This is a common interview question, especially in the second stage of the interview process. The hiring manager will have several job seekers to choose from and wants to select the very best candidate. The best way to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate is to show your unique skills as they relate to the job role.
Here are 20 example interview answers to “What makes you unique?” that demonstrate the specific skills employers are looking for and show that you are the best person for the job.
5 Tips for Your Answer
- Unique answers stand out. This is your chance to show your best qualities.
- Show you are the kind of person who will be a valuable addition to the company.
- Try to include two to four specific personality traits that will be valuable in the role.
- Prove that you are a good candidate by using specific examples from a previous job.
- Demonstrate soft skills like time management and organizational skills.
5 Mistakes to Avoid
- Do not be afraid to adapt these sample answers to your unique qualities.
- Do not use common skills like “hard worker” or “good team player” without good examples.
- Do not discuss your personal life unless providing examples of transferable skills.
- Don’t forget to base your answers on the job description.
- Don’t forget to have concrete examples prepared for each skill set on your cover letter or resume.
20 Best Example Answers to “What makes you unique?”
Example #1: Catch-all Answer for Most Roles
My personality is what makes me unique. I am someone who is trustworthy. I take responsibility for my actions and own my mistakes. I am a quick and efficient worker. I never look to cut corners, but I do avoid things that are an unnecessary waste of time. Finally, I am open to change and embrace it with a positive attitude.
Key Takeaways: This is a great way to give a general-purpose answer to this question, and it includes multiple positive personality traits. Try to have an example in mind from your last job for each value as follow-up questions are likely.
Example #2: Eager & Fresh (Entry Level)
My lack of past work experience, coupled with my natural ability to learn quickly and pick up new skills rapidly, makes me an exceptional candidate. This means that I do not have any bad habits to unlearn from previous experience. I am eager to learn and be molded by your company, to develop the necessary experience to thrive in the new role.
Key Takeaways: It is difficult to turn a lack of experience into a positive, but this is an almost perfect answer if you have no prior experience. This answer turns apparent weaknesses into personal unique strengths, and the creativity of the answer shows that you can think outside the box.
Example #3: Experience (Senior & Managerial Roles)
The unique attributes that I will bring to this role are my ability to get the most out of my team and my company-focused mindset. Every decision that I make in my role is considered in relation to the company’s strategic goals. And in my years of experience as a team leader, I have developed my ability to motivate and encourage my team to produce excellent, focused results for the business.
Key Takeaways: This answer is especially good for managers, team leaders, or leadership roles, but can be used for senior non-leadership roles in teams. It is a good answer because it discusses making decisions in alignment with the company’s goals and motivating others to do the same.
Example #4: Customer Communication Skills
My communication skills and unique ability to ethically upsell customers make me an ideal candidate. The first thing that makes me unique is my ability to communicate with all customers in a friendly way, energetic way without overpowering them. I make all customers feel welcome and listen actively to resolve their questions or complaints in a fast and amicable way. I am also constantly looking for ways to help customers by upselling them with products or services that are useful to them and add to their experience.
Key Takeaways: This is a good answer because it highlights communication, which is an important skill for customer service roles. It also shows an awareness of the importance of upselling and increasing sales, and by using the word “ethically,” it subtly shows you are a trustworthy person who has integrity.
Example #5: Refined Sales & Client Relationship Abilities
The three things that make me the best candidate for this sales position are my unique prospecting techniques, my ability to build relationships, and my strong closing techniques. First, I use several creative prospecting methods to generate leads and increase my client list. Second, I always interact with prospective clients with a view to a long-term relationship and generating growing revenue and repeat business. Finally, I am strong, decisive, and skilled in my ability to close sales and generate positive results.
Key Takeaways: This answer discusses the three core skills expected of a salesperson but adds a personal twist to each. Instead of just prospecting, you are creative at prospecting. Instead of just selling, you build long-term relationships for growing repeat business. Instead of just closing, you close decisively and generate results.
Example #6: Planning & Organizational Expertise
The most unique thing about me is my exceptional planning and organizational abilities. In my previous position, my manager often complimented my ability to be consistently more organized than the rest of my team. I am an excellent multi-tasker and can be relied upon to organize, manage and complete many important, competing tasks at the same time. As a result, I was able to get more done to a higher standard and was able to be counted on to deliver results.
