How to Answer: “What Makes You Unique?”

how to answer what makes you unique

If you’re looking for a tips on how to answer what makes you unique ? Then this article will help you find the best ways to answer it perfectly.

An interview is a brief opportunity where you get to introduce yourself to an employer. The very fact that you’re at an interview signifies that the organization found something of their interest on your Resume. 

At the interview, they wish to find out whether you’re suitable for the role. And they do so by asking you several questions at an interview– regardless whether it’s phone interview, one-on-one personal or an online interview.

An interview presents you with an opportunity to impress an employer and bag the job. Therefore, you have to make the best of this short time to allow an interviewer to assess your skills while determining you’re fit for the role they wish to fill.

To determine this, interviewers may sometimes ask you this question: “What makes you unique?” 

Reasons for Asking “What Makes You Unique?”

Now we’re all born unique, for sure. Regardless whether you believe in spiritual sense of creation or nature, one fact is undeniable: that each one of us is unique in our own way. We’re unique in the way we behave and in our work styles too.

Therefore, interviewers want to know what makes you special or unique that would render you eligible for the role you’re applying. They wish to know your unique capabilities that would distinguish you from other candidates for the same position and role.

Another thing that interviewers try to assess from your response to the question: “tell us what makes you unique?” is your self-awareness. All of us have different traits and qualities that may or might not be desirable for the job. And this is exactly what employers try to find out from your answer. 

Thirdly, interviewers also ask this question to find whether you would blend into the organization’s corporate culture easily. That’s because they don’t want any wrong hires or loose cannons in the company.

Given the significance of your response to assess your suitability for the role you’re applying, you need to prepare to answer the question: “What makes you unique?”

In the following paras, I will describe in detail, how to answer the question what makes you unique.

Preparing to Answer: “What Makes You Unique?”

tell us what makes you unique

There’re several ways to prepare to answer the question about your uniqueness. 

Before I begin, here’s a quote by globally renowned motivational speaker and author, Dr. Stephen R. Covey: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” 

I mention this quote because you have to understand what is the question about your uniqueness actually means. Understanding the question itself is important before you proceed to respond about what makes you stand out from other candidates.

Here I will again emphasize that an employer or interviewer asks this question to find out how you’re different from other candidates for the same position and desirable traits that would render you suitable for hire. 

Now that you know why interviewers ask this question, here’re some time-tested and proven ways to prepare yourself to respond. 

Take Your Skills Inventory

Find out what’re the skills you have that would make you unique and stand apart from other candidates for the same role. Generally, most jobseekers fail to take a skills inventory and hence, flounder and fail at interviews, especially when asked this question about uniqueness.

It’s simple to take your skills inventory. Check the responsibilities that the role you’re applying for would involve. And find whether you have any of these skills. Make a list of such skills to identify areas of your strengths and weaknesses. 

Knowing your skills and their levels is very important while answering the question: “What makes you unique?”

Research into the Position

It’s very important to research into the position you’re applying. Generally, every employer will outline in detail what’s the role you’ll be expected to play at the organization, alongside the skills that’re necessary.

Therefore, match your skills set with those in the job post to find how you could best fit into the organization.

It’s easier to find your uniqueness for the role when you do such research. Understandably, there’ll be areas where you’ve some strong points while you might lag at some.

Try and find ways and means to patch up your grey areas, if any. That way, you would be more suitable for the role which you’re applying.

Request Feedback from Others

One of the best ways is asking feedback from others to help understand our own uniqueness. While we might often be blind to some of our unique points, others are aware and could assist in our endeavor.

You could use the Johari Window technique or ask people directly. Usually, the best persons to ask about your uniqueness would be your colleagues and if possible, seniors.

You could also request feedback from others such as your friends, relatives, neighbors and former colleagues and bosses, where possible. Understanding how others perceive you as a unique person is also one of the factors that would go into the answering the question: “What makes you unique?”

Evaluate Own Background

And finally, evaluate your own background. By this, I mean your work background. This includes all the position you’ve worked at in the past, your current role and what you’re bringing to the table of the organization.

