Interviews are stressful by nature. The hiring manager’s goal is to find out if you are the best candidate for their company’s needs. Common interview questions like, “What can you bring to the company?” help the potential employer understand your soft skills and hard skills and how well you’ll “fit” in. This is one of the most common questions asked during the interview process.
The STAR Method can be used to develop the best ways to address this question. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Continue reading for ten great ways of addressing this job interview question with sample answers.
Example #1: Demonstrate Working Well with Others (Teamwork)
S: I worked for a small business with obvious growth potential and was responsible for identifying and contacting new clients.
T: My coworkers and I developed a plan to address the immediate growth needs and create new positions in the near future.
A: We addressed the current customers’ needs, reached out to new clients, and planned for future staffing needs.
R: We met our immediate growth needs and took steps to ensure that future growth would be addressed appropriately.
Key Takeaways: By developing a response using the STAR Method, the interviewer will see how you are a team player, build relationships, and use these skills to help identify and meet their needs. If you take the time to research the company, you can tailor your response to help the interviewer match your skills to their needs.
Example #2: Identify and Troubleshoot Company Problems
S: Your company works in a market with a lot of competition, and I think my skills and knowledge will help you find ways to beat them.
T: In my last job, I helped the company make more money by making it easier for customers to order online.
A: I thought the company website was hard to use, so I made a list of changes I thought should be made.
R: When these changes were made, sales increased significantly.
Key Takeaways: In this example, the interviewer will plainly see your ability to independently identify areas of improvement and develop plans to address them. This example can be easily modified to fit your work experience.
Example #3: Demonstrate Leadership
S: As a member of the bid proposal team for one of our company’s largest clients, I was responsible for project management.
T: One of my responsibilities was to keep my team on schedule and ensure proposals were submitted ahead of the deadline for final approval.
A: I ensured that all team members met their deadlines so that management could review the proposal before the client’s deadline.
R: We ultimately secured a multimillion-dollar deal, and all team members received performance bonuses.
Key Takeaways: Interviewers almost always look for employees who make good team members or can lead a team. Interviewers immediately see your value when you identify and explain how you have demonstrated these skills in your previous positions.
Example #4: Show Self-Motivation and Drive for Growth
S: As a manager of the customer service department, I’ve discovered that a few basic skills make for a better work atmosphere.
T: Five years of professional experience have taught me to hone these skills and apply them whenever necessary.
A: In a previous position, I provided direct customer assistance and dealt with a very dissatisfied customer.
R: I used conflict management techniques, such as getting to the base of the problem to determine why she was angry and find a solution. It worked out nicely, and she continued purchasing from the company.
Key Takeaways: This answer is good for more than one reason. It includes everything that should be in an answer to this question. You’ve provided a clear explanation of what skill you’re presenting, along with details and an example.
Along with being well-developed, this response goes out of its way to mention how long the candidate has been working in the field, providing credibility.
Example #5: Highlight Specific Skills
S: As the leader of a team of eight social media marketers, I was a big part of developing and implementing strategies that helped customers recognize their brand in various situations.
T: The company wanted to significantly improve its name recognition in social media markets.
A: I used my experience, social media marketing skills, and advertising skills to increase the company’s name recognition among current and future clients.
R: The result was a successful branding campaign that dramatically boosted the company’s brand recognition in their market.
Key Takeaways: This response shows your ability to identify and lead a team towards meeting a goal. You’ve demonstrated both competency and leadership skills. Using real-world examples that match the company’s needs makes it easy for the interviewer to see the benefit of hiring you.
Example #6: Illustrate Determination
S: At my previous job, I always looked forward to taking on new challenges and showcasing my abilities.
T: I was assigned a new team project and a tight deadline.
A: My determination was key to meeting our goals. I made sure to plan carefully with my team, make sure responsibilities and expectations were clear and everyone was accountable. I also worked hard to ensure everyone was on board with our team plans.
R: Though the challenge was quite difficult, I faced it head-on and took the necessary steps to achieve the objectives.
Key Takeaways: Here is a good illustration of how to draw attention to a crucial soft skill. The candidate offers an example of how he or she has previously displayed this quality.
Example #7: Show How You Are Flexible
S: I was the lead editor in my previous position.
T: I was asked to work with another team during their research and with the engineering department to customize their messaging.
A: I was able to use my flexibility to ensure my editing duties were appropriately completed while supporting the product team and engineering departments.
