There you are at your job interview and the interviewer suddenly asks you ‘What can you do better for us than other applicants?‘. How do you answer this question? Basically, the interviewer is asking you what makes you unique and why you think they should hire you.
The main reason for interviewers to ask this question is to get a better insight into your personality and who you are as a candidate. There are several ways interviewers can ask you a similar question, such as:
- What makes you the ideal candidate for this job?
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why should we hire you?
Questions about why an employer should hire you instead of others can be tricky and are considered ‘tough interview questions.’ It’s important to remember that all other candidates who were invited probably get asked the same question, and they are likely qualified as well. Your competition will at least have the basic qualifications to succeed.
When you are asked this question, your interviewers are not expecting that you evaluate the skills of other candidates or that you compare yourself to other candidates. It is a question designed for you to showcase your unique skills and qualities, which makes you stand out.
In this blog, we discuss why the interviewer is asking you what you can do better than other applicants. Also, we tell you what you should focus on when answering this question. Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
Tips For Answering ‘What Can You Do Better For Us Than Other Applicants?’
Below we discuss a couple of important steps that you can take into account when you’re preparing for your interview—being able to explain what you can do better than other candidates is essential to make the right impression during the interview.
Start your answer with a disclaimer
When the interviewer asks you what you can do better than other applicants, the best way to answer is by giving an honest, informative answer. It’s important to understand that employers use this question to assess your self-awareness, and you should avoid making the mistake of badmouthing others.
You (probably) do not know the other candidates, so a strong start of your answer is stating that you do not know their strengths. Explain that there are chances they are qualified as well, but you know you have the qualities and all it takes to successfully perform the job. Therefore, ensure that you focus on your strengths, not their weaknesses.
Focus on yourself & your winning personality
As discussed earlier, interview questions about what you can do better than others are about you. Therefore, focus on yourself in your answers. Don’t badmouth or talk down on your competition.
Employers do not only value your strengths and work experience, but they also want to get to know you personally. Remember that a part of what hiring managers look for is assessing how compatible you are with the company culture.
Your answers should convey a positive, enthusiastic, and can-do attitude. Furthermore, you need to show that you’re confident that you can successfully perform the job.
Demonstrate through examples that you enjoy working as part of a team and that you approach every task with optimism, no matter how challenging it may be. For example, you can include a work situation of a time you successfully handled a challenging project in which you never gave up and worked with your coworkers to find a solution.
Highlight your strengths & how you can add value
It’s important to realize that other candidates who applied to the position will probably have similar skills like you. This means that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to be able to explain how you can add value to their organization.
Showing that you’re unique does not mean you have to prove that you’re one-of-a-kind. Employers look for candidates who can highlight their strengths through specific work experiences to demonstrate their suitability for the job.
The most effective and efficient way to do this is by using the STAR interview technique.
How To Prepare Answers To ‘What Can You Do Better For Us Than Other Applicants?
Below we discuss a couple of points that you can take into consideration when you want to prepare strong answers to the question about what you can do better than others.
Research the company & job requirements
Before you can start preparing strong answers, it’s essential that you thoroughly understand the company and the job requirements of the position. This research will help you connect your work experiences to the most important skills and competencies required for the job.
Analyze the required skills and competencies
After you have identified the required skills and competencies, you can start analyzing them. Rank these skills on importance in relation to the requirements of the job that you’re applying for.
A lot of companies are looking for similar skills such as stress management, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, creative thinking, problem-solving, etc. Rank the skills on importance in relation to the requirements of the job that you are interviewing for.
Create a list of related work experiences
Next, once you have 2 or 3 skills you want to focus on, you can start thinking of work experiences of times you successfully applied those skills in the workplace.
You can use these examples to highlight your skills and experience during the interviewer when the interviewer asks you what you can do better for them than others. Focus on delivering a concise and to-the-point answer.
What To Avoid When Discussing What You Can Do Better Than Other Applicants
When the interviewer asks you what you can do better than others, it’s important that you stay positive and avoid answers that could indicate that you’re arrogant or difficult to get along with. Focus on yourself, not on the competition. Below we discuss the most important points to avoid in your answers.
Talking down on your competition
As discussed earlier in this blog, you need to focus on yourself when answering what you can do better than others. You don’t know the competition and their qualifications. Therefore, you don’t know how qualified or unqualified they are.
Avoid talking down on others as this won’t reflect well on your character and could hurt your chances of landing the job.
Avoid any negativity in your answers. If the interviewer spots any negativity in your attitude towards, for example, the organization where you’re applying for a job, it’s products or services; this could hurt your chances. The same goes for badmouthing any previous employers or co-workers.
Sometimes people are caught off guard by tough interview questions, which leads them to fall back on critiquing the organization or person that makes them feel uncomfortable. Therefore, make sure you prepare for uncomfortable interview questions. Furthermore, ensure your answers convey that you have a positive and can-do attitude towards your work.
Vague answers & rambling
Interview questions such as ‘what can you do better for us than other applicants?‘ are challenging, but they are pretty straightforward. The interviewers expect you to give a concise and to the point answer about how you feel you can add value to their organization.
Prepare for commonly asked interview questions to make sure that you have a strong answer ready should the interviewer asks you one those questions.
How To Answer: What Can You Do Better For Us Than Other Applicants?
Below we discuss a couple of answers to the question on what you can do better for their organization than other applicants.
Example Answer 1:
‘When I went through the job description for this position, I knew that this would be a perfect match. I don’t know what the other applicants you’re considering are able to do, but I can tell you how I can add value and why I believe my skill set is unique.
My commercial skills and management experience perfectly align with what you’re looking for. I’m confident that my experience and abilities will help me successfully perform the project management position.
I have effectively led teams for over five years, and in the last two years, my region earned the region of the year title back to back. Besides my background in successfully leading team projects, my networking skills helped me develop great relationships with clients, developers, and vendors.
My professional experiences, coupled with my good communication skills, work ethic, and friendly attitude, makes me a perfect fit for the job. I have the experience to start contributing to your team from day one. Needless to say, I’m very excited about the prospect of starting in your organization.’
Example Answer 2:
‘I came across this job opening and immediately knew that it would be a good match. I don’t know the qualifications of the other candidates, but I assume your organization is looking at some highly qualified individuals. Therefore, I can tell you what I can do for your company to add value and why I think my qualifications are unique.
I believe that my prioritization, communication, and organizational skills make me stand out. Also, these skills are relevant for this position and perfectly align with the job requirements. These skills allow me to work very effectively and efficiently and have helped me a lot in previous roles.
For example, in my previous position as an office manager, I developed a new plan to buy office supplies in coordination with our other locations in the area. This led to a decrease in total orders and saved a total of 25% on office supplies on a yearly basis.’
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic