What Makes You Unique: Finding the Best Answers in 2020

Matt Robinson Matt Robinson October 13, 2020
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Looking for a new job in 2020 and advancing in a career can be difficult. And when the interviewer drops the question: “What makes you unique?”, words struggle to come out. People can stutter, or even panic, being unique is not easy. When most of the candidates share similar skills, it becomes hard to bring something to shine and answer this correctly.

Being prepared for the question is key, and while it can be intimidating, the answer can secure the position. It allows the interviewee to indicate what exactly makes him or her better than the other candidates. It opens up an opportunity that some people don’t use because they don’t know how to approach it.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Does It Exist?
  2. Tips to Prepare for This
  3. How to Answer It (With Examples)
  4. What to Avoid
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Interviewers Always Ask This Question?

Interviewers Always Ask This Question

Despite what the majority of people think, this question is a golden opportunity during any interview. It allows candidates to answer and be different from the rest. Don’t fear this question, just ask: “What makes me unique?”. It is better to know it’s coming and prepare for it. Here is why interviewers always ask this question.

  • Interviewers allow the candidates to show off their best qualities. Also, see how confident they are when describing themselves.
  • To double-check that they are aware of what the job is about and that they have what it takes.
  • To find more about their character. From how they think of themselves, to how they express it.
  • To measure how they react to a personal question and how they think under pressure.

Being Ready for the Question – Golden Tips

Being Ready

Despite what most people think when the interviewer says, “Tell us what makes you unique” answers won’t be found by only thinking on the go. Preparing is crucial, and for this, knowing each strength and weakness is important. In this section, several tips can be found to help anyone get the best out of the job interview by answering this personal question and starting that new career.

1. Know the Most Valuable Skills for the Job

It comes without saying that researching the job before applying for it is a must. This applies to any career. To get to know which skills the position requires is key. That makes it easier to specify which of the strengths in the repertoire can be used. While the strengths are important, weaknesses are another point to take into consideration. Keep in mind any potential vulnerabilities, so they do not affect the job.

2. Hidden Potential

It’s good to know what a good candidate needs for the job. Then start to think about not only what is in the job posting, but also what would be helpful on a day-to-day basis. That way, when the interview is happening, a hidden skill that can be used for the position may come out.

3. It’s All About the Personality

Personality is important for any employer since it shows several traits that can be helpful. The best people to judge this would be family, friends, or former employers. This is an easy way to find answers to “what makes you unique”. Listen to what they say about anything relevant to the job. The “You are so resourceful” comment from a previous employer can bring up a useful trait for the next one. Do some research about any feedback like this and write them down.

4. Previous Success Is Future Success

Older awards or recognitions can be used in future jobs since they are proof of something well done. This is why a lot of people show off achievements in their CVs. They are great for pointing out traits, like dedication, for example. Look back at all the work done and find recognitions, since they will make a particular person stand out above other candidates. 

5. Be Funny but Be Clear About It

Adding a little fun is not a bad idea. It shows off that even in a situation like a job interview, the candidate can be relaxed, which is unique in its own right. However, things like sarcasm can be confusing at times and if the interviewer doesn’t “get it”. Something funny may turn into something detrimental. Remember that this interview is professional, and they want the candidate to keep it that way.

6. Being Unique Is Not Expected

Yes, this sounds weird, but let’s face it, interviewers have heard it all. In this question, “unique” is not quite literal. Being unique in today’s world is not easy, and the skills relevant to the position are what matters. Making wooden sculptures with a chainsaw is something unique, but it’s not applicable to an accountant. Mention every single skill that can be used to work better than the rest, or help other colleagues. That is what makes you unique. 

7. Practice Makes Perfect

Being ready for a job interview is not a matter of seconds. Write everything up and practice. Change whatever is needed as many times as required. A perfect job interview is not something easy to achieve, but at least, preparation can be flawless.

8. The Star of the Show

Remember who the star in the interview is, the company doing the hiring. That’s right; a conversation is about how the candidate can help the company, not vice versa. Keep that in mind when answering the question: “How can the company use this or that skill”. Remember to provide an example.

How to Answer “What Makes You Unique” [Examples Included]

How to Answer

Interviewers prepare this question to get to know candidates from a personal point of view. This is so they can share experiences and information in their own words. In this section, find how to answer “What makes you unique” in 2020 from a different perspective. Examples are provided to help people understand the concept.

1. When Being a Team Leader Is Key 

“For me, being a team leader doesn’t mean just bossing around and telling others what to do. It means inspiring them and getting them to trust you. If the people you are managing do that, they will follow your lead without issues, and everything will work smoothly.”

2. For a Job Where Working Closely With Clients Is Fundamental

“I am great with people. I feel like I can get on their shoes. My previous manager always wanted me in the front line because clients never got angry at me. They would calm down after a few words. It was funny to be the “Calm-down” guy.”

3. For a Job Where Initiative Is Required

“I’m aware of what my employer wants. Therefore, I always know what to do and when to do it. I believe that being able to identify the issues before they happen and fixing them is the best way to keep a 100% efficiency. I can act based on my judgment because my biggest concern is the company and what they want.” 

4. When Working Under Pressure Is Something Common

“I excel at working under pressure because I can keep my head cold and in the game. I remember one time in my previous job where we ran out of raw material and managed to get a new provider in a few minutes without flinching. My boss was so proud.”