This would give you a fair idea about areas where you’re unique as far as work is concerned. 

Your past accomplishments and present ones at the current job can help you evaluate own background.

Also find out what personality traits were helpful for these achievements. These would definitely be the points that make you unique and stand out from other job applicants for the same position.

Points to Avoid While Responding to “What Makes You Unique?”

what makes you unique interview question

While responding to the question about your uniqueness, it’s best to make a superb overall impression during an interview. Hence, there’re certain points that you should avoid while answering this question.

Contradicting Yourself

Contradicting yourself means saying one thing and later, making an exactly opposite statement. When you’re speaking about your uniqueness, the interviewer might pose some questions. And at that time, never contradict your own uniqueness. Instead, stick to the point where you’re unique.

Being Dishonest

Very often, you might feel the temptation to lie about your unique qualities merely to impress an interviewer. Avoid such dishonesty at all costs. When you’re honest, you don’t need to remember anything. And sometimes, your dishonesty at an interview can be discovered at a later date.

Long Winding Response

Never provide a long winding, rambling response to this question about your uniqueness. That tends to leave a poor impression with interviewers. Instead, be concise about what you wish to say. Respond in the fewest possible words, so that the interviewer gets a clear idea about the response and doesn’t get bored.

Always Be Positive

One of the common mistakes that countless jobseekers make is speaking negative about anything- from working conditions at former or current employer to talking ill about other jobseekers.

Avoid this at all costs. You’re there at an interview to speak for yourself and hence, have no rights to speak ill about others.

Be Clear and Specific

Always be clear and specific with your answer to this question. Clarity combined with specifics indicate clear thinking.

And this is one quality that interviewers look for. Some candidates unfortunately provide very generic or vague answers to the question about their own uniqueness. Therefore, never give a vague response.

Avoid Oversharing

Oversharing is the habit of giving out more information that necessary at an interview. This tends to divert the interview and the question from its point.

And you might also attract some more difficult questions for letting out more info inadvertently. Therefore, never overshare or give out more information than needed.

8 Ways to Answer: “What Makes You Unique?”

what makes me unique

Now let’s look at the various ways or what makes me unique examples to respond to the question: “What makes you unique?” Actually, there’re several ways. Therefore, here I’ll discuss the best ones. You’re free to adapt these answers to suit your specific needs at a job interview.

1. Effective Communicator

If you’ve excellent verbal and written communications skills, mention them while responding to the question of your unique qualities. That’s because almost every job requires good communicators, regardless of the role. Generally, persons with good communications skills are outgoing or even extroverts.

The fact that you possess superb communications skills should reflect on the way you handle the interview. You can’t afford to fumble or go on rambling to provide answers and yet claim that you’re an effective communicator.

One of the best ways to prove that you’re a good communicator is by creating a blog and uploading amazing content, especially about your industry or sector. The blog serves as a self-branding resource and can indeed testify to the fact that you’re an effective communicator.

2. Out-of-the-Box Thinker

Nowadays, most companies look for employees that have the ability to think outside the set box and find unconventional solutions to problems or ways to do new things. And if you have such skills, you’re unique. Therefore, you can say with confidence that you’re an out-of-the-box thinker at the interview.

Obviously, the employer would like you to cite examples of where your out-of-the-box thinking was useful in the past. You can respond to this question by highlighting projects that you’ve done or completed assignments where conventional or textbook solutions weren’t possible and hence, out-of-the-box thinking helped.

These have to be genuine answers because faking something can cost you the job. That’s because not everyone has the capacity to think out of the box. And you’ll also have to include whether your seniors or bosses appreciated you for your out-of-the-box solutions.

3. Quick Learner

Responding that you’re a quick learner to the question about er to the question about your unique point is more apt for a fresher than an experienced jobseeker. That’s because a fresher lacks adequate job skills and has to get an opportunity to acquire them through work.

If you’re a quick learner, you can mention that at the interview. At the same time, you’ll have to give superb examples of instances where you could master something quickly. For example, you can say how you learned a lot of things that’re of relevance to the job role, during an internship after your graduation.

