22 years old. This made me the state’s youngest mayor, but I knew that politics was not for me. I liked dealing with voters and the electoral process in general. At the time, it was the only education I might have offered myself. Now, I enjoy teaching others and sharing my story so that they can pursue their dreams as well.
Things to Avoid While Answering
Here are a few things you should avoid in your answer:
- Dishonesty- Whenever you are in an interview always speak the truth. It is natural that in order to look good, you might want to spice up your answers and exaggerate your skills. But this is the worst thing to do if not during the interview but later during the job your dishonesty can be caught which can have negative repercussions.
- Long Answers- Make sure that your answer is focused, concise, and to the point. Use those words that emphasize your skills and then follow them up with an example as it will add weightage to your answers and your answers will look real.
- Overconfidence- It is good to be confident, but overconfidence can bring about disastrous results.Never in an interview take other candidates lightly and try to appear superior before the interview board. Focus on your positive traits and explain how they could benefit the company and never demean others. Never appear in an interview thinking that you are too good to be rejected.
- Being generic- When answering the question what makes you unique, you do not want to come off as boring. Avoid making any generic or overly simplified statements and try to make your response as interesting as possible. Do not repeat yourself and always try to add weightage to you answers with wit and creativity.
- Oversharing- Never ever in an interview overshare yourself both personally and professionally with the board.Limit your answer to the skills that will be beneficial to the organization. Let your CV do most of the talking.
When answering, “What Makes You Unique” try to keep your answer concise and to the point. Try to be witty and confident. Keep your answers real and avoid over expressing yourself. An interviewer asks such question to know how you can prove to be an asset to their organisation and not to know your personal life story.