What Not to Say When Facing This Question

Not to Say

Here is a little secret about the question: answers to “What makes you unique” can’t be wrong. However, avoiding a few crucial points is important. Remember, this is about the job and how to excel at it, without going too far off-topic. Provide an example, but don’t go over the top.

1. Don’t Be Basic

Don’t be the one that gets in the room and says, “I’m good with numbers” when applying for an accountant position, this is a bad answer. Be interesting while remaining in the “How can I help the company” topic and don’t bring cliches into the table. Interviewers have heard it all, so go and tell them something different or new, something they may want to hear. 

2. Going Off-Topic

Yes, this is a personal question, but don’t go too deep. It’s about the job and how the candidate is the best for it. Not about hobbies or what they do on a Friday night, despite how interesting that may sound. Being able to focus on the topic at hand is a great trait in any career, so show it off here.

3. Too Much Information

Don’t go over habits unless they are relevant to the position. Saying that waking up and getting a good cup of coffee is a must before leaving for work is all right, but don’t go over a morning yoga routine. Mind the questions and what they want to answer. Information is important, but it can be too much. Similar to the previous points, just make sure to stay on the topic: the job and the career.

4. Lies Won’t Work, Be Real

“Being honest will set you free” This is a great answer to a lot of issues in life. Being hired for a job that can’t be done will become a big issue in no time. It’s awesome to show off skills, but make sure they can be backed up with actions. There’s no point in getting a job that will only bring problems. Keep that in mind during the interview.

5. This Question Is Individual

A lot of candidates try to undermine others during the “what makes you unique” interview. When the interviewer is asking questions, don’t answer with negative things about the others. If a candidate comes in talking about how amazing they are and how the other candidates are not, the interview won’t get anywhere.

6. Focus on the Target

Make sure the answers to “What makes you unique” are not a personal story that goes around several life experiences. Keep it short and simple, but relevant and impressive. Don’t tell every single expertise, just share what the company wants to know about a career. It’s easy to go all-in with stories, but it can get tedious, and these things won’t work. 

7. Everyone Is Unique in Their Way

Don’t be negative; everyone has their uniqueness and make sure to point it out. The combination of traits that the company needs is really important, even when it may not be anything special for the candidate. Stay positive and be unique with the answer.

Different Questions That Mean the Same

Not every interviewer will ask the same question with the same words. Now, find some of the most common variations for the question “What makes me unique?” all of which have the same answers.

  • What makes you different?
  • Why would you consider yourself special?
  • What can you tell me about yourself?
  • What makes you stand out?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me something unique about you
  • What makes you better?
  • How would you define yourself?
  • Can you share something about you that is not in your CV?
  • What can you offer to this company that no one else can?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Someone Unique?

Experiences are what makes persons unique, knowing how to act in certain situations can make people stand out from someone else, even when the skills are the same. Two candidates may have the same strengths and weaknesses, and similar answers, but they may face challenges in a different way or with different attitudes. This is what makes someone unique, and that’s what companies want to know when they make this question.

How to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” in 150 Characters?

A short but accurate answer is a great way to face this question. It points out how the candidate acts in certain situations without rambling. Here are a couple of examples:

“When the new software came out, I didn’t wait for training, I went ahead and learned it myself. I’m always learning new things and being prepared.”

“Before the rush hour, I prepare my workstation to avoid chaos afterward. I like order, and I believe that is the most efficient way of working.” 

What Makes You Uniquely Qualified for This Position?

Mention unique traits when it comes to working in said position or their use in a career. These tend to be personality qualities as well as skills. Remember to mention the following:

  • Unique personality traits that are relevant to the position
  • Personal experiences that prove capabilities
  • Skills that are not required in the job description but that are useful for it
  • Some particular competencies learned in a different workplace that may have a use now.

What Makes You Stand out From Other Contestants?

The answers to these kinds of questions are traits that are not common — skills used or acquired in a different field, or something personal that will help with the position.

  • React during certain situations.
  • Reliability during difficult times (under pressure).
  • Initiative for specific tasks.
  • Self-management when making decisions.
  • Great at teamwork, leading, or following the leader.
  • Proper time management.
  • Good at following guidelines to bring the expected outcome.

How Would You Describe Yourself?

To describe yourself, make sure to use short sentences that focus completely on the skills that the company may want. Here are some examples:

  • I’m detail-oriented with everything I do.
  • I’m exceptional at leading and working in teams.
  • I’m a result-oriented person.
  • I’m notable at talking with clients.
  • I find solutions to problems.
  • I always keep everything well-organized.
  • I’m ambitious and realistic.
  • I’m great at preparing myself and acting
  • I’m prominent at reacting to problems and finding solutions

Let’s Wrap It Up

Now that everything about these questions and their answers has been brought to light, any candidate should be ready to face them. When the “what makes you unique” interview question pops up, it’s never an easy task, but it’s something that everyone has to deal with at some point in their career. 

From being aware of the variations to knowing the right answers, being prepared is crucial. With these tips, candidates are now ready to get into the interview room without fear. But above everything else, they will be able to stand out and land the job. What are your experiences in answering this question? Share in the comments below!

Published: August 19, 2020 | Updated: October 13, 2020
Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson

Matt is an experienced technical writer and translator skilled in writing targeted texts for a variety of audiences. He has a diversified background, including social media management of various products. He is a data-driven strategist and a passionate story-teller. He posts about all social innovations and delivers high-quality research and content to our readers.

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