A quick learner response to this question can also be used by persons looking for a career change. Since you too would be lacking in skills necessary for the role, you can mention that you’re a quick learned and hence, the company can consider you for the job and give some training.

4. High Emotional Intelligence

High levels of emotional intelligence can also set you apart from other candidates for the same job. Therefore, if you indeed have an excellent emotional intelligence or EI, state that as your response to the question: “What makes you unique?” EI is a quality that almost every employer on this planet looks for. That’s because persons with high EI levels often emerge as leaders in their organizations.

For the uninitiated, high EI means an ability to fully comprehend the emotions that a person or a group of people are experiencing at any point of time and responding accordingly. This helps managers and team leaders to assign works accordingly while preventing clashes at workplace.

You could cite examples of how your high level of EI is helping you in day-to-day work at the current employer or even a previous employer. Generally, high EI is helpful in solving tricky situations and especially in customer care and support services.

5. As Teacher

what makes you special

If you’re or have been in roles where you had to mentor junior level staff about the work, that’s your uniqueness. That means, you have the unique quality as a teacher, tutor or mentor. Generally, this unique quality is sought after when employers look for prospective leaders to head their various departments at a later stage.

Mentioning that your uniqueness lies in your teaching skills is fine, as long as you can support it with superb examples.

Therefore, speak about how the employer would let you handle new recruits for training them to do their role to their fullest potential. Also, speak in detail about the things that you taught your juniors while at that role and how these qualities can benefit a new employer.

Even if you have trained juniors informally, it can still count as a unique quality. That’s because juniors will approach you for guidance only when you have specific skills such as being a patient listener, ability to comprehend a problem and provide solutions or mentor people to work according to the expectations of the organization.

6. Troubleshooter

A troubleshooter is a person that can resolve any problem to satisfaction of all concerned parties. And this quality is also in demand among employers. 

Actually, there’re three kinds of employees. The first category recognizes a problem but can’t think about solutions.

The second category knows the problem and the solutions but are reluctant to use it because they’re scared of making mistakes. And the third is the real troubleshooter- the person that recognizes the problem, finds a solution and goes about using it to resolve the issue.

If you come in the third category, then troubleshooting is your forte and uniqueness. Therefore, point this out to the employer when asked the question: “What makes you unique?” You can provide examples of situations where you could use your troubleshooting qualities to resolve some crises, emergency situations if any or something in your daily work routine. This can help you win the interview and bag the job.

7. Avid Traveler

Now traveling for work is not something that everyone likes, even though they might enjoy it for leisure. The very thought of sitting cramped up in an aircraft, train or bus or even driving long distances is enough to put off anyone. However, if you’re an avid traveler that doesn’t mind the rigors of a journey, state that as your uniqueness.

However, traveling for work isn’t merely about the journey. It’s also the willingness to meet people from different places and possibly different cultures, understanding them and finding a common ground to work for the welfare of the organization.

Therefore, if you can mingle easily with people from different places in the country or even in the world, that’s your strength and uniqueness.

If you’ve been to several places either within the country or have been on foreign tours, emphasize that traveling is your uniqueness. That you’re willing to travel is a trait that employers also desire, especially if they’re planning to expand their business to other parts of the country or the world.

8. The Introvert

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and claiming that as your uniqueness. In fact, there’re lots of jobs that actually require introverts. 

Here’s my definition of an introvert: An introvert isn’t some mentally twisted, anti-social person. Instead, they’re comfortable talking with one or two people instead of a whole crowd. Generally, introverts are very intelligent and think a lot. They wish to do everything to perfection.

Additionally, introverts are known to be harmless folks unless provoked. Their feelings are intense and hence, they could prove dangerous as enemies. However, they never believe in actually harming someone. At best, they might cut off their relations with you.

However, there’re as many as 15 superb jobs that fit introverts. And if you’re applying for any of these kinds of jobs, you can say introversion is your uniqueness.

In Conclusion

Here’re the eight simplest ways to answer this complex question: “What makes you unique?” All you need to do is adapt any of these answers that suit you the best and respond accordingly at an interview. That could ensure your success and help bag that prize, dream job.

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