R: The product team was able to complete the focus group research on time, and the engineering department’s messaging was modified to make it less technical and more personable.
Key Takeaways: Giving concrete, specific examples of how you’ve applied a desirable trait or skill in the past is always a good idea.
Example #8: Demonstrate Personability with Clients
S: I noticed from your job description that this position would spend the majority of its time speaking with clients directly on the phone and in person.
T: In my previous position, I was in charge of several client accounts, totaling a significant amount for our business.
A: I used my ability to relate with people to expand our current client accounts and promote new services.
R: As a result, the company increased its client list and total monthly income.
Key Takeaways: In this response, you can demonstrate your ability to work with the public. This is a skill almost any employer seeks. In other words, companies want to know that they can trust how you will act in front of their clients. The interviewer will be able to relate concrete outcomes to this soft skill.
Example #9: Demonstrate Hard Skills
S: Since graduating, I’ve been working in an internship responsible for research.
T: I recently had the opportunity to conduct research for the company’s newly launched new product line.
A: When I first began working on the project and did my preliminary research, I thought that adding a related product line would allow us to expand quickly. I outlined my idea to my superior, and was part of the team that worked on creating the new product line.
R: We were able to continue using our current facilities while gaining access to a largely untapped market.
Key Takeaways: This response gives the interviewer a good look at concrete skills such as research and your ability to think progressively.
Example #10: Demonstrate Success in High-Stress Situations
S: As a salesperson, I am expected to effectively work will all of the company’s clients.
T: At my previous job, I occasionally dealt with challenging clients.
A: It was challenging to calm them down, but by remaining composed and avoiding being hostile, I was able to identify their unique needs and come up with solutions.
R: I was so good at fixing issues that our business started to get fewer and fewer bad reviews.
Key Takeaways: This response highlights another soft skill by focusing on your social and interpersonal skills. Being able to work with difficult clients is a skill most any business needs.
5 Tips for Your Answer
- Talk about how you’ll quickly be able to achieve a positive outcome as a team member because you’re a quick learner, passionate, and willing to take charge of challenging problems.
- Show what training and relevant skills you have, what qualifications you’ve earned, and what past experiences and previous jobs affect how you work.
- Find a way to talk about yourself that feels natural and shows the energy and drive you have in your work.
- In the interview, support your statements with examples of your work. The objective is to project confidence without appearing arrogant or entitled to the job.
- Make contact after your interview. This demonstrates your interest and attentiveness and might prompt the hiring manager to remember you and make you an offer of employment.
5 Mistakes to Avoid
- Applicants who fail to conduct research will miss the opportunity to demonstrate they are a good fit. Researching the company and the job requirements for the positions you are applying for before your interview is crucial. It will help you develop interview responses with concrete examples that match the needs of that particular job. Reviewing the company’s website is a great place to start.
- Pause and think of a good answer. Before responding to questions, give yourself time to reflect; rushing a response doesn’t exude confidence. Don’t mumble either. The interviewer doesn’t want to have to yell out questions or strain to understand what you’re saying.
- Not asking questions shows a lack of interest and initiative. Employers appreciate well-placed questions because they demonstrate you are interested in the position or company enough to learn more about it.
- Do not speak negatively about a previous company. It is customary to refrain from speaking poorly about a former employer in a job interview, even if there are highly compelling reasons to do so (something like discrimination). Being able to word responses in a positive light will be the best way to demonstrate your communication skills.
- Prepare your answers and practice them, but avoid sounding robotic. Concentrate on the key points you will want to say, rather than memorizing and repeating your answers word-for-word.
To be able to answer using the STAR method, you will need to have an understanding of the specific job and the skill set needed to do the kind of work in that particular job role. Then, you will need to think about your previous experience and the various positive results you achieved. How well you prepare will significantly impact how well you perform in an interview relative to other job seekers.
You will need to do thorough research so you can show that you understand the industry, significant projects the company has recently finished, its mission statement and work culture, and anything other valuable information you can learn from the company’s website and information that has come out in the news. This level of expertise shows sincere interest and helps give you the best chance of getting a job offer.
Reread the job description, and if you applied, review your application to remind yourself how your experience and credentials are appropriate for the position. You must be able to articulate your career goals, demonstrate your understanding of the position, keep a positive attitude throughout the interview, and, most importantly, paint a picture of yourself as the best match for the role. Good luck and go get that job offer!
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.