Answering 'What Can You Offer That Another Can't?' Interview Question
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 24 November 2022
Published 27 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Employers ask different questions during interviews to learn more about your qualifications, experience and personality to ascertain if you're the right person for the job. They may ask you unusual questions that require careful thought before answering. Understanding why they ask these questions and learning how to prepare a suitable response can help you succeed in the interview. In this article, we discuss why employers ask about what you can offer, explain how to answer this interview question and list sample answers to this question.
Why do employers ask the 'What can you offer that another can't?' interview question?
You may be wondering why employers ask the interview question 'What can you offer that another can't?' . They do so to understand your unique skill set, qualifications and characteristics. Depending on your answer, they can also gauge how well you know the company and how much you understand the role you're applying for. Your response may show if you prepared thoroughly for the interview and performed in-depth research into the role. This question provides you with the opportunity to showcase your strengths and one-of-a-kind abilities and explain how they may be advantageous to the company.
The interviewer may also want to assess your level of confidence from your answer. Therefore, it's essential to be confident about your abilities, so you can present yourself as a strong candidate to the interviewer. At the same time, they may also ask this question to test your humility, so remain humble in your response.
How to answer this interview question
Outlined below are steps you can follow to answer this question successfully:
1. Reflect on your abilities
Think about your previous work experiences, educational qualifications, abilities and skills. Consider how all of these may be different from what other candidates can offer to the employer. You may also want to review the job advertisement and take note of the requirements and responsibilities listed. Then, compare your qualifications and skills with the requirements of the role and brainstorm what you believe the company may be expecting in a suitable candidate. You may then want to choose all the qualities that fit the requirements of the position to talk about in your answer to this question.
2. Describe why you're unique
Explain honestly what you can offer the company compared to other candidates. Make sure to provide specific examples or details about how your previous experiences, educational qualifications and skills make you a strong applicant. For example, if you're applying for a teaching position, you may want to highlight how you've taught children from less privileged backgrounds on a voluntary basis. This demonstrates that you're passionate about teaching children and that you have experience in working with children.
3. Show that you understand the company
Employers want to see how much research you've done about the company and how well you understand its culture. When giving your answer, try to establish connections between your skill set and your understanding of the company's history and its values or mission. Share what you like best about the organisation and if there's anything they do or believe in that inspires you. You can outperform other candidates by talking about how your abilities can help the company achieve its goals and be successful. This also shows the hiring manager that you've researched the company well before your interview.
It also highlights how you've been thinking about ways to help the company succeed and shows your genuine desire to work there.
4. Explain how you intend to progress with the company
You can also use this opportunity to talk about your future aspirations in working with the company. You can talk about innovative solutions, suggest introducing new products or services or even propose entering various markets. While you discuss these ideas, explain how you can help to achieve these goals with your skill set, qualifications and professional network. This can demonstrate to the interviewer that you're serious about the position and are willing to grow with the company.
Sample answers to the interview question
The hiring manager is likely to interview many other candidates with similar qualifications. Use these sample answers to help you craft a creative and memorable answer:
Use this example to learn how to show that your work experiences can benefit the company:
'I'm confident that I can bring a unique perspective to this position. My work experience may vary slightly from other applicants. While my background is primarily in digital marketing, I worked as a part-time salesperson at a high-end furniture store during my time at university. From what I understand about your company, your primary target audience are those who purchase such products. As I've personally interacted with many customers and performed a variety of administrative tasks, I believe I possess a firm understanding of the industry.
I'm very keen on working in this company as I can combine my industry knowledge with my distinctive skill set. I believe that I'm in an advantageous position as I can propose more creative ideas for campaigns than someone who's new to the home furnishings industry. I think I can also relate better to your clients, as they may appreciate communicating with someone who has a sound knowledge of the business. This may help clients trust the company more, leading to increased sales and a stronger reputation in the industry.'
This example is useful to show how your personality and character can help you succeed in the role:
'If I get this job, it would be my first retail job. I think that this can actually be advantageous as I can offer your team a unique perspective. I can quickly adopt the style of customer service and methods for displaying the products that the company requires. Without having other ways of doing tasks from previous work experiences, I can fulfil my duties effectively.
I'm a fast learner, and I'm confident that I can cultivate the technical skills for this role during on-the-job training. I usually ask for feedback, help or questions very readily, so I think I can improve very quickly. With my desire to learn, passion for the company's products and commitment to succeed, I strongly believe that I'm an excellent candidate for this role.'
Learn from this example about how you can communicate your value to the company and meet their current and future needs:
'This position may help me to transition from a career in journalism to public relations. I'm confident that this gives me a perspective that other applicants may not possess. For instance, I precisely understand the type of information that's most useful for journalists to receive in press releases. I also know what my previous colleagues and I usually felt were missing from media kits. I believe I can assist in strengthening these processes for your agency, thereby reducing the number of enquiries you receive about basic information. This can help the company focus on more significant issues.
With my background in journalism, I possess excellent writing skills. They may benefit both your clients and the agency greatly. I'm willing and able to write all types of collateral for your clients, such as white papers, fact sheets and press releases. I also realised you have some blogs on your agency's own website. I would be excited to expand what you offer and develop this into a knowledge base as an internal and external resource.'
You can refer to this example to craft a response about how your qualities may help you excel in the job duties:
'I'm a highly creative person and I enjoy working with other team members to craft strong brand strategies. During my time at university, I created several marketing strategies as part of my class projects and presented them in a persuasive manner. I had the opportunity to use my skills and talents in the workplace when I did an internship at a creative agency during the vacation period.
From these experiences, I've honed my problem-solving skills and accumulated knowledge about social media campaigns and email marketing. I believe that this skill set can enable me to improve the company's campaign performance. I'm confident that this can translate to increased sales and higher profits for the company.'
The models shown are for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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