Key Takeaways: This answer shows that you are a good fit for administrative and organizational roles. It refers to experience from a previous role, ability to manage time, multi-task, and importantly it politely suggests you will outperform other candidates.
Example #7: A True People Person
I am an excellent communicator, a great people person, and naturally proficient at social media. These skills make me the ideal candidate because I can effectively communicate my message to people of varied backgrounds and persuasion and account for different audience biases in my messaging.
Second, as a people person, I can naturally get inside the target audience’s head and tailor content to not only catch attention but incite viewer interactions. Finally, my proficiency with social media allows me to do my job quickly, efficiently, and with a high degree of engagement.
Key Takeaways: The important thing for social media and PR is to show that you can get inside the viewers’ minds and influence not just how they think, but also how they respond.
Example #8: Deep Technical Skills
What makes me the best candidate for your job is my unique technical skills. While many people develop skills purely to increase their employability, I have a genuine passion for the industry. This means that I am constantly learning and developing my skills, and my passion has led to a naturally deep, detailed, and specialized knowledge that is usually beyond my peers. I take a lot of pride in my ability to share this knowledge and improve the efficiency, speed, and expertise of any team I am a part of.
Key Takeaways: For technical roles, this answer is ideal because it states that you are more technically capable than other candidates. The last sentence is critical. It shows that you will use your skills to improve the team’s performance and won’t just keep your expertise to yourself.
Example #9: Demonstrated Creativity
My most unique trait is that I am a creative person who can always offer a different perspective on problems. My creative skills have been well developed through past experiences and exposure to diverse cultural and industry backgrounds.
Key Takeaways: Most businesses can benefit from creative minds who can think outside the box and offer alternate points of view. This is a good answer, particularly when applying for startup companies or roles with organizations seeking to innovate.
Example #10: Proactive Problem Solving Capabilities
What makes me unique is that I am a proactive and creative problem solver who takes the initiative to come up with new ideas and novel solutions to problems. I am motivated to solve problems in new ways because of my desire to go above and beyond for the customer, deliver exceptional results for the company, and to drive business innovation forward.
Key Takeaways: This is one of the best answers to use if you are a creative and energetic person who struggles to describe your value to the company. This answer says that you use your ability to think and motivation to always be doing something to benefit the customer and the company.
Example #11: Unwavering Honesty and Ethics
I believe my attributes that are of greatest value to your business are my honest and ethical nature. I am a highly motivated professional who works hard in everything that I do, and I believe in always doing the right thing, even if no one is looking. I would never do anything that would compromise my personal reputation or that of my company. I believe ethics are of utmost importance because an ethical person will work hard to learn anything you need them to learn, but it is very difficult to teach an ethical and positive mindset.
Key Takeaways: This is a very strong answer for most industries and can be a great response for first-time job applicants or anyone who does not have relevant experience, e.g., during a career transition. While applicable to most industries, it is excellent for good employers in financial services, banking, and legal industries due to the nature of their work.
Example #12: A Perfect Match for That Particular Job
What makes me the ideal candidate is that I already possess all of the relevant skills, qualities, and experience required for the job description. This is because, during my job search, I specifically looked for roles that were a match for my skills and abilities.
I also looked during the job application process to make sure that this work environment would match my personality, qualities, and values closely. As a result, I have only applied for this position because I know that I can get up to speed and be a valuable member of the company very quickly if I am hired.
Key Takeaways: If you have searched for jobs that are a specific match for your skills and experiences, then saying this during the job interview is a good idea. If you use this answer, you must deliver it with sincerity and confidence.
Example #13: Business Sense & Skills
One of my most unique traits is my business sense and commercial awareness. This means that I am always aware of how my job and the outcome of my work impact the success of the business. In everything I do, I try to be mindful of what is best for the company and to make decisions that contribute to long-term commercial success. I work diligently, take initiative and go above and beyond in everything that I do for the company and for customers.
Key Takeaways: This answer is particularly unique and unlikely to be given by other candidates. It stands out because it discusses having a sense of commercial awareness and considering decisions and actions that are best for the business.
Example #14: Dedication to Lifelong Learning
My greatest personal strength is my dedication and passion for continuous learning and development. I am aware that to contribute value to the company, I must improve my skills and capabilities. Further, I have several personal goals that I want to achieve in life, and these require that I am successful professionally. Therefore, to improve my professional success, I am committed to keeping ahead of industry trends and changes and using my own time to proactively learn the most relevant and valuable skills for the business.
