Get Ready to Answer This Job Interview Question: What Makes You Unique?

UniqueInterviewQuestionCollageWatch the spontaneous answer this interviewee gives to the commonly-asked interview question, “What makes you unique?”  

Here we see the seed of a great answer: she provides a specific anecdote with potential connections to professional skills employers really want in new hires.

Before she heads to the real interview, she has to make those connections to professional contexts explicit and she has to practice her answer a few more times so she sounds natural & comfortable answering this commonly-asked job interview question.

Now watch her shorter after answer to the same question. First, we see the value of practicing: the interviewee is more relaxed, her answer is clear & concise, and we hear a lot fewer “ums” and “uhs.”  

Most importantly, she makes explicit connections between her anecdote and professional contexts.  This is an important issue for employers considering hiring recent grads: they want to know you can establish timelines, set goals, and break them into discrete steps. Too often, young grads are accustomed to semester-long projects that don’t require any long-term investment or fine-tuning.  (For insights on how that mentality can impact your job search, see reason #2 on The Savvy Intern’s post, “5 Reasons Grads Get a Failing Grade at Job Search.”)

With this “after” answer, this interviewee accomplishes a lot in fewer than 90 seconds.

Remember: you can’t just say you’re good at professional skills (goal setting, timelines)–you have to back up the veracity of that claim with a specific example.  Likewise, you can’t just tell a story (as this interviewee did in her spontaneous “before” answer)–you have to connect the dots for the interviewers.

 

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