The all-too-common interview question, “what sets you apart from the competition?” is one of your finest opportunities to highlight your individuality. When a company posts a job opportunity, there is a strong possibility that it will receive several applications from competent applicants.
Hiring managers must determine which applicant has the best skillset and attitude to thrive in their firm and on their team.
With that in mind, it is critical that you do all in your power to distinguish yourself in a way that will make you memorable for the right reasons.
This essay will explain why interviewers prefer to ask this question and how you should prepare and present your response. We’ll also look at sample replies to see how all of our advice is put to use.
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What Interviewers Want To Know
Interviewers ask, – “What sets you apart from the Competition?” to discover more about the characteristics you value most in yourself, to hear about events that make you uniquely suited for the role, and to find reasons why choosing you is preferable to employing a similarly qualified applicant.
To be clear, this is not a question about the other candidates; it is about you. Your objective is to describe what talents you’ll use to assist the firm to achieve its goals in such a way that the hiring manager can easily envision you currently functioning in the role.
In some ways, this question is a hybrid of “explain me about yourself” and “what is your greatest strength,” yet it requires a somewhat different response. The hiring manager is interested in what you can offer the firm that no one else can.
Remember to position your response to this question as marketing the solution (how you can assist the employer) rather than the product you are delivering (a list of your skills and experience). The goal of this question is to let the employer understand how you will utilize your talents and expertise to assist them in solving their challenges.
If you’re having trouble expressing what distinguishes you from other applicants, ask people you presently serve: customers or clients, team members, bosses, and colleagues. Others can sometimes see what we can’t see in ourselves, and this can be an essential element of the complete circle (360°) personal branding process.
I also propose that job seekers turn the tables during the “do you have any questions?” section of the interview and ask the employer the same question to obtain a better understanding of the company’s and its culture’s value differentiators.
How To Answer – “What Sets You Apart From The Competition?”
To create an answer that will impress hiring managers and recruiters, keep the most crucial thing in mind: the employer’s interests. That’s a guideline that applies to almost all of the most frequent interview questions, so keep it in mind as you prepare your responses.
Preparing for this question in an interview is simple:
Examine the job specifications. To determine the job qualifications and duties, thoroughly read the job description.
Having a solid understanding of the minimal experience level will aid in shaping your response to include talents, credentials, and personality qualities that go above and beyond what is required for the position or otherwise complement the job’s criteria.
Make a list of your credentials. Compare your abilities and qualifications to the job description’s criteria. Choose a couple of your abilities that are relevant to the job criteria and use them as the foundation for your answer about what distinguishes you from other candidates.
These might include professional abilities, areas of specialty, personal characteristics, or other relevant experience. Consider any noteworthy prior accomplishments or career ambitions that demonstrate your dedication to the field.
Consider how you can outperform the other applicants. Try to anticipate what other people will say as you gather information and mention your qualifications. Consider what abilities others see as valuable, then consider examples of how you can outperform everyone else in these areas.
As a reminder, do not bring up the other candidates. Instead, think of them as people with the same fundamental skill set and experience as the job advertisement, but without that X element that makes you stand out.
Consider what distinguishes you. Consider what makes you particularly qualified for the position. Try to identify one or two traits or experiences that you have that are distinct from what others may bring to the table, or that are typically more difficult to discover in potential workers.
Maintain your focus. When preparing to discuss what distinguishes you from the competition, try to keep your response relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Consider what abilities are required for the position and explain how your talents and experience make you the greatest fit among all the other scrubs.
How To Answer – “What Sets You Apart From The Competition?”
Now that you’ve had a few options, let’s talk about how to respond to this in a real interview. Keep the following interview ideas in mind, and you’ll be one step closer to getting a job offer:
Concentrate on the employer. You want to wow the interviewer with your incredible skill set…that they can put to use to advance their aims. Never, ever overlook that last point throughout the interview process.
Provide examples of your work. Think about your job, volunteer, and/or academic experience whenever you describe a strength or talent to come up with instances of how you’ve utilized these qualities.
Although this isn’t a behavioral interview question, the best replies should nonetheless emphasize previous successes.
You want to impress the hiring manager, so provide tales that demonstrate your qualifications in action.
You must be able to describe the project. Consider a moment when you utilized these characteristics to accomplish something at work or on a project. Describe the project, what you did to solve the issue and the good consequence of your efforts.
Consider an instance when your attention to detail made your work stand out as superior to other similar initiatives if you are detail-oriented.
Keep it brief, and to the point. You don’t want your response to be too long or you’ll bore the interviewer to death.
Simply choose one or two particular traits from your list to highlight how well-suited you are for the role. Begin by informing them what you believe they are searching for and how you can precisely meet that need.
Above all, remember that your story should demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the position.
What Sets You Apart From The Competition?” Sample Answer
Remember to consider which of your experiences and qualifications set you apart from the competitors. For example, perhaps you have a qualification that allows you to know more about numerous technologies than the typical individual.
As you prepare your own responses, use the following examples as a starting point:
Example Answer 1
“I’ve had two years of experience working on comparable projects, so I know what problems will develop and how to avoid them from occurring, saving the team time and energy to focus on higher-value activities.”
In addition, I’ve demonstrated the ability to take charge of a project and ensure that the team completes duties on time and within budget. In fact, during my time at XYZ Inc., I generated such thorough project plans that my supervisor requested me to establish a department-wide template for all future project proposals, action plans, and other project-related papers.
That increased the productivity of teams other than my own, and it felt wonderful to contribute to the firm in a larger way.”
Example Answer 2
While there are many other prospective candidates with a similar academic background in renewable energy, I have several NABCEP and OSHA certifications.
These certificates demonstrate that I understand the dangers and safety precautions that must be taken on a job site, as well as that I have a certified grasp of renewable energy techniques utilized throughout North America.
Example Answer 3
After a few years in HR, I realized that my true skill was in operations management. It began by simplifying the recruiting and onboarding processes, which reduced onboarding time by 22% while improving new employee retention and satisfaction by 14%.
Policy, planning, and strategy are areas in which I thrive, making me somewhat unusual among most mid-level HR professionals.
With my knack for talent acquisition and long-term, big-picture thinking, I would offer a fresh perspective to the job, using my skillset in a way that precisely matches ABC Inc.’s wider ambitions.
Example Answer 4
Well, after graduating from college, I established my own business, and I believe that experience has given me a distinct viewpoint. Having to manage the business side of things while simultaneously building a fantastic product was a challenge, but it helped me grow as a professional.
I believe that many people seeking IT roles like this have a poor understanding of why management does what it does. My background would enable me to serve as a link between these two equally essential areas of the business.
Nothing is flawless the first time, and you want to demonstrate passion and excitement, as well as the job-related characteristics they want.
As the last step, practice answering this question at home. You may practice in front of the mirror, or my favorite way is to record yourself talking on your smartphone and play it back to hear how you sound.
Many candidates will be reading material like these on the internet while they prepare, but relatively few will be practicing until they are completely sure. So here’s another method to give yourself an advantage!