Key Takeaways: All businesses will find it highly desirable to hire staff who are skilled professionals who continue to grow and develop their skills. This answer discusses continuing to develop yourself professionally in your own time and with a view to what is valuable to the business.
Example #15: Tackles Challenges & Learns from Mistakes
What makes me a unique asset to the company is that I am not afraid of failure. I try to approach all situations realistically and not to over-commit, but I also never shy away from a challenge when it is presented. This, coupled with my honesty and initiative, means that I am always looking for new ways to help the company improve. I embrace the fact that the best way for me to improve myself and increase my value to the company is to learn from my own mistakes.
Key Takeaways: This is a very good answer when used for highly innovative roles. It shows that you will not avoid challenges to protect your ego. However, it is best to avoid an answer like this when dealing with detail-oriented roles such as legal or finance.
Example #16: Optimistic Self-Starter
I am a naturally positive person and a highly motivated “self-starter,” I believe we get back the effort we invest in life. Because I am naturally positive, I excel at remaining upbeat in challenging situations and improving the morale of my team. My high motivation means that I am dependable and always strive to give 110%. Finally, I have a lot of goals and ambitions that I want to achieve both personally and professionally, and I know that to realize these goals, I need to always learn, improve, and deliver my best at all times.
Key Takeaways: Saying you are a motivated self-starter can be cliché if delivered without context. However, this answer is a good example if it is delivered passionately and confidently because it explains what being a motivated self-starter will look like to the company.
Example #17: Showing a History of High Achievement
What sets me apart from other candidates for this position is my history of consistent high achievement. In all my previous roles, I have demonstrated a reliable ability to not only meet but surpass the minimum performance requirements.
You should include a short three or four-sentence example from a previous role where you exceeded expectations. Alternatively, you could include a relevant example of non-work-related achievement where the skill demonstrated is relevant to work.
Key Takeaways: This is a great answer because all companies want to hire people who are high performers. It is important to make this your own answer by including a real and relevant example from a previous role. Try to give an example of a skill required in the job description.
Example #18: Demonstrating a Positive Attitude & Motivated Mindset
I believe that my positive attitude, persistent mindset, and ability to share this positivity and motivation with others make me unique. I am not a blind optimist, but I always look for how I can respond to a situation to get the best result possible. I am also very persistent, and I will never throw in the towel before the bell rings.
In addition, in past roles, I have gained extensive experience sharing my positive view and persistent attitude with others to keep our whole team on track even in trying times.
Key Takeaways: An answer like this is good because it discusses the in-demand soft skills of attitude and mindset. A company can teach most skills required but finding staff who work hard consistently and have a good attitude can be very difficult.
Example #19: Strong Team Player
I have a well-developed ability to not only work in groups but to create a strong team culture and foster teamwork. I am a strong team player, and I thrive in a collaborative environment where everyone is working towards the same goal.
I believe this is an important skill because companies exist as groups of people working together to deliver value for stakeholders. I have always had an ability to positively influence team culture, whether I am a team leader or a junior team member.
Key Takeaways: Being a team player is an important skill in all businesses. This answer is strong because it explains the specific team-related skills that you will bring to the company.
Example #20: Resilient & Ability to Easily Change
My most unique traits are my resilience and ability to adapt to change with ease. I am a very resilient and persistent worker, and I am not easily demotivated or dissuaded. In situations that are challenging and would demotivate many people, I find that I become more motivated to persist and succeed. I become more eager the harder a situation becomes.
When change is required, I don’t resist, I pivot and adapt and find what skills I have that fit the new change, and then I work to quickly build new skills that are suited to the changing work environment.
Key Takeaways: This is a very good answer for two reasons. First, resilience and persistence are desirable, especially as millennials and gen z’s are stereotyped as being entitled and “soft.” Being resilient means you will not quit or give up just because a situation is hard. Second, change is happening more and more in the modern world, and companies need to hire flexible employees who can adapt rather than resist changes when they happen.
The purpose of a question like this in a job interview is to determine if you are the best choice among all of the job candidates. This is a good chance to show off your unique set of skills developed from similar experiences and past roles. Giving a great answer will show that you are the perfect candidate for the